Riot Fest's Chicago lineup steals the show

Riot Fest has announced their lineup for their three locations—what once used to just be a Chicago fest has now expanded to include Toronto and Denver—and the lineup reflects the fest’s origins in punk but also brings more widely-known bands into the mix.

The fest kicks off in Toronto on Sept. 6 and 7 with The Cure and City And Color (of Canada) headlining. The lineup goes strong with indie bands like Tokyo Police Club, Death Cab for Cutie, Metric, Stars (we’re just Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning short of a Broken Social Scene reunion), The National, The New Pornographers and The Flaming Lips. But it also brings the punk Riot is known for. Look for The Dropkick Murphys, Glassjaw, Taking Back Sunday and Rise Against to get your punk fix. One of the biggest crowds will undoubtedly be for Brand New, as they’ve just started touring after an absence of several years.

The Chicago festival is larger, with three days in September (12-14) in Humboldt Park. A few of the same acts are on the ticket, including The National, Taking Back Sunday, City and Color, Social Distortion and Dropkick Murphys. The weekend features Jane’s Addiction as a headliner, as is appropriate in Perry Farrell’s Chicago. But the best surprises of this lineup come in the names lower down on the list, including some names we haven’t seen in quite some time: Weezer, Silverstein, Dashboard Confessional, New Found Glory, NOFX, Motion City Soundtrack and The Dandy Warhols. Fans of Anthony Green can look forward to seeing him perform with Saosin as well as Circa Survive during this weekend as well. Oh, and for fans who support Pussy Riot, be sure to show them some love as they are also scheduled to perform in Chicago.

Denver fest-goers can expect a few of the same big acts on Sept. 19-21, including The National, The Cure, The Flaming Lips but enjoy the additions of Primus, TV On the Radio, The Violent Femmes and 3Oh!3 (of course).

All three lineups are exceptional and are deserving of your attendance. The people behind Riot Fest seem to truly be interested in putting together an exceptional music experience for their audience, not just catering to corporate needs. Any weekend at Riot Fest will be a complete success.

However, our advice is if you’re gonna do a festival, you should do it big—go for the original. If you’re going to be doing any traveling at all to get to one of these Riot Fests, you may as well travel to the biggest and the original location. Heck, go to the one closest to you and then still go to the one in Chicago. The experience of all those bands in one place for one weekend will be completely different. The lineup in Chicago has so many surprises, unlikelies and just an incredible collection of bands, it would be a shame to miss out.