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riotfest.jpgSo I’ve been writing for Racket for a little over a year now. I hadn’t really stopped to think about that before, but that’s kind of kickass. I live on the other side of the country from my two “bosses,” but I just flew out to their coast recently to meet up and put a face to the jerks that cut all my good lines about mass murder. Alas, that’s another story. The point is that just about a year ago I went to Riotfest in Chicago to cover the event for Racket. I went the year prior as well, but wasn’t writing for anyone so those annals have been lost to the wind.

Well, Riotfest is just around the corner again and anyone at Racket that has done something for two years running is typically considered an expert in that field, so not only am I the resident Riotfest Expert, but I’m also a Shit-taking Expert 14 times over. Only Yost can come close to my shit-taking expertise (pro tip: use baby wipes; your ass deserves it for putting up with your shit).

I feel as if this preview was supposed to be about something other than feces and I’ve gone terribly off track … oh yes, Riotfest! As our political “leaders” shove rhetoric about saving multinational corporations with bad lending and operating practices down our throats, the Riotfest lineup is one thing that is certainly not full of shit this year.

Riotfest has a history of showcasing reunions from acts that were long gone. Sometimes, these acts will be bands that have organized a proper reunion and are touring in support of it, as is the case with the Dead Milkmen, who are on the bill this year. Other times, bands that broke up long ago, but occasionally regroup for a show here and there will play, such as Murder City Devils and motherfucking Screeching Weasel, both of whom are on the bill this year. Usually, the bill will feature a band (maybe two), like 88 Fingers Louie and Apocalypse Hoboken, that broke up years ago FOR GOOD. At least it seemed like it was for good, yet Riot Mike manages to nudge them out of their caves long enough to play a set at this amazing annual festival.

**Sidebar? No, we’ll just obtrusively throw it right here in the middle of the preview.** Oh, hey, by the way … just in case you’re a fucking moron who started listening to Rise Against when they got signed to Geffen (that’s when I quit listening), those dudes used to be 88 Fingers Louie.

Finally, every once in a while the fest will feature a band that never really broke up, but despite fairly frequent touring you just don’t get a lot of opportunities to see. Take the one and only Cocksparrer, for instance, who were rumored to be on the bill last year. Eventually it began to circulate that they couldn’t be confirmed for ’08, but they would definitely be here for ’09. I tell you, sometimes the rumor mill is a great fucking thing.

As if that weren’t enough (and that’s the thing about Riotfest … I could have stopped two paragraphs ago and the show would be big enough to draw people from a few states over), the list GOES ON. IT GOES ON PEOPLE. Ready? Can you believe I made it 565 words before mentioning that NOFX is playing? Yeah, me either. That’s Riotfest. Alkaline Trio? Yup, playing. Naked Raygun? Playing. Butthole Surfers? Playing. 7 fucking Seconds? Playing. Youth Brigade, Wax, Pegboy and No Empathy? All Playing. Street Dogs (the good singer from the Dropkick Murphys)? Playing.

Enough with the playing gimmick. Here’s a list of the rest: Strike Anywhere (the band Rise Against ought to be), Teenage Bottlerocket, Teen Idols, Shot Baker, Off With Their Heads, Lower Class Brats, Riverboat Gamblers, The Arrivals, Cobra Skulls, Polar Bear Club, The House That Gloria Vanderbilt and a few handfuls of others.

Last year marked the first time Riotfest had been held at more than one location, although each venue hosted a show on separate nights, with only Saturday featuring overlapping shows. This year there is so much going on that you literally can’t see it all. That’s the only downside. There are downright big shows at two different venues (The Congress – the big boy, and The Metro – similar lineups to the Congress shows) on Friday the 9th, Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th. 7 Seconds is playing on the 8th at the Beat Kitchen. That’s big. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be in town in time for that. For full details you’ll need to head over to www.riotfest.org. The entire schedule has been posted.

On a last final note, anyone that read my write-up of the previous year’s Riotfest will remember my troubles with the Double Door. It was even listed as a participating venue for this year’s event until very recently. I’d just like to finish by wishing them all the ill will I can and thanking the gods for shitting on their venue for Riotfest this year. I’m sure the turnout to see Chuck Mangione’s retarded little brother on Friday will dwarf attendance to see the Murder City Devils and the Dead Milkmen. May you rot in hell, Double Door.

–Coolhands Luke Toney

P.S. Stay near a train. If you attempt to drive you will miss no fewer than four of the bands you intended to see over the course of the weekend.