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PHOTOS: Riot Fest 2019- Day 3

Riot Fest 2019 came to a close on Sunday with yet another stacked day. Check out photos from some of the best sets, including White Reaper, Village People, Against Me!, The B-52’s and American Football.


It's been just over a week since SXSW ended, and just like you, we're still missing the sun, the tunes, and the tacos. Luckily, we have some photos from the packed week of shows to hold us over until next year. Check out our photos from SXSW 2018 below, and stay tuned for interviews with some of our favorite South By artists!

Photos by Rachel Zyzda, featuring Shame, Sunflower Bean, White Reaper, Liza Anne, Blue Dream, HINDS, Acid Dad, Soccer Mommy, Post Animal, Anna Burch, High Waisted, Girl Ray, Caroline Rose, Ron Gallo, The Nude Party, OHMME, Rookie, The Evening Attraction, and Lucille Furs

Photos by Erica Tello, featuring Hembree, Jade Bird, and Mt Joy

Photos by Justin Kibbel of Superchunk, Wye Oak, Bully, Shamir, Lucy Dacus

LIVE: White Reaper, Post Animal, and Peach Pit Put on One of the World's Best Gigs at The Metro

White Reaper, Post Animal, and Peach Pit brought a night of camaraderie and crowd surfing to a legendary Chicago space, The Metro.

Vancouver’s Peach Pit kicked off the festivities, warming up the Wrigleyville venue as the crowd still slowly trickled into the all ages show. The four piece provided the perfect teaser for the sets that would follow; the early arrivers moshing around to songs like “Tommy’s Party” and “Techo Show”  from their debut album, titled Being So Normal. By the end of their 30 minute set, the crowd was buzzing in anticipation for their fellow Chicagoans in Post Animal.

Only a few short days prior to this show, one of Post Animal’s guitarists and vocalists Javi Reyes suffered a stroke onstage during their set supporting White Reaper in New York. While he had to remain in the ICU for a few days following the stroke, Reyes is bouncing back and on the road to full recovery, and he encouraged his bandmates to push through and continue the rest of tour without him. At The Metro on Tuesday night, the remaining four began their 45 minute set with drummer Wes Toledo addressing the crowd about Reyes’ situation, initiating a “Javi!” chant while he held up a cardboard cutout of his bandmate's head that a friend had made for the show. Although there’s absolutely no replacing the flavor that Reyes adds to each of Post Animal’s performances, the group managed to rally together to reconstruct a very solid performance that absolutely shredded, despite the unfortunate circumstances. The hometown show highlights included the performance of the building and layered track “You Were Not There” from their The Garden Series EP, the psychedelic riffs of  "When I Get Home" from the same EP, and their latest single “Special Moment,” which features a killer guitar solo and came along with a trippy and thrilling music video. Their set on Tuesday also included a rare performance of “Lorelei,” which features guitarist Matt Williams taking the lead on vocals and will be included on their upcoming album. While the absence of Reyes stood out to the many friends and fans in attendance, his bandmates gave the show their all and the crowd reciprocated that energy right back, not only moshing, but also kicking off the steady stream of crowd surfing that would continue throughout White Reaper’s set.

Following a thirty minute changeover, the self-proclaimed "World's Best American Band" stormed the stage with an unwavering enthusiasm that would only support their bold claim. By the time the opening chords of "Wolf Trap Motel" from White Reaper's sophomore album, called White Reaper Does It Again, rang out into the venue, the crowd had completely filled in. The Louisville rockers immediately played off of and amplified the infectious positive energy that Post Animal and Peach Pit had generated, with crowd surfers popping up during the early part of the setlist. As the audience thrashed around and lifted one another up to cruise over the crowd, the five piece worked the entire stage and poured every ounce of gusto that they had into the show. Bassist Sam Wilkerson often gained some serious air jumping in place on his side of the stage, while Ryan Hater would hang out at the edge of the stage to hype up the crowd whenever he wasn't fervently playing the keyboard, and lead singer and guitarist Tony Esposito would drop to his knees to ground his guitar playing. 

The hour long set contained a fair bit of White Reaper's aforementioned sophomore album, but crowd favorites definitely included "The Stack" and "Judy French" from the group's 2017 album The World's Best American Band, which has propelled the Kentucky based band into the limelight of the rock scene this year. Before the band's explosive performance of the latter ("Judy French"), Esposito proposed that the crowd start an all female circle pit during the tune. While the ladies of the pit bopped around, confetti shot out into the crowd to create a rare confetti circle pit. As the set wound down during the last bit of the 9'o clock hour, so much crowd surfing and moshing had occurred, but the band only kept it up themselves. Esposito and Wilkerson challenged each other to their nightly shot and [crowd]surf race, in which they surf over to the venue's bar, take a shot and then race back to the stage. During the race, Colin Croom and Cadien Lake James of Chicago's own Twin Peaks joined the remainder of the band onstage to lend a hand to the background music that amped up the anticipation induced by the race. Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks could also be spotted down in the pit, hyping up the audience. By the time the houselights came up after White Reaper's encore of "Half Bad" and "Another Day," the Metro had endured one of its rowdiest shows in recent days, featuring some classic Chicago camaraderie. 

Check out our gallery of all three bands below to relive the unforgettable experience!

Keep up with each band on social media below, and if you can, please consider donating to Javi Reyes’ recovery fund by clicking here.

White Reaper: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Post Animal: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Peach Pit: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Can't get enough Post Animal and White Reaper? Check out our interview with each band by clicking on their names!

LIVE: White Reaper at Mo Pop Festival

Not only is the music of White Reaper the ultimate nexus of charm and pure rock ‘n’ roll, but it is uniquely adrenalized as well. This is a trait that leaps from the record to the stage, as the band delivered an invigorating performance at this year’s Mo Pop Festival in Detroit, Michigan.

One of the most memorable aspects of White Reaper’s set was their banter between songs. They evaded the trap of appearing as musical robots who went through song after song without acknowledging the crowd by a wide margin, and instead revealed an innate ability to make the audience burst with laughter. Guitarist Hunter Thompson jokingly asked the audience if they were enjoying their sabbath, as the performance took place on a Sunday, and bassist Sam Wilkerson gave a shout out to his twin brother and White Reaper drummer Nick - who then promptly removed his shirt and pants before continuing with the rest of the set. White Reaper is effortlessly charismatic - something that will contribute to the band’s inevitable longevity just as much as their musical skill.

White Reaper at Mo Pop 2017

White Reaper at Mo Pop 2017

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of White Reaper’s live performances is simply watching keyboardist Ryan Hater. Taking full advantage of the fact that he does not have an instrument strapped to him, Hater jumps and thrashes - even making the occasional venture to the microphone to interact with the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of watching live music is being able to witness the palpable cycle of energy that exists between a group of musicians creating art that they love, and a group of people who love their art. For White Reaper, Hater is a major catalyst for the radiation of this powerful electricity.

After reaching the conclusion of their set with the track “Judy French,” a single from their most recent album that drips with a delectable combination of goodness and grit, the previously quiet audience was in an uproar of applause and cheers. The audience had fallen White Reaper’s spell - an easy feat for a band that’s a refreshing combination of skill and stage presence.

White Reaper is hitting Chicago this week! They'll be at Lollapalooza Thursday, August 3rd at 12:45 on the Grant Park Stage. They'll also be opening a sold out show with Royal Blood at Lincoln Hall on Friday, August 4th!

Can't get White Reaper? Revisit our interview with them here

Five Acts Worth An Early Arrival at Hangout Fest

At most music festivals, the headliners are typically the acts that draw you in, getting you to invest your time and money into watching two or more days of live music in some of the most random locations around the world. However, festivals are also all about discovering new music, and yes, that means getting there early. Take a peek at our short list of bands playing earlier in the day at Hangout Fest that you absolutely cannot miss...then come find us at the festival and dance with us during these sets. 

Rainbow Kitten Surprise

As the old saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover. You also shouldn't judge a band by its least in this case. Hailing from Boone, North Carolina, Rainbow Kitten Surprise blend unique vocal tones with infectious, melodic riffs for a sound completely different than what you'd expect based on their band name. And man, do they know how to put on a live show. Catch them playing Fitz's Stage at Hangout Fest on Saturday at 2:30PM.

Photo Credit: Emily Quirk

Photo Credit: Emily Quirk

For Fans Of: Lewis Del Mar, Alt-J, Modest Mouse, Sir-Sly

Start With: "Cocaine Jesus" and "Devil Like Me"


Having only been around for about a year, this trio of producers from Jersey are blowing everyone's expectations out of the water. With catchy choruses and their clean production style, the band has earned their huge streaming audience (they have over 9 million monthly listeners on Spotify).  A R I Z O N A's debut album actually comes out the first day of Hangout Fest, so they're sure to pack even more energy into their set than usual. Get to know more about this new band by checking out our interview, then go see them at Hangout on Saturday at 1:30PM on the BMI Stage. 

Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine

Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine

For Fans Of: Kevin Garrett, FRENSHIP, LANY, Jack Garratt

Start With: "I Was Wrong" and "Oceans Away"

Strand of Oaks

The multi-talented, singer-songwriter and producer Timothy Showalter, (AKA Strand of Oaks) leaves his stamp on his diverse and dynamic songs with his distinct voice. With some songs that lean more towards the folk realm, and others like "Everything," with its amped up guitar layers, Showalter's set will be sure to have a little something for everyone. Make sure you get down to the Mermaid Stage at 2:45PM on Sunday to catch him! Get ready for the show by listening to the newest album, Hard Love. 

Photo Credit: Maclay Heriot 

Photo Credit: Maclay Heriot 

For Fans Of: The Lumineers, Big Thief, Band of Horses, Bright Eyes

Start With: "Radio Kids" and "Shut In"

Foreign Air

The somewhat mysterious duo Foreign Air craft hypnotizing tunes with infectious melodies that will be sure to have you moving. With a debut EP, called For The Light, and a new single under their belt, there's no telling what will be in store for Foreign Air once they release their debut album. Head down to the BMI Stage on Friday at 4PM to dance on the beach to the sweet sounds of Foreign Air. 


For Fans Of: Glass Animals, Foals, Local Natives, Sylvan Esso

Start With: "In The Shadows" and "Call Off The Dogs"

White Reaper

Louisville, Kentucky based rockers are taking 2017 by a storm with their new album The World's Best American Band. Live, the band exert incredible energy, putting everything they've got into delivering an unforgettable rowdy and electrifying performance. If you want to blow off some steam with some good ol' fashioned Rock'N'Roll, go see them at The Mermaid Stage at 2:30PM on Friday.

Photo Credit: Jesse DeFlorio

Photo Credit: Jesse DeFlorio

For Fans Of: Twin Peaks, Ty Segall, The Orwells, Fidlar

Start With: "Judy French" and "The Stack"

Check out the full Hangout Fest line up here, and make sure you follow us on all our social media to get real-time updates next weekend!