Yes, I went to Riot Fest

Girl crowd-surfing at Riot Fest 

I was in Chicago last weekend with Frauline, Swam, Jerk Fish and the Bear for Riot Fest.

Yes, I went to Riot Fest. 

While this seems like a stretch for me, I knew the lineup would be a great intro to learning more about bands I had only listened to in very limited doses.  Who in their right mind could deny the influence of Iggy Fucking Pop? And as I get more involved with projects that require vast knowledge of musical influence, I knew the punk kids had a lot to teach me.

As I sat in the middle of the crowd snapping photos at the Slapstick set I realized that my ska-riddled days in college left musical imprints that were making me smile. I watched as the audience "skanked" and bounced to the heavily syncopated beats.

During NOFX the whole idea of "punk" hit me as the lyrics were being chanted by an excited crowd.

I never looked around, never second-guessed
Then I read some Howard Zinn now I'm always depressed
And now I can't sleep from years of apathy
All because I read a little Noam Chomsky
I'm eating vegetation, 'cause of Fast Food Nation
I'm wearing uncomfortable shoes 'cause of globalization
I'm watching Michael Moore expose the awful truth
I'm listening to Public Enemy and Reagan Youth

Mainstream America puts on labels like misguided youth, and never realizes the punk kids can tell you exactly what is wrong with society. If I were a high school teacher, the first kid I would now call on to discuss foreign policy would be the kid in leather wearing liberty spikes. Why? Because that is a kid that has something to say. His angst comes from the fact that as loud as he may appear, his voice is generally muffled by his age.  Someone who is expressing themselves outwardly has a LOT on the inside to say. But, they also know it is not worth their time to try and tell it to someone who cannot get past their hair.

As a kid that grew up in a military family only really exposed to preppy band types I had a lot of built-in preconceived notions with the "insanity" that one must have to wear a mohawk. As an adult I realize my preconceived notions of self-expressions are being stripped away. I realize how unique we all are, and time is better spent accepting and learning rather than judging and labeling.

After a Descendants set Frau told me about a kid who went crowd surfing in a wheelchair. I sat back further on the lawn just to take all the sights in a rest my feet. "The crowd lifted him up and bounced him to the rowdy front and then his chair followed his seconds after" Swam relayed.  I was bummed that I didn't get photos, but it may have been even cooler having my friends relay the awesome story in excited voices.

For as irritating as people and life can be, we all thrive off of those rare moments of humanity be truly awesome and accepting.

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