Day 3 has arrived and it is the day I have been waiting for since I was twelve years old. The original Misfits lineup will be taking the stage and performing together for the first time since 1983.
Santa Cruz punk band the Swinging Utters kicked off the third day of Riotfest. Led by frontman Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel, the band led off with their classic hit “The Librarians are Hiding Something.” The crowd took over the singing duties during “No Eager Men” as Johnny jumped wildly around the stage. After a very spirited and entertaining set the band expressed their thanks and bid the crowd farewell.
Of course I have to mention the frontman for Twisted Sister, Dee Snider. Snider is currently touring in support of his solo album, We Are the Ones, scheduled to be released in October. Snider has acknowledged that the album is a new direction for him and he hopes fans like it and will continue to show their support. Snider gave the crowd a little taste of what he meant by “new direction” when he performed his version of the Nine Inch Nails hit “Head Like a Hole.” He performed a nice mix of his new music and of course Twisted Sister classics like “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” It was truly a memorable performance by the rock legend. I was very fortunate to have been able to sit down with Dee Snider later that day and chat about his new music project.
There were so many memorable performances that it is tough to sum it all up. Bad Religion was amazing. Punk band Leftover Crack really got the audience revved up. Tiger Army brought their blend of punk and rockabilly to the festival, not to mention they were the best dressed band of the weekend. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes performed their unique versions of cover songs such as “Jolene” and my personal favorite “Over the Rainbow.” Earlier that day, I had the privilege of sitting down with Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s lead singer, Spike, to chat about Riotfest and the bands that he was looking forward to checking out.
The day kept getting better and better. The master of modern horror heavy metal, Rob Zombie, took the stage and performed the White Zombie classic album Astrocreep 2000 in its’ entirety. I have seen Rob Zombie live multiple times and had only heard him perform select tracks such as “More Human Than Human.” But getting to hear the entire album was awesome! Zombie’s current band consisting of John 5, Piggy D (Matt Montgomery) and Ginger Fish brought the album to a new level of intensity and depth.
Now, after 2 days and too many bands to count , it leads me to the one musical moment I have waited for since I was 12 years old… the Original Misfits were about to take the stage to close out Riot Fest 2016 in Chicago!
Looking around all you can see is an ocean of people jam packed into Douglas Park waiting to witness the music history that was about to unfold. The stage lights go down and the smoke rolls out over the stage and you could feel the anticipation building. Suddenly the curtain drops revealing two enormous pumpkins (from the Halloween 7” cover) on each end of the stage complete with eerie glowing eyes, and a wall of crimson ghost amps in the background. The crowd gets revved and then explodes into a massive mosh pit as Glenn, Jerry and Doyle lead right off with “Death Comes Ripping” the perfect song to set the tone for their set. They didn’t waste any time belting out classics like “20 Eyes,” “I Turned Into A Martian” and “Where Eagles Dare.” Backing up the original trio was the incredible and heavy hitting Dave Lombardo (formerly of Slayer) on drums and Acey Slade (Dope) on guitar. Both were excellent choices! Glenn took time between songs to tell stories about how he and Jerry formed the band back in 78. At one point Glenn paused and asked the audience if they liked pumpkins. Glenn and company played a lengthy set list of 26 songs from the bands 38 year history. They even played the first song Glenn and Jerry ever wrote and performed together “She” during their encore.