Tag Archives: Riot Fest

Riot Fest 2015 (Toronto) Day Two in Review

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day Two of Riot Fest Toronto was a polar opposite in weather in comparison to the previous day.  Think sunny skies, grade school smiles and throw back songs that instantly catapulted us into our childhood bedrooms making mix tapes for mates on a school night.

Jazz Cartier started us off and kept us cool in the 6.  Cartier is a long listed nominee for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize and his album ‘Marauding in Paradise’ is introspective as it is cool.  A must have to update your tired IPod.   Kudos to Riot Fest for curating a well rounded hip hop stage.  The EDM stage was also extremely popular with the kids.  Each stage felt cohesive and a natural fit for the performers that followed one another.

Babes in Toyland were in fighting spirit when they played the afternoon slot of Day 2 at Riot Fest.  They reminded us of what it meant to be a riot girl and in true form stole the last of my hearing.

During our break between bands we made time to ride the Ferris Wheel and take in the views of the Fest from way above.  As an adult getting on a Ferris Wheel it may seem like no big deal.  But it was.   Full anxiety attack aside, it was worth it.  It was gobs smacking seeing the amount of people at the festival and how busy each of the stages were.  The sun, melted into the clouds, the smell of hot yummy eats and laughter below made for an even more gleeful afternoon.

That said the queues to buy tickets for the rides ran long.  Next year it would be neat to be able to use our wristbands to ride the amusement park rides without fuss.

There was also not a lot of signage around detailing the band’s performance schedule.  Some muttering from concert goers was overheard.  For those of us not using the Riot fest App – perhaps it’s time to make a switch from paper?

As the evening went on – some of us who don’t drink could have used a hot beverage or two.  Hmmm, perhaps next year a hot tea/coffee truck would be a nice addition to the food truck area.

Tyler, the Creator who never minces his words as evident in his songs called out a ‘bro-filled’ audience for being incredibly awkward.  His discomfort impacted his performance but the young inebriated crowd were not all that bothered.

The Wu-Tang Clan was on point and delivered a robust and fresh (like it was still the 90’s) performance.  The audience was hype to their rhymes.  Wu-Tang delivered the goods with C.R.E.A.M.  a crowd favourite.

The Prodigy took hold of the audience and ‘breathed’ a whole new life into them for the last few hours of the festival.  People were tired but still ready for an all out rave care of this British band who slayed us with their light and sound show.  Their performance was truly electric and gifted everyone with take away memories of two amazing days with Riot Fest at Downsview Park.

As usual we look forward to next summer with Riot Fest on our home turf.


Riot Fest 2015 (Toronto) Day One in Review

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day One of Toronto’s Riot Fest & Expo contained heightened emotional moments, cheeky smiles, hilarious in crowd conversations with random strangers, blatant audience shenanigans and tears (or was that rain drops?).

As usual Union Events does a great job organizing Riot Fest Toronto on our Canadian home turf.  The lines run smoothly, the site is organized and the space is a plentiful to roam, discover new music and ultimately take in a fete we have been waiting all year for.

But then the rain came and boy did it come down hard.  At one point as we stood awaiting Gwar, we felt this experience was penance of some sort.  Then Gwar disappointed a few hundred wet fans by stating they were unable to perform due to the poor conditions.

The show went on.

Riot Fest Toronto again brought us the grandfathers of Canadian punk rock and boy did they deliver.  D.O.A. is close to legendary as The Ramones, The Buzzcocks and Public Image Limited.  Their set was full on, political, endearing and the gentlemen were probably in better physical shape than the young’ uns watching them in the crowd.  The sweetest part was observing Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth taking in D.O.A.’s set from stage right.  It’s not every day you see an ex-Sonic Youth front man paying homage to Canuck punk rock royalty.

The Dead Milk Men always ever so cheeky enticed the fans with their humour and nostalgic renditions of songs from our youth – ‘Punk Rock Girl’ made us all feel really old at the same time.

Sans Josh Homme, Eagles of Death Metal from Palm Desert California proved that we Canadians can get down and dirty when probed.  Albeit a shorter set due to the rain – there was still an abundance of bras thrown onto the stage for Jesse to inhale as he took all of us on a wonderful high.

Weezer created a gorgeous ambiance later in the day playing their album ‘Pinkerton’ in its entirety.  ‘Island in the Sun’ was a wonderful reminder that when we feeling like bashing our heads onto our desks at work on Monday – there are only a few songs that can save us.

The Thurston Moore Band was certainly no Sonic Youth but certainly demonstrated the remnants of its iconic heyday.  The dreaminess, electricity and pure verve were alive and well.  But staring at Steve Shelley’s drum kit clearly holding the Sonic Youth seal was heartbreaking.

The night ended with Alexisonfire.  Instantly it felt like 20,000 were crammed into one space.  It was a chaotic juggernaut alright.  Teenage girls were crying, grown men stood still and even the security guards had given up.  Clearly Dallas and the boys have moved on in their professional careers – but last night we saw all the markings of what made them truly unique on Dine Alone records.  Punk rock with melancholic sensibilities.  Alexisonfire will crush you while also holding your heart up when you need them the most.  It seemed like the audience was deeply triggered last night while remembering that one song from Alexisonfire that got them through.

Outside of the announced bands, this year’s festival  had a circus tent featuring the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue, a miniature golf course, a video arcade hall, and a wide array of food and drink options.

Let’s do it all again for Day Two!


Riot Fest & Expo Toronto (Sept 6/7 2014) Map and Schedule

The daily schedule with set times and stage assignments is now available for Toronto’s Riot Fest & Expo! Click on the links below to check out the schedules and plan out your festival weekend. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond control, Thurston Moore will no longer be able to play Toronto’s festival.

Below is the new, up to date map of the festival grounds. One and two-day festival passes are still available HERE we’ll see you this weekend!



Riot Fest & Expo Toronto Band Spotlight: Bob Mould and The Cure

Riot Fest & Expo Toronto is now just under two weeks away.  Can you believe we are almost there?  The summer is almost done and we are heading into the Fall.  What better way to celebrate with Riot Fest & Expo Toronto?

We only have one more installment of the Riot Fest & Expo Toronto Band Spotlight.  So make sure you are getting your band research time in to be ready for September 6th and 7th at Downsview Park.

Let’s start!

Thirty Four Flavour’s ‘Sweet Pick’

Bob Mould

Bob Mould is an early ’80s pioneer of electronic, rock modes, to the deafening pop sparkle which he beautifully showcased in his work with band outfits Hüsker Dü and then Sugar.  If you see anything at Riot Fest that maybe out of your comfort zone – Bob Mould should be it.

Bob Mould was instrumental in Hüsker Dü’s formation in 1979.  Their hard-core anthems, tight, melodic, hard-pop chestnuts, and sprawling double-vinyl conceptual opuses was churned out in equal measure up to its dramatic 1987 flameout.

Bob’s solo works ranging from his landmark 1989 debut Workbook to Black Sheets of Rain (1990), Body of Song (2005), District Line (2008), and Life and Times (2009); his forays into electronic music, including 2002’s Modulate and his Blowoff collaboration with Richard Morel; and the reissuing of Sugar’s 1992 debut ‘Copper Blue’ which Bob and his band have been playing front to back at recent live shows.

I encourage you to pick up ‘Copper Blue’ the next time you are perusing iTunes or are in a music store.  It is a classic piece of music that stands the test of time and will also thoroughly blow your mind.

The Cure

We saw The Cure last summer at Lollapalooza in Chicago. It was magical and probably the most emotional we have been sharing a musical moment with a few thousand friends. Looking up at Robert Smith sing ‘Pictures of You’ and ‘The Forest’ into the sparkling evening Chicago skyline was decadence and was worth the price of our Lollapalooza weekend and more.

The Cure at Lollapalooza in Chicago (2013)

The Cure at Lollapalooza in Chicago (2013)

When we heard The Cure was headlining Riot Fest Toronto we felt that same emotional reaction come up to the surface. If you feel like The Cure has touched you as you walk to school, drive to work, work out at the gym or dance at your local club – you have no idea what you are in for from Robert Smith and his mates come Sept 6th at Downsview Park. We can’t wait to share the moment with you.

See you next week for my last edition of the Riot Fest & Expo Toronto Band Spotlight!  Buy your tickets soon before they are gone!

Riot Fest & Expo Toronto Ticket Links:




Concert Review: I Lost My Hearing at Riot Fest Toronto

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well I can’t put all the blame on Riot Fest but I have been chiselling away at my hearing since I was a teen with a mission for punk rock.

On one of the last weekends of the summer, it was made even sweeter with the American folks from Riot Fest bringing their music and Travelling Exposition to our humble town from August 24th and August 25th.

Two day passes quickly sold out and they had reason to:  Mayday Parade, A Day To Remember, Best Coast, Rocket from the Crypt, Iggy and the Stooges and The Replacements were to be in attendance.  There were single day tickets still available to Sunday’s show which also disappeared in no time – no surprise there.

We arrived to RF a shave after 3 p.m. on the Sunday.  A gorgeous afternoon – it was sunny, a bit of a breeze and the energy was high.  The attendees were an interesting mix of old school punk rockers, some families with teens, 30 something’s and folks that came from out of town to bear witness to some afternoon delight.

What I appreciated immediately was that there was a lot of room to mill about the venue.  Fort York is truly a historic space to hold a music festival – it’s full of trees, picnic tables near the gathered food tracks, some stands to buy t-shirts, free water fill up stations and even a phone charging station.

We caught glimpses of Deadmau5, Kevin Drew from Broken Social and members of Sum 41 about.  A low key punk rock festival affair with dashes of glittering Canadian pride.

Best Coast from L.A. consisting of Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno shined their lo-fi surf pop tunes into the crowd.  There may not have been a lot of folks in attendance but nevertheless there was swooning and bopping to tunes like ‘The Only Place’, ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘When I’m With You’.  It was magical seeing this band live – I felt emotional.  Listening to tunes crafted in sunny climes that hang over our upcoming cold and chilly Fall is definitely a moment I plan to linger upon in the months ahead.

Dinosaur Jr. from Amherst, MA took a hold of our hearing in one seagull swoop right after Best Coast.  Looking a lot older then from my late uni days; then again so am I.  J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph assaulted us (in the nicest Canadian way) to tunes like ‘Fell The Pain’, ‘Just Like Heaven’, ‘Freak Scene’ and Sludgefeast’.  Listening to ‘Just Like Heaven’ a raucous version of The Cure’s classic was like being hit in the head with a sledgehammer.  I guess that was the intent.  J with his long grey locks barely said much between songs leaving Lou to sneakily say ‘Goodbye photographers!  Go take pictures of someone else now.’  To be in their presence after 20 years was decadence.

Rocket from the Crypt followed.  Lead singer Speedo ran through a litany of cheeky comments to keep the crowd giggly and testosterone pumped as they jammed furiously together to ‘I Know’, ‘Born in ‘69’ and ‘Young Livers’.  Petey X and ND conjured skateboarding memories with bad boys from high school.

We quickly moved from our blanketed spot under a tree to gather around impatiently for the grandfather of the New York punk rock scene.  Again the crowd was all very polite and chilled.  That is until Iggy came on stage with Mike Watt and the boys.  Mayhem.  A funnel cloud of dirt rose from a mosh pit that had formed as Iggy pranced, body rocked, body slammed, stage dived, strutted and sexed up the crowd.  Aged but still gorgeous as ever.  The surfer golden blonde hair straightened just so, bare chested, skinny black denim jeans with a studded belt.  At 67 this man would still get it as he hollered at a ‘pretty Indian girl’ stood in the front of the stage.  Or was that me?  😉

‘Raw Power’, ‘Gimme Danger’,  ‘Gun’, ‘1970’, ‘Search and Destroy’, ‘Fun House’, ‘Beyond the Law’, ‘Johanna’, ‘Ready to Die’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, ‘No Fun’, ‘The Passenger’, ‘I Got it Right’, ‘Cock in my Pocket’, ‘Your Pretty Face is Going To Hell’ and the latest ‘Sex & Money’ were religion to us.  I saw grown men crying.  At one point Iggy invited a gaggle of concert goers onto the stage to slam and dance along with the Stooges.  As I looked around people were brimming with happiness while others had an ‘I wanna be up there’ look on their faces.

As Iggy and the Stooges exited the stage he paused on the stairwell with the help of a roadie.  With a towel wrapped around his wiry frame, he blew us a kiss.  In that moment, I knew that I would never see him again and I was christened a punk rocker for life.

Lastly, we ended with The Replacements from Minneapolis, MN.   I had a major crush on Paul Westerberg as a teen.  Well dude was dating Winona Ryder, if she thought he was dreamy why was I chasing Keanu Reeves.  All prepubescent girliness aside – people were a blazing and were ready for full on pint sing-along.  Mr. Westerberg in rare form had forgotten the words to some songs with his brassiness in check.  Eugene always the wing man chimed in from time to time poking fun at the audience and J. Mascis who had appeared in the wings to watch them perform.  ‘J. Mascis, I was looking for you all day; you fucker’, Eugene squealed.  Ah boys.

We were taken back 22 years ago in that moment when these guys shut shop and we packed up our tape decks and started to age into ‘adult jobs’.

‘Takin a Ride’, ‘I’m in Trouble’, ‘Favorite Thing’, ‘Hangin Downtown’, ‘Color Me Impressed’, ‘Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out, ‘Kiss Me on the Bus’, ‘Androgynous’, ‘Achin’ to Be’, ‘I Will Dare’, ‘Love You Till Friday’, ‘Maybellene’, ‘Merry Go Round’, ‘Wake Up’, ‘Borstal Breakout’, ‘Little Mascara’, ‘Left of the Dial’, ‘Alex Chilton’, ‘Swingin Party’, ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’, ‘Bastards of Young’, ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’ and ‘I.O.U.’ gave us all something to remember.  Indeed times have passed us by as we watched these aged rockers from our youth but we have amazing moments to look forward to with this renewed soundtrack injected back into our lives.

Riot Fest did a tremendous job with their online media campaign to get people out.  I hearted reading cheeky comments by whoever man’s their Twitter and Facebook pages.  Talk about a buzz.  These people are the real deal, professional and extremely good to their fans.  I felt the love and I saw it emanating from other concert goers.  We were nicely taken care of.

Chicago and Denver you are next.  Get ready for some freshly baked punk rock goodness.


Riot Fest Travelling Exposition In Toronto August 24-25th 2013 at Fort York

Riot Fest Toronto Line Up

Riot Fest Toronto Line Up

When I was a teen and falling in love with The Clash I would have paid big money and most importantly found a way to get to a festival that featured punk rock bands.  The only thing that came close at the time was Lollapalooza when it travelled to North American cities in the 90’s.

Hello to present day!  I’m no longer a teen but I’m very excited to check out Riot Fest for its second year in Toronto this summer.

This year’s line-up features The Replacements, Iggy & the Stooges, A Day To Remember, Pierce the Veil, Every Time I Die, Rocket from the Crypt, Dinosaur Jr, Best Coast, Mayday Parade, Grade, The Ghost Inside, Structures, Real Friends, The Flatliners and Single Mothers.

There are certain bands that you need to see in your life time and let’s face it; none of us are getting any younger.  Bands that have been on my bucket list for a while are The Replacements, Iggy & the Stooges, Rocket from the Crypt, Dinosaur Jr and Best Coast.  For the affordable price of a weekend ticket I am getting so much value for my hard earned money.

Riot Fest Toronto Map

Riot Fest Toronto Map

Plus if you haven’t seen a show at Fort York yet this summer – you need to get on that.  Built in 1793, Fort York National Historic Site is the birthplace of urban Toronto. It is best known as the location where the Battle of York came to its violent climax in 1813 during the War of 1812. The Fort served as the city’s primary harbour defence between the 1790s and the 1880s, and was the home of a military garrison until the 1930s.  The perfect space and atmosphere for some head pounding, yummy eats and pints.

With Aug 24 – 25th 2013 weekend being the second last weekend before the end of the summer – treat yourself to some rock out fun at Riot Fest.

To my loyal and new readers I am giving away 2-Day passes to the August 24-25th Riot Fest Toronto dates.  All you need to do is sign up to my blog before July 29th, 2013.  If you have already subscribed to my blog, consider yourself already entered.   I will pick a random name from my subscriber list and get you on Riot Fest’s stellar Will Call list.  Thank you Riot Fest!

For those who want to get in on the fun early – I encourage you to please buy your tickets fast!  With this line up – tickets will fly!  😉

Saturday, August 24th Tickets


Sunday, August 25th Tickets


Weekend (2-Day Ticket)