Riot Fest stormed the Mile-High City on Friday, kicking off the second annual iteration of Riot Fest Denver. Thousands of rockers crowded into the massive parking lot at Sports Authority Field for the 19 bands scheduled for day one.
All at Riot Fest Denver 2014
The sun was high in the sky and the heat was blistering when All took the stage. The band -- 3/4 of the Descendents with Chad Price on vocals -- tore through a killer set, with the crowd singing every word back at them. Stephen Egerton's guitar shredding was pitch perfect, backed up by Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson's manic rhythm section.
Buzzcocks at Riot Fest Denver 2014
The Buzzcocks have been around since '76, but they're showing no signs of slowing down. The band played hit after hard-rockin' hit, with Pete Shelley's voice as fresh as it was way back when. Many of the other bands playing this weekend wouldn't even exist if not for the Buzzcocks, so seeing them still going strong was a special experience.
Die Antwoord at Riot Fest Denver 2014
Die Antwoord were rattling, deafening madness, with lunatic stage presence and an unhinged stage show. The bass, coming from a stage-long row of huge subwoofers, was physically painful. Ninja humped everything in sight, the dancers jerked and twitched in a most unnatural way, and Yo-Landi Vi$$er was a terrifying and brilliant imp. It was fucking awesome.
Gogol Bordello at Riot Fest Denver 2014
Gogol Bordello's gypsy punk is always a multi-cultured amalgam of radness, and this show was no exception. The lineup has shifted and diversified throughout the years, but the sound they've honed is among the best they've ever had. The festival environment stifled their ability to leap into the crowd, but given the circumstances, they played a solid gold set.
NOFX at Riot Fest Denver 2014
Fat Mike started the show by informing the crowd he wasn't feeling very well because he had diarrhea. If not for that over-share, however, we would never have been able to tell anything was off. The band played the entirety of Punk in Drublic -- not in order -- and they were immature, vulgar, and absolutely badass. It was a perfect example of a NOFX show.
The Flaming Lips at Riot Fest Denver 2014
The Flaming Lips were a seizure-inducing psychedelic spectacle, with as many people in costumes on stage as band members. Dancing rainbows and mushrooms shimmied behind Wayne Coyne as he sang through the all the crowd favorites. Two songs in, Coyne produced an oversized balloon which read "Fuck Yeah Riot Fest." Fuck yeah, indeed, Wayne.
Slayer at Riot Fest Denver 2014
The highlight performance of the day was Slayer's monstrous and brutal set. Kerry King's solos melted the front row's faces clean off and Tom Araya's vocals sounded as good as they do on the records. The absence of Jeff Hanneman was noticed -- and he was certainly missed by everyone there -- but Gary Holt is an excellent player and the band is soldiering on.
Weezer at Riot Fest Denver 2014
Weezer closed out the night with a "time machine" set, playing the hits from each of their albums throughout the years. Starting with the brand new "Back to the Shack," Rivers Cuomo and Co. worked their way back to 1994.
Day one of Riot Fest Denver was a spectacular success. Stay tuned to Zumic for the recaps for days two and three.