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The 5 best things we saw on Saturday at Riot Fest

The 5 best things we saw on Saturday at Riot Fest
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

1. Meat Wave's well done riffs

There are plenty of Chicago bands on the Riot Fest bill, but none as fresh as Meat Wave. The local post-punk trio signed a record deal this summer and is releasing a new LP, Delusion Moon, next week. Raw guitar riffs and beefy bass lines filled the band's mid-afternoon, attended by a small but fervent crowd that ate up the brand new tunes. One piece of advice: don't ponder their name while digging into a pile of greasy carnival food. — Zach Long


2. The weird, perturbing sideshow circus tent

It's not a proper carnival without a circus tent filled with freaks. The Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow filled that need at Riot Fest this year, showcasing a medley of acts that could make even the most hardcore masochist cringe. The show is filled with fire swallowing, a legless man crowdsurfing and even a ringmaster shoving popcorn kernels up his nose and squeezing them out of his tear ducts. If you dig a good gross-out, it's definitely worth checking out. There are three free shows each day at the fest (2:30pm, 4:30pm and 7pm). — Clayton Guse


3. Drive Like Jehu's post-hardcore catharsis

Riot Fest isn't likely to book Fugazi anytime soon, but a performance by fellow post-hardcore trailblazers Drive Like Jehu was a suitable proxy. The San Diego band took the stage and complained about the chilly weather before warming onlookers with a relentless barrage of explosive crescendos and odd time signatures. Of all the reunited acts we've seen at the festival thus far, few sounded as vital as this noisy, West Coast outfit. — ZL


4. A memorabilia raffle with a great cause

Riot Fest's merchandise tent boasts the usual array of T-shirts and tchotchkes, but a raffle in support of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless offers some more interesting items. Prizes include limited-edition guitars autographed by bands like Bad Religion, Social Distortion and Disturbed; a pair of VIP passes to Riot Fest 2016 and a dope mosaic illustration of Patti Smith. If you have some quarters to spare, a line of arcade games from Emporium occupies the same tent—offering a more realistic '80s vibe than some of the weekend's geriatric headliners. — CG


5. Iggy Pop's evening calisthenics

Before Iggy Pop finished his first song, he had already stripped off his jacket, reverting to his usual, shirtless state. At 68-years-old, the lifelong rocker has more energy than most frontmen, prancing around the stage and tossing microphone stands around. It's hard to think of another rock and roll legend who has aged as well as Iggy—he's still a force of nature with a lust for life and killer dance moves. — ZL

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