On its third straight day of raging, Riot Fest wrapped up in the Mile High City on Sunday. Though more punk-oriented than the previous two days, Sunday’s show still offered Denver concertgoers an eclectic array of performances.
The fans were treated to some local offerings early in the day, with The Epilogues and In The Whale being the standouts. The concert ramped it up to another level at 3:30, when the Bouncing Souls took to the Byers General Store Stage to unleash their anthemic punk rock assault.
Across the parking lot, the Violent Femmes started their set as the Bouncing Souls were wrapping up. They treated fans to a spacy set, highlighted by their 1993 song “Gone Daddy Gone”, which was later covered by Gnarles Barkley.
Speaking of covers, the next performer was one of the highlights of the show; as Me First and the Gimme Gimmes provided original takes on a selection of songs that were anything but. The crowd erupted as they blasted through their take on karaoke staples like “I Will Survive”, “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Rocket Man”.
45 minutes later, with the crowd in a frenzied chant of “let’s go Murphys!”, the legendary Dropick Murphys took to the stage. In a whirl of beer-fueled excitement, fans devotionally moshed, singing every word of the Celtic punk anthems such as: “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”, “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya” and “Rose Tattoo”. Fat Mike of NOFX fame also made a cameo during their set, singing his part on “Going Out in Style”.
As it had for much of the evening, rain continued to fall; yet it did not dampen the spirits of concertgoers. The rainy haze was quickly replaced by a haze of smoke, as Sublime With Rome began their set on the Byers Country Feed Stage. Though they have released music with their new singer, Sublime mostly stuck to their classics including:“What I Got”, “Santeria” and “40oz. to Freedom”. They also offered their take on Riot Fest veteran Bad Religion’s “We’re Only Gonna Die for Our Arrogance”, much to the delight of the punk rock patrons in attendance.
After Sublime, the skies began to open even more. Not to be deterred, Rise Against shredded through a fast-paced set. They provided a nice blend of music both new and old, intertwining elements of hardcore punk and anthemic sing-a-long vocals. The highlight of the set was their tribute to The Ramones. They were joined by members of Lagwagon, the Descendents, NOFX and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes; as they shredded through Ramones’ classics “Teenage Lobotomy” and “Commando”.
After Rise Against, concertgoers were presented with a difficult decision: Wu-Tang Clan and the National were playing at the same time. Those that chose the National were treated to trippy visuals, with music that followed suit. For those that chose Wu-Tang Clan, they were treated to a ruckus that included member rapping in unison, infectious beats and plenty of expletives. Regardless of the choice made, they were treated to a memorable set to close out the night.