In this, the third installment of the juggernaut music festival known as Riot Fest, there are some acts that do not need column space (or bandwidth) whatsoever; System of a Down, The Pixies, Motorhead…Hell, Snoop Dogg himself will be doing a complete album retrospective of his 1993 classic Doggystyle. Even veteran acts on the indie circuit, bands like hardcore punk darlings American Nightmare and before-it-was-called-emo Emo band the Get Up Kids have considerable fan bases that will be attending to see them. There are, however, plenty of up and coming or just plain hungry bands and acts invading the National Western Complex in Denver this August that are making sure that the entire day spent up to the headliner is not in vain. Here’s a quick rundown of just a few reasons to show up before the sun sets.
Jazz Cartier |Hailing from the Great North of Canada, Toronto based emcee Jazz Cartier drops dense wordplay and even heavy ideas on his new highly acclaimed mixtape Marauding in Paradise. Pulsating and eerie grimy trap beats combine with stripped down tales of street life and personal psychosis, insecurities laid bare track after track. It’s introspective rumination fueled by hip hop bravado, and I for one will be curious how music this personal can play out live.
Cayetana |A continual source of contention in independent music and the festivals they spawn is the lack of female musicians. Yes, the members of the Philadelphia based Cayetana may be of the XX chromosome club. However, calling them just a “girl band” or “an all girl group” does them a huge disservice. Their particular brand of fuzzed up indie pop punk is fantastic and infectious to say the least, regardless of gender. Perfect for anyone looking to have fun!
Northern Faces | Combining anthemic sing along choruses and plenty of vibrant and shredding guitar solos over a garage rock base, the three members of Northern Faces seem to have just one mission upon taking the stage; Rock and Roll. These New York staters give off a British-tinged electro rock vibe, and if their Youtube videos are any indicator, those in attendance will see a pretty killer and engaging live set.
The White Buffalo | The White Buffalo is the on stage moniker of American singer-songwriter and musician Jake Smith. With almost unholy amounts of Folk and Americana grit, and a shot of punk rock attitude, he and his backing band rust belt out songs at a blistering pace, like a George Jones LP played too fast in a seedy dive bar. If this is any indication of where modern Americana could be headed, we’re all ears. Bring your dancin’ shoes!
Rozwell Kid | The dream of the 90’s is alive with Rozwell Kid! These enigmatic dorks wreck house with their own type of thunderous Power Pop, harkening back to the yesteryear of the Rentals, early Weezer, and a booming 90’s Clinton economy. Expect gnarly guitar solos, expect lyrics about the Simpsons, and expect to have the time of your life! This is Nerd Rock at its’ finest.
Daye Jack | Daye Jack is the truth. This Duluth, Georgia rapper creates music that is all at once experimental and recognizable, with elements of boom bap (old school) hip hop and RnB intermingling with modern electronic flourish, and still enough expressive soul sound to bring any old timer back to a sonically simpler time. Dude is gonna blow up. Say you saw him before it happened.
Skating Polly | Snotty, sneering and full of more killer hooks than a bait shop, the step-sister duo of Skating Polly are igniting stages all over the US of A with an ultra catchy Riot Grrl-style grunge-pop, tipping their caps to early punk and 90’s alt rock along the way. While still teenagers, these two have some serious clout behind them, with their latest release produced by Exene Cervenka of LA punk legends X and fandom from the likes of Roseanne Cash and Viggo Mortensen! This group is sick. Go catch it!
Pup | Bias alert; I am in love with a band named PUP. This Canadian punk rock quartet really melts my butter. You will find me front and (hopefully) center when they take the stage Riot Fest weekend. Something in their meld of modern pop punk, garage rock and indie that gets my heart racing. Combine that with intelligent lyricism and eruptive sing alongs, and baby, you got a stew going!
Cloud Cult | If you’ve been raging hard in the pit all afternoon and are looking to chill out and enjoy something different, might I suggest the splendor of Cloud Cult? Eight members strong, Cloud Cult has been active in various incarnations since the mid 1990’s, all the while perfecting a beautiful and shimmering indie pop sound, not unlike the sonic force of the Arcade Fire mixed with electronic elements a la the Postal Service. Gorgeous, transcendent and definitely worth your time.
Post Malone | We know what’s up; Sometimes you wanna meet the new bae at a music festival. We get it. And if you wanna dance up on someone, your best bet may be while dropping it to Post Malone. The 19 year old Texas bred rapper/instrumentalist started off in hardcore punk bands, but now boasts over 18 million streams on Soundcloud of his latest trap anthem “White Iverson”, so guarantee it’s just as hot on the dance floor as it has been online. Get you some.
Riot Fest and Rodeo happens August 28-30th at the National Western Complex in Denver, CO. Tickets available here.