Mother Nature couldn't let the last summer music festival come and go without a little rain. The crowd at Riot Fest on Friday was filled with sagging mohawks and soggy leather jackets, as storm clouds drenched Humboldt Park for the majority of the evening. The ground quickly became permeated, creating thick patches of mud on just about every heavily traveled field. It didn't help that the festival's newly expanded layout was riddled with bottlenecks. Thankfully, there was no lightning in the sky and the festivites rolled on as schueduled.
Early in the afternoon, GWAR kicked off its set by "decapitating" someone dressed up like Barack Obama and ended with an extended tribute to the late Dave Brockie, better known to fans as Oderus Urungus. On the other side of the park, Henry Rollins sat down with Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina of Pussy Riot for a conversation about the power of punk rock that quickly devolved into Rollins talking, at length, about himself. Go figure.
As dusk fell (accompanied by more rain, naturally) Mastodon dug into a heavy set of tunes from its latest slab, Once More 'Round the Sun, as the gypsy punks gathered to stomp along with Gogol Bordello and his energetic crew. The evening ended with a nostalgic trip back to the '80s, as Jane's Addiction ran through Nothing's Shocking on one side of the park while headbangers packed in to witness Slayer's thrash metal classic Reign in Blood in its entirety.
We slogged through the swamp-like conditions to capture the sodden masses celebrating at the first day of the punk rock carnival.
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