If you’re following along, you know that this weekend is Riot Fest in Chicago. I, as stated before, am not there, but if you are, perhaps you should give this a heads-up.
See, being in my 30s, and being that I was to be in a great city, I wanted to make sure I had time to spend in the city, with my friend, or both during the trip, instead of locking myself in Humboldt Park for 12 hours, eating overpriced fairground food, sitting in mud, and other things old folks don’t dig. As such, I went through the “bottom twenty” so to speak, or the bands which were listed lowest on the list of who was going to be playing. My logic, in lieu of a full schedule, was to figure out, well, if I don’t like any of these bands, I don’t have to get in early! I can sleep in, get a wonut for breakfast, maybe finally explore the metal-burgers of Kuma’s for lunch, and then have a much more manageable 6-8 hours in the fray. This seemed ideal. Of course, the final schedules weren’t created exactly in that manner, and of course all three days I found a band I was interested in low-ish on the list. I figured I’d just make sacrifices. It’s not like these were bands I knew much about. I could play it by ear day by day knowing that, despite these rare sore thumbs, the majority of the early going was going to be music I didn’t really get into.
Riot Fest also had a feature allowing people to make their “custom” schedule, though, which was again meaningless since no one knew who was playing when, but was interesting because you could see how many people prioritized each band. When I went through, Weezer had the most fans interested, which is sort of sad all things considered. There were, however, a couple bands with one person who was pre-emptively signed on. This seemed sad in its own right: did no one know this band? Did no one want to take a chance? In at least one case, I found this justified. In the case of Team Spirit, less so.
By this point, of course, Team Spirit surely has more people looking forward to them when they play this afternoon. Still, if you’re on the fairgrounds and need a band to see, they might be worth the stop. Firstly, they are no worse than any other happy-go-lucky hipster group of the last 3 years. If you like the clap-riddled, group-shouted, beach-bum sound of modern teen-indie, you should love this, because they meld it with some actual guitar riffs. There is a rock sensibility, not a caravan-of-hippies-with-tambourines one, but it still hits all the “right” notes. That’s the second thing, too: spin “MRDR It’s OK” (a song title that looks like it came from a particularly bad YouTube comment). You might note that it sounds primed to be the feel-good hit of the summer. That’s because it should be, although it’s missed its target three summers in a row now. It’s because it is totally keyed into the feel of this sort of music, but still connects with a more “composed” and crunchy sound that makes it, frankly, far more listenable than its ilk.
Up here in New England, though, it is definitely too late for a hit to define our summer. The cool of autumn is here with a vengeance, and we might get some more warm days, but it will be the exception for sure. I have no doubt that Chicago is even brisker this weekend. So maybe a song that sounds like Cobra Kai challenging you to a volleyball match is exactly what you need to keep your mind on the fading summer. Whatever the case, be sure to keep it in your back pocket to unleash on your favorite cookouts and beach runs come June.
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