Riot Fest 2021 Lineup Finalized

Courtesy: Western Publicity

The official lineup for this year’s Riot Fest has been finalized.

The 2021 Riot Fest is scheduled to take place Sept. 16-19 at Douglass Park in Chicaco, IL. The whole thing kicks off the evening of Sept. 16 with performances by the likes of Alkaline Trio, Patti Smith and her Band, and Morrissey.

Sept. 17 is the first, full, official date of music for this year’s festival. It features performances from a wide range of acts, such as Smashing Pumpkins, NOFX, and Anti-Flag.

Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, and Living Colour join the likes of Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Run The Jewels, and Gwar for the second day of this year’s Riot Fest lineup.

Sunday will see just as many and varied acts taking the stage. Among the most notable of the performances planned to close out this year’s festival are those from the likes of Slipknot, Simple Plan, and Body Count. The Flaming Lips will take the place of Pixies following that band’s recent announcement that it was halting its tour plans due to concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The full lineup for this year’s Riot Fest is noted below.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
MORRISSEY, ALKALINE TRIO, PATTI SMITH AND HER BAND, JOYCE MANOR (performing S/T), WDRL, KRISTEEN YOUNG

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, COHEED AND CAMBRIA, LUPE FIASCO (performing The Cool), NOFX, DIRTY HEADS, SUBLIME WITH ROME, CIRCLE JERKS, DINOSAUR JR., MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK, THRICE, CIRCA SURVIVE, MEG MYERS, THE LAWRENCE ARMS, BEACH BUNNY, ANTI-FLAG, LIVING COLOUR, FISHBONE, ENVY ON THE COAST, THE SOUNDS, AMIGO THE DEVIL, EYEDRESS, BEACH GOONS, MEET ME @ THE ALTAR, SERATONES, RADKEY, KISSISSIPPI, JACKIE HAYES, OXYMORRONS, GIRLPUPPY, SEŃOR KINO

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
RUN THE JEWELS, FAITH NO MORE, DROPKICK MURPHYS, RANCID, TAKING BACK
SUNDAY, VIC MENSA, GOGOL BORDELLO, MAYDAY PARADE, BAYSIDE, STATE CHAMPS, THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES, ANDREW W.K., BEST COAST, BIG FREEDIA, GWAR, HEPCAT, LES SAVY FAV, THE BRONX, FOUR YEAR STRONG, CITIZEN, FUCKED UP, JOYWAVE, NIGHT MOVES, MAN ON MAN, THE BOLLWEEVILS, ACTION/ADVENTURE, GANSER, JUST FRIENDS, THE ORPHAN THE POET, BEARINGS, SPIDER, DEVON KAY & THE SOLUTIONS

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
SLIPKNOT, MACHINE GUN KELLY, THE FLAMING LIPS, DEVO, MR. BUNGLE, NEW FOUND GLORY, SIMPLE PLAN, THE GHOST INSIDE, BODY COUNT, THURSDAY, K.FLAY, KNUCKLE PUCK, HEALTH, THE BLED, MOTHER MOTHER, 3OH!3, ALEX G, FEVER 333, KENNYHOOPLA, BLEACHED, THE GORIES, FACS, RATBOYS, BLACKSTARKIDS, THE CLOCKWORKS, PET SYMMETRY, MELKBELLY, GYMSHORTS, THE WEAK DAYS, AIRSTREAM FUTURES

Tickets for Riot Fest 2021 are available here.

More information on this year’s Riot Fest is available along with all of the festival’s latest news at:

Website: https://www,riotfest.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RiotFest1

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Counterpunch Debuts New Single, ‘We, The Role’

Courtesy: Thousand Islands Records

Surf punk band Counterpunch debuted its new single this week.

The band debuted its new single ‘We, The Role‘ Tuesday. The song is the b-side from the band’s recently released single ‘Handbook for the Recently Debriefed.’ Its debut comes less than a month after the band debuted the song and its companion lyric video.

The record is scheduled for release Jan. 29 through Thousand Islands Records in the United States and SBAM Records in the European Union. Pre-orders for Handbook for the Recently Debriefed are open. Quantities are limited to 100 in each of the record’s three variants.

While the band’s clear Pennywise influence is just as prevalent in ‘We, The Role,’ as in the single’s title song, the musical arrangement featured in ‘We, The Role’ will also appeal to fans of bands, such as Good Charlotte, Simple Plan. That is evidenced in the guitar arrangement and vocal delivery style.

The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement comes across as a commentary of sorts. Not having an explanation from the band, it is somewhat difficult to determine the topic exactly. It would seem from what can be deciphered that the lyrical theme is a commentary on how society has become in recent years. That is just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.

More information about Counterpunch’s new single, video and record is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.counterpunchrock.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/counterpunchrok

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/counterpunchrok

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Allen’s Success Continues In His Fourth Full-Length Studio Recording

Courtesy: Six Degrees Records

Independent singer-songwriter Jake Allen is scheduled to release his new album Friday. Allen’s fourth full-length studio recording, Affirmation Day is a 56-minute presentation that is full of deeply emotional compositions that will appeal easily to fans of John Mayer just as much as they will to fans of the emo world.  This sounds like an odd juxtaposition, but it truly is the case here.  The fruition of Allen’s recent global travels, the 12-song record will have its own longevity, as it will take many listens for audiences to get to the point in which they start picking their favorite songs.  One of the most notable of the album’s songs is its most recent single, ‘On The Run.’  It will be examined shortly.  ‘Things We’ll Never Find,’ which comes later in the record’s run, is another example of how much the album has to offer audiences.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Clear,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is another notable entry in this latest offering from Allen.  It will also be discussed later.  When these three songs are considered with the rest of Affirmation Day’s entries, the record in whole becomes a presentation that audiences are sure to find quite endearing.

Jake Allen’s fourth full-length studio recording, Affirmation Day, is a presentation that will move audiences from beginning to end.  That is proven through its musical and lyrical contents throughout, not the least point of which being the album’s latest single, ‘On The Run.’  The song’s musical arrangement takes a minimalist approach while also using Allen’s signature finger picking style.  The subdued vibe of the overall arrangement serves to illustrate the seeming theme of a romantic relationship that is presented in the song’s lyrical side.

The noted seeming theme is inferred right from the song’s lead verse as Allen sings, “It’s been keeping me awake/All the heart that you put into the smiles that you fake/It’s been weighing on my soul/All the strength that I’ve lost/To find a way to gain control/through the lens of an untrained eye/if the life I’m searching for/is the life that I want to find.”  It is inferred just as much in the song’s second verse, which finds Allen singing, “So how can I erase/That mirage in your eyes/On an unreachable place/’Cause when I give myself to you/there’s so much you don’t take/Even when you say you do/So how can I be sure/Under reign of a fallen star/If who you say you are/is who you really are.”  The song’s chorus puts the final touch to the nod argument.  That is because Allen sings, “So I’ll always be on the run/’Til the world shows me who to become/But if only I’d ever need a friend/I would run to be with you/Until I run away again.”  This leaves no doubt as to the song’s lyrical theme.  The way in which Allen presents the topic is familiar, but not overly so.  It is still is a somewhat original, poetic presentation that will move listeners, especially when it is considered along with the song’s musical arrangement.  Keeping both sides of the song in mind, they make the song just one example of what makes Affirmation Day worth hearing.  ‘Things We’ll Never Find’ is another of the album’s positive points.

‘Things We’ll Never Find’ presents a musical arrangement that once again presents the noted John Mayer influence, but also features a touch of emo influence.  Speaking more specifically, the song presents a sound similar to that of works from early Jimmy Eat World.  That is the case both in its softer moments and in its more energetic chorus.  It sounds like an odd combination in itself, but it works here in its own way.  What is interesting about this catchy pop-rock presentation is that it is an interesting counter to the song’s seeming lyrical theme.

The lyrical theme that ‘Things We’ll Never Find’ comes across as being one of those familiar metaphorical works that addresses the issue of love found and lost.  It hints at the old adage that ‘‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.’  That is most clearly inferred in the song’s chorus, which finds Allen singing, “You took my hand in such a radiant scene/With a face that only manifests in dreams/You slipped right through my fingers/Now your voice is gone/But the song plays on for good.”  As Allen transitions into the song’s second verse, he adds, “So can we let go of these gifts we’ve left behind/And find understanding in the things we have/And the things we’ll never find.”  The song that he mentions playing on for good is addressed in the song’s lead verse, in which Allen sings, “Late at night/A melody came/But in the morning/It just didn’t sound the same/It slipped through my fingers.”  Here again is that seeming statement about love found, but lost, but the addition of the song’s musical arrangement to the presentation gives the song a unique touch.  It does not take the standard oh-woe-is-me route thanks to that wording and musical presentation.  Rather, it takes a more positive outlook.  This is something that plenty of audiences will appreciate.  Keeping this in mind along with the appeal of ‘On The Run,’ the two songs collectively even more what makes Allen’s new album appealing.  They are just a portion of what makes the record worth hearing, too.  ‘Clear,’ which comes just past the album’s midpoint, is one more of the album’s positive points.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Clear’ shows even more of an emo influence than that of ‘Things We’ll Never Find.’  Adding to that is that unlike the noted song, the Jimmy Eat World influence is replaced here with something more along the lines of Yellowcard and Simple Plan in an acoustic vein.  To that end, this expands the album’s appeal even more.  When this is considered along with the song’s lyrical content, that appeal and interest grows that much more.

The lyrical content that accompanies this song’s upbeat musical arrangement is so interesting because it seems to present the theme of learning to let go.  This does not have to necessarily relate to the topic of a breakup.  It could also connect to the issue of letting go of a loved one who has died.  This is inferred as Allen sings, “So vivid I remember/the day you said goodbye/Your fading eyes saw through me/And gazed up to the skies/And I though of stories/Allegories to find some higher view/But between the thoughts was/Where I lost the fiction and found the truth.”  The seeming message becomes clearer in the song’s second verse, as Allen sings, “So I hold on to that image/The last of you I saw/The final look you gave me/The ending to it all/An incarnation’s set duration is so ambiguous/Do we shy and falter/Or try to alter the frame of what this is.”  The song’s third and final verse hints even more at the noted theme, as Allen sings, “So I’m pushing my heart into/A disillusioned place/And freeing myself from all these/Fragile thoughts of holding on/So to see your transformation through unconditioned eyes/It’s funny to believe that/You could ever say goodbye.”  That final statement about a person having to come to terms with someone “saying goodbye” either in person or metaphorically (when they die), the noted message gains even more ground.  Again, the semi-upbeat musical arrangement that accompanies the song’s lyrical content makes for its own interesting listen.  When the two sides are coupled, they make song even more powerful, as it seems to present a sense of accepting the noted loss, regardless of the situation.  It reminds listeners that loss does not have to be entirely bad.  It’s yet another way in which the album shows its strength.  When the song is considered with the other songs examined here and the rest of the album’s entries, the whole of the album becomes a unique presentation that is another success from Allen.

Jake Allen’s fourth new album Affirmation Day is a positive new offering that audiences will themselves affirm is worth hearing.  That is thanks to its musical and lyrical content alike.  Each of the songs examined in this review support the noted statements.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the album in whole becomes a work that continues Allen’s ongoing success yet again. 

More information on Jake Allen’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.jakeallenmusic.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/jakeallenmusic

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and ‘Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and review in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Set It Off’s Latest LP Boasts More Upsides Than Down

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

Courtesy: Equal Vision Records

This coming March, Set It Off will perform live in North Carolina’s “Queen City” as support for Simple Plan’s 15th Anniversary Tour.  The bands will perform live at The Fillmore Charlotte on Wednesday, March 22nd.  While Set It Off is acting as direct support on the tour, that doesn’t lessen the importance of its performance.  That is because the band is currently touring in support of its latest full-length studio release, Upside Down.  The band’s third full-length studio recording, Upside Down was released last October via Equal Vision Records.  It is a stark departure for the band both in terms of its musical arrangements and its lyrical themes.  Both elements are key pieces of the record’s overall presentation.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the record’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Upside Down offers far more upsides than down.

Set It Off’s third full-length studio recording Upside Down was a big risk for the band.  That is because it is such a stark departure for the band in comparison to its previous two albums and its previous EPs. In examining the album in whole it proves to be a risk that was worth taking.  The record’s arrangements clearly support that statement.  Gone are the heavy, angsty, guitar-driven arrangements presented in the band’s previous offerings.  They have been replaced here with arrangements that prove to be far more accessible to mainstream audiences than those aforementioned arrangements.  The arrangement presented in the record’s title track is a prime example of that more commercial, mainstream sound.  The keyboard-driven composition is more akin to something audiences might hear from Maroon 5, Andy Grammar and others of that ilk than the Fall Out Boy, etc. sound for which it has been known.  ‘Diamond Girl,’ with its blatantly 80s-influenced sound—more specifically Richard Marx influenced—the band exhibits once again just how far it has departed from its previous sound this time out.  ‘Admit It’ is one more clear example of the importance of this record’s arrangements.  This song presents a blatantly Top 40, pop-centric arrangement that can easily be compared to so many of today’s top pop acts.  It is hardly the last song that could be cited in explaining the importance of the record’s arrangements.  The arrangement presented in ‘Life Afraid’ is another keyboard-driven composition that would be a perfect fit for any club.  The hip-hop arrangement at the center of ‘Hypnotized’ stands on its own merits, too.  Between that arrangement and all of the others noted here, it becomes clear just how important the arrangements presented in Upside Down are to its overall presentation.  They prove that while they do make the record a stark stylistic departure from the band’s past records, that risk paid off tenfold.

The arrangements that are presented in Set It Off’s latest full-length studio recording present a sound that is a stark departure for the band from its previous records.  That includes its EPs and full-length studio recordings.  They present sounds that are far more accessible to mainstream audiences than those in the band’s previous records.  As important as this record’s arrangements are to its presentation, they are not the only stark departures present in this record.  The lyrical themes presented throughout the album stand out just as much from their predecessors as the record’s musical arrangements.  ‘Uncontainable’ is a clear example of how different the record’s lyrical themes are in comparison to those of the band’s previous albums.  This song’s lyrical content presents a very positive message to audiences about standing tall and proud.  It tells listeners to not let anyone or anything hold one down.  ‘Admit It’ is another one of those songs (or at least seems to be) that is centered on a broken relationship.  That is nothing new for the band.  What is different here is the approach that the band has taken with its lyrical content.  Rather than being one of those angry pieces so common on the band’s previous records, it is more a standard breakup piece.  It sounds just like something—some will hate this critic for this—that any of today’s Top 40 acts would churn out, pointing fingers about a breakup.  ‘Never Know,’ with its positive message about taking risks is a perfect illustration of the risk taken by the band here.  It also serves to motivate listeners to take their own choices even despite naysayers who might try to hold one down.  It is just one of the lyrically positive pieces presented in this record, too.  Between those songs, the others noted here and those not noted, it becomes entirely clear why the lyrical themes presented in this record are so important to its presentation.  When they are set alongside the album’s musical arrangements, both show just how big of a risk Set It Off took on this record and how much that risk paid off.  While both elements are clearly important in their own right to the album’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The record’s overall sequencing is just as important to note as its arrangements and its lyrical themes.

The musical arrangements and lyrical themes presented throughout Upside Down both show a band that took a huge risk in comparison to its previous records.  They also show a risk that paid off quite well.  While they are both important to the record’s overall presentation, showing why that risk paid off, they are not its only important elements.  The record’s sequencing is just as important to its presentation as its arrangements and lyrical themes.  From beginning to end, the band keeps the energy moving.  That in turn assures even more listeners’ maintained engagement and enjoyment.  That is just part of what makes the sequencing so important to note.  On a deeper level, listeners will note that the band varies the arrangements from one song to the next, too.  It opens with something of a pop-rock arrangement in ‘Something New’ before moving to a more Top 40 Pop sound in ‘Uncontainable,’ the record’s second track.  ‘Life Afraid,’ the record’s third song, is a more club style song in its arrangement.  The band moves back in the pop direction with the record’s fourth track, its title track.  The moody, modern, keyboard-driven arrangement at the heart of ‘Want’ switches things even more.  The variances in the arrangements definitely don’t end there, either.  Rather they continue right to the record’s end.  Those variances in mind, and the energy that is so expertly balanced from start to finish, it becomes clear why this record’s sequencing is just as important to discuss in its importance as its arrangements themselves and the record’s lyrical themes.  All things considered, the elements noted here come together to show Upside Down as one quite a risk for Set It Off, but a risk that paid off in the end.  That is because they come together to show this record has far more upsides than down.

Upside Down is a record that shows great growth from Set It Off.  That is because it presents the band really stepping out of its comfort zone and taking a huge risk both musically and lyrically.  That risk paid off quite well, with the end result being a record that displays far more upsides than down.  From the wide array of musical styles presented in its arrangements and the mix of themes in its lyrical content, the album doesn’t just sit on the band’s past laurels.  It keeps the band (and fans) moving forward.  All things considered, Upside Down proves to have far more upsides than down.  It is available in stores and online now.  It is available at each of the band’s current live shows, too.  That includes the band’s upcoming show in March in Charlotte, NC.  More information on that tour, the band’s new album and all of the band’s latest updates is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.setitoffband.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/setitoffband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/setitoff

 

 

 

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Pop Punk Music, Positive Lyrics Makes ATW’s Debut LP A Hit

Courtesy: Red Cord Records

The self-titled debut record from At The Wayside is a solid pop punk record for fans of New Found Glory, Simple Plan, and others of that ilk.  It carries all the requisite hooks, riffs, and choruses to make it an instant hit among fans of the pop punk genre.  Add in some very positive lyrics, and audiences get an album that’s that much better of a debut.  It grabs audiences from the very first moments of the album’s opener, ‘Drown Us Out.’  Front man Phil sings in ‘Drown Us Out’, “Each time we try and we get let down/Each loss we’re counting/As a victory/You can’t stop us now.”  It almost comes across as a more optimistic look at life.  Instead of letting losses beat oneself, one should take those looses and find the good in them to make them victories in the long term.  That’s a positive message to audiences and a good way to kick off the album.

‘What They Said’ is another high point to this record.  The band’s front man sings an apologetic statement here.  He sings, “I shouldn’t have had to explain myself/I shouldn’t have to tell you now/I’d never have asked for forgiveness/If I’d just never let you down.”  He is admitting that he isn’t perfect and that he knows it.  So he is sending out an apology for how he has been.

As poppy as the record is, there is one moment on the album in which the band slows things down in a big way.  ‘7.4.08’ is a ballad that’s gentle both in its music and its lyrics.  It notes here, “It’s not right to be afraid/Or even think to be ashamed/There’s no one left/ To take the blame/So let it go/Let it go.”  It comes across as a song about a woman who has been abused.  What kind of abuse is beside the point.  This is a song that’s sure to empower its female audiences.  So many women blame themselves for being abused.  This is evident as the song notes, “I know you’ll try/To Justify this/As if you could possible deserve this/But you don’t/And I hope/That you know that/Princess.”  It’s saying that no woman should ever blame herself for the abuse suffered at the hands of another.  The fault lies not in the victim, but in the on abusing the victim.  This is undoubtedly the album’s biggest high point.  The gentility in the vocals and the music make for such a comforting moment for the band’s female audience as there are so many women who could likely relate to this piece.

‘7.4.08’ is without a doubt, the album’s highest of highs.  It’s just one of many throughout the album’s ten songs.  Every listener will take something different away from this album.  And that’s the sign of a good release.  Anyone who is a pop punk fan and anyone who wants music with real lyrical substance will appreciate this debut from At The Wayside.  Fans in Iowa will get to hear the band’s music live today, as the band will be performing at the 208 Ministry Center in Osceola, Iowa.  For a full list of the band’s tour dates and all the latest news from the band, fans can “Like” the band’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/atthewayside or follow the band on Twitter at http://twitter.com/atthewayside.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.