Howl’s Top Shows: Riot Fest

June 1, 2018

Throughout every summer, Chicago becomes home base for some of the most exciting music festivals in the country. Coming at the tail end of the celebration is the legendary Riot Fest, a 3-day festival first formed in Chicago’s clubs in 2005. The festival has been home to some of the finest rock and punk groups, both on a national and local level, and has since expanded to include musicians from within the pop, indie, and metal realms. Though occasionally expanding into other cities, Riot Fest is without a doubt a product of Chicago’s thrilling music scene, and with the recent announcement of the first-wave of bands and artists performing at 2018’s festival, it’s time to take a look at who this year’s most unmissable acts will be.

Banquet halls

The Front Bottoms

Sandwiched between the end of the latest emo era and the beginning of the dreampop craze, The Front Bottoms are a band that have never quite had a genre to call home. Frankly, they don’t need one. The band creates tracks that make people move in ways that feel foreign, but free—combining beats that sound sampled from a disco track with everything from synths to melodicas, trumpets to bassoon, and many even wilder instruments. All the while, singer/songwriter Brian Sella howls as his voice endearingly cracks, strumming his acoustic guitar to the beat. It’s a strange mesh, but a careful formula that has propelled the band through six albums and seven EPs since 2007, the most recents being 2017’s Going Grey and 2018’s Ann EP. The Front Bottoms are a welcome addition to any festival lineup and the band’s natural punk energy is a perfect match for the Riot Fest crowd.


The first headliner to hit our list goes to the legendary and sensational group, Blondie. Led by (now ex) couple Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein, the group found major success in pioneering the early New Wave era of the 1980’s after emerging from New York’s booming punk scene. While a regular fixture at venues like CBGB, it wasn’t long before national attention caught on to Harry’s charismatic performances and the new breed of music they helped to popularize. Though Blondie managed to release six full length albums during this era, their run was fairly short as tensions within the band, primarily due to Debbie Harry’s growing celebrity, forced the group into disbandment in 1982. After reuniting in 1997, the group has faced an uphill climb to cement themselves as a headlining presence, but persevered to claim the top spot on a number of tour, even putting out five additional studio albums. The most recent being 2017’s Pollinator. Blondie plays a tremendous, genre-spanning set that you’d be silly not to stay for.


Speaking of adversity, it has been quite the battle for Blink-182 to regain their former status as the kings of pop-punk. The seminal group of the late 90’s was an absolute fixture in every bar, stadium, basement or room with a speaker in America after the releases of 1999’s Enema of the State and 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. However, creative strifes grew between the band’s three members and a breakup ensued in 2004. In late 2008, drummer Travis Barker was involved in a plane accident that required sixteen surgeries and lengthy blood transfusions. Despite not speaking for more than four years, bassist Mark Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge met with Barker in the hospital, prompting the group to reunite and release the album Neighborhoods before going on tour. Sales stalled despite the band’s renewed mission and animosity still remained, causing DeLonge to call for another hiatus. Barker and Hoppus eventually continued without the longtime guitarist, replacing him with Alkaline Trio frontman Matt Skiba and released California in 2016, which debuted as their first number one record since 2001. Blink-182’s new dynamic has led to incredibly fun live performances and a renewed energy that is infectious to the entire crowd.

Live Music Venue

No matter what day you’re heading to Riot Fest, the festivities don’t have to end after the headliner. Head to Howl at the Moon to keep your night loud, with the city’s best live music show on our stage every night. Our musicians play tons of hit songs every night, plus plenty of crowd requests, making Howl the ultimate after party destination. The drinks are poured tall every time and there’s nothing more fun than sharing one of our 86 oz. buckets or knocking back a shot with your awesome crew! Howl Chicago can even host celebrations of all kinds: from birthday parties, holiday parties, corporate events, bachelor parties, bachelorette parties and more. Book your reservation and let’s get howlin’ today!

See what’s happening at your local Howl at the Moon today:

Baltimore | Boston | Charlotte | Chicago | Denver | Foxborough | Hollywood | Houston | Indianapolis | Kansas City | Louisville | Orlando | Philadelphia | Pittsburgh | San Antonio | St. Louis

Go Back

Recent Posts