Riot Fest 2007 Day Two

Riot Fest 2007 Day Two

My goal on day two of Riot Fest was to get to the venue around the time Flatfoot 56 were playing so I could check them out again. Once again my plans didn’t work out so well but traffic was a lot better this time at least. I completely missed out on Flatfoot 56 though and when I walked in, Youth Brigade were just starting.


Youth Brigade


Youth Brigade


Youth Brigade

I quickly got into position and noticed that Youth Brigade was down one Stern brother. There was some young guy playing bass. I don’t know if they told the story about why they had a replacement on stage because I walked in a few minutes after they were already on stage and probably would have made reference to it, had they done it at all. The new guy did a great job as they delivered a set comprised of old classics and some newer songs. Just like last year though, they didn’t play “Men in Blue” which bummed me out yet again, but aside from that, it was a very good performance as usual for these guys.


The Bollweevils


The Bollweevils


The Bollweevils


The Bollweevils

The Bollweevils were up next and much like the last time I saw them, they really hit one out of the park. They played lots of their classic tunes and even played a brand new one! Seeing them play you’d think that they never took all those years off, they were tight and played with a lot of energy. The highlight of the set, as always for me, was “Dehumanize”. That song is guaranteed to make me smile when they play it. At one point they had some ladies come out and model Bollweevils t-shirts in an effort to boost sales. It was pretty entertaining and good light hearted fun.


Dillinger Four


Dillinger Four


Dillinger Four


Dillinger Four

Dillinger Four took the stage and as they were setting up, they started talking a lot to the crowd and were very entertaining and funny. They tried to get the smoke machines turned on for their entire set but whoever was in charge of it wasn’t having it, but did fire it off a few times at the start of their set to appease them. Having never been a fan of D4 just for the lack of really ever hearing their records I can’t tell you what they played, but I can tell you that I liked what I heard this day and it may have inspired me to pick up one of their albums.


The Casualties


The Casualties


The Casualties

The Casualties were next and there sure seemed to be a lot of fans of theirs in the audience. They were super energetic hardcore played pretty fast and furious. The kids went crazy, there were bodies flying over the barricade at a regular rate and the security had their hands full. The band members were moving all over the stage and one of them even climbed up on top of his amps and was playing from the top of them until he jumped off back to the stage. If they hadn’t soiled a Ramones song (that’s two bands doing so in as many days) I would have had nothing to complain about.


Sludgeworth


Sludgeworth


Sludgeworth


Sludgeworth

Sludgeworth were next and this was the first time they have reunited in about a decade. I saw them the last time they did this and this time they were a lot better than I remember that one being, which I liked at the time. They played most of the songs you can find on their retrospective CD, which was all the punk ones, and they even played one of the funk ones too. They played about 45 minutes and the highlight for me was when they played “Angry Man” from their first single.


Bad Brains


Bad Brains


Bad Brains

This just left the Bad Brains. One of my biggest regrets of my teenage years was not going to see them play. I remember having the opportunity a few times but for various reasons I never made it out to their shows. I was really happy that they reformed this year and that I was getting my chance to see them, despite the fact that their new album wasn’t very good at all.


Bad Brains


Bad Brains

After what felt like about an hour of setup, the band were getting ready to play and HR comes out with all his luggage and places it in front of his mic stand. He is wearing some sort of suit and has on a big winter coat. He starts saying hi to the kids and thanking them from coming, and starts thanking Jah and talking about peace and love. He sounded like he was all gimmicked up on something but I figure maybe it was the calm before the storm and then he’d take off that winter coat and channel his former self and show us how and why he used to be one of the best singers in punk rock.


Bad Brains


Bad Brains

So the band finally starts playing, and they are sounding musically excellent. The crowd are going pretty nuts. Then HR walks up to the microphone with his hands in his pockets and he is barely singing. In fact he is more mumbling than anything else. He still has his winter coat on and about the only time he takes his hands out of his pockets is to make peace signs at the crowd or to cover his mouth or eyes. He barely moves a muscle and his singing is so half-assed that he may as well have not even bothered.


Bad Brains


Bad Brains

At some point, HR singles out one of the photographers and asks security to escort him out. I’m not sure what this guy’s infraction was, I didn’t notice him doing anything out of the ordinary except maybe he was using a flash and was firing it off in HR’s face too much. I immediately started thinking, “oh no, what is he gonna do next, is he gonna hit me with a mic stand?!”. The thing is, that was the most animated he got, I almost would have preferred that he hit me with a mic stand as I would have at that point gladly taken one for the team so the rest of the crowd could have derived some sort of entertainment out of his lack of stage presence. When the band played “Soul Craft”, I could barely recognize the song as HR was just mumbling a bunch of nonsense and occasionally speaking one of the lyrics in the wrong place. I actually wanted to get on stage and sing it myself since he was doing such a shitty job.


HR laughing at the people who paid to see him

In between songs, he’d occasionally ramble on about Jah loving everyone and peace and a bunch of stuff that made him sound like a hippie that just stepped out of a time machine. The rest of the band just seemed to mind their own business and stayed in their respective portions of the stage and played one song after the other like a well oiled machine. It’s really a shame that their singer didn’t give a shit enough about their show to even half phone in his performance. It just made me that much more mad at myself for missing out on them 20 years ago because unlike a lot of bands that can get back together and still have it, apparently the Bad Brains aren’t one of them and the fault likes solely in the hands of their front man.

It was a pretty sour end to what otherwise was a pretty solid weekend of shows. I went home disappointed at one of my punk rock heroes letting me down, but at least felt good about all the bands I saw play up until that point who made the show a very worthwhile one to attend.

More photos from Riot Fest can be found on MXV’s Flickr Stream.






6 comments

  • The Bollweevils and D4 were the highlight of day two for me.

    I knew that Bad Brains would either be amazing or a complete disaster. I guess I kind of expected it, but not to this extent. One of my friends said that they were just going through the motions when they toured the album in California. I had no idea he would literally stand there with his hands in his pockets. Everyone was complaining on the way out.

  • FYI there are two Stern bros – the drummer is also a brother. I have long forgotten all their names but I do remember the first time I saw them they had SIX members!

    Too bad about the Bad Brains – they were certainly in their prime around 80-82. I saw some YouTube clip from a recent performance when the new record came out and noted the same lack of life/energy from HR. I would not go see them anymore and I’ve seen ’em a million times.

  • I saw the Bad Brains a bunch of years ago and HR did the same thing. The band was so amazing, and he just stood there talking the lyrics. It was amazing yet terrible at the same time. The other dudes in the band need to give him an asskicking!

  • Your description of Bad Brains could have been the description for the show I caught in London, UK, a few months ago -with the addition that it was over in like 30 minutes.

Advertisement


Subscribe to The Punk Vault

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 492 other subscribers

Advertisement