Music Festivals

25 Things We Learned at Riot Fest 2014

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Does Fat Mike ever shut up? Where some bands pride themselves on playing blistering sets with nary a break, NOFX's songs sometimes feel like two-minute interruptions between Fat Mike and Co.'s on-stage banter. It's not a bad thing though. NOFX doesn;t take itself very seriously and don't expect anyone else to either, so the conversation just becomes part of the show. Fans get to learn all sorts of things about the songs, the band and what's going on in the world. Friday's big topic: Fat Mike wasn't taking any drugs due to a bout of diarrhea. See? Good stuff. OC Riot Fest brought in a whopping 300 hay bails for the weekend. On Friday, the hay bales magically transported us to the farm. But by Saturday night, there was more hay strewn across the parking lot than tied up, and more people were sitting next to the prickly bales than on them. CH
If you can walk past a stage where Flaming Lips is playing and not stop and gawk you're made of different stuff than I. Wayne Coyne is a genius no matter how you gauge such things, and his band's ethereal, psychedelic and often downright weird songs tend to entrance everyone within earshot. For pure performance value, they were the band to beat Friday. OC Here's another band that doesn't really seem like a good fit for a huge, outdoor festival where the heavily tattooed outnumber the unadorned and a lot of the bands would scare the over-50 set. Originally a bedroom recording project of singer/guitarist Kristin Welchez, Dum Dum Girls has evolved into an ethereal, post-shoegaze bliss fest. If being drenched in reverb and not mosh-pit sweat sounds like your thing Dum Dum Girls is where it's at. OC
At the Hellzapoppin (freak) show, they made more than 50 blow job jokes in an hour. Jesus, that's almost a dick joke every minute. CH
Glassjaw: Long Island, New York's Glassjaw made a name for itself among the throng of '90s post-hardcore bands that saturated the area those many years ago by being technically and creatively superior to just about everyone else. Even though it's been more than a decade since the release of its last album (the third is anticipated with something approaching mania by fans) Glassjaw hasn't lost a beat. They played of the most extraordinary sets of the festival to a throng of fans who all knew the words. Not bad. Now how about that third record, boys? OC
There were so many face tattoos.CH
Hot Snakes played so hard they burned through two drummers in 45 minutes. Midway through the band's set, Mario Rubalcaba, a San Diego local and drummer for more awesome bands than it's sensible to list, took the stage and lit a fire under what was already the most blistering performance of the entire weekend. It cannot be overstate just how amazing Hot Snakes are, no matter how many drummers they maim in the process. OC
There were occasional buckets of chalk to enhance that youthful carnival vibe. The result? A lot of penis drawings and profanities. CH
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