Riot Fest & Carnival 2012 Chicago
FRIDAY OPENING NIGHT - OFFSPRING
The Offspring, Neon Trees, Pegboy, Dead Sara
2135 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL, 60647
This event is all ages
Although they achieved commercial fortune in the mid-90s, The Offspring had been a staple of the southern Californian punk community since 1984. Bryan "Dexter" Holland (vocals/guitar) and Greg Kriesel (bass) announced their intention to form a band at a party where they heard TSOL's Change Today for the first time. Kriesel then joined Manic Subsidal, with former Clowns Of Death guitarist Holland, plus Doug Thompson (vocals) and Jim Benton (drums). When Thompson was forced out, Holland took over vocals, while Benton was replaced by Clowns Of Death drummer James Lilja. A third Clowns Of Death member, Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman (guitar), joined later. Manic Subsidal was renamed the Offspring in 1985. Shows supporting artists such as Econo Christ and Isocraces followed, at an average of one performance every two months. Their debut single, "I'll Be Waiting," was released on their own Black Records. However, by 1987 Lilja was losing interest in the band, and was replaced for a Las Vegas show by Ron Welty. He joined them permanently in July 1987, ironically during an Offspring show supported by FQX, whom he had now abandoned. A demo was recorded in 1988 and touted around punk labels, but Offspring were initially forced to gain recognition by advertising in the classifieds of underground magazines Flipside and Maximum Rock 'n' Roll. These songs were lifted and placed on compilation cassettes and albums, spreading the band's name in the process. By March 1989 they were ready to record their debut studio album, recruiting Dead Kennedys, TSOL and Iggy Pop veteran Thom Wilson. Via a contract with Nemesis Records the world was at last able to hear the Offspring's unique cross-matching of hardcore with Middle Eastern guitar from chief songwriter Holland. A six-week national tour followed, though Noodles was stabbed during their Hollywood anti-nuclear benefit.
With 32 million records sold around the world The Offspring delivered Splinter. The album was recorded in L.A. and Atlanta, produced by Brendan O'Brien (who was behind the boards for 2001's Conspiracy Of One). "After seven albums, it takes some effort not to just rest on your laurels," says Dexter about making the record, whose genesis can be traced back to demos recorded in the band's D-13 studios in his hometown of Huntington Beach, CA. "I listened to some of our older stuff, and tried to pick out what the charm of it was, without repeating myself. I feel good about this record. We've mixed things up a bit." Marking out that new turf are songs like the first single, "Hit That," with its Funkadelic-meets-DEVO keyboard riff from old band pal Ronnie King (Tupac Shakur, NOFX, Snoop Dogg, Pennywise). The track effortlessly keeps the band's characteristic feel for potent hook-filled melodies and anthem-like choruses, recounting the tale of a family broken up by sexual infidelity and gamesmanship. Other stylistic departures include the jaunty, horn-laced rude boy reggae/ska and DJ scratching of the self-explanatory "The Worst Hangover Ever" ("It hurts so bad that I'm never gonna drink again? At least not 'til next weekend") and the '30s-style Eddie Cantor/Al Jolson falsetto croon of Dexter on the album-closing anomaly, "When You're In Prison," which suggest not turning your back or bending over for a bar of soap. "The great thing about being in a band is you're always learning something new," says Dexter. "This was our second time recording with Brendan, and it was that much better because we knew what to expect from him and he knew what he was going to get out of us." "We're a lot more comfortable in the studio," echoes Noodles. "The people we've worked with, from Thom Wilson and Dave Jerden to Brendan, have taught us so much. And we've tried to absorb as much of that as our tiny brains could hold. The more we do this, the more we realize, this isn't rocket science, brain surgery or U.N. negotiations-although sometimes it may feel like it when we argue. But it was no problem getting the right energy level. We tried to make it sound even better." "We always try to throw in some new sounds or mix things up a little bit," said Greg K. "And then there are the more straightforward, traditional rock and punk songs." Splinter-a name the band chose only after rejecting first choice Chinese Democracy, the ill-fated title Guns N Roses' Axl Rose wanted for his album-stresses the different directions individual members of the band set out to achieve. The disc boasts some of the group's signature high energy rock on the apocalyptic, doomsday-laden "The Noose," the rush of "Long Way Home," the introspective dirge of "Race Against Myself" and the pure punk thrash of "Da Hui," the group's tribute to the original native Hawaiian surf brotherhood on the North Shore of Oahu. Dexter and Noodles, surfers themselves, went to the Island to shoot a video riding the waves with Da Hui, which is included on Splinter's enhanced-CD. "A friend of mine played it for those guys, and they liked it," says Holland. "Because it basically says they're tough. And you don't mess with 'em." Dexter's lyrics are at once dark-laced and bitterly humorous. He contemplates imminent doom and self-destruction ("The Noose," "Lighting Rod"), commitment ("Long Way Home"), paranoia ("Race Against Myself"), alienation ("(Can't Get My) Head Around You"), empowerment ("Never Gonna Find Me") and even sexual humiliation (in the Buddy Holly acoustic rave-up "Spare Me the Details"). "There's a kind of black humor, but some it is tongue-in-cheek and lighthearted, too," he laughs. "You need balance in a record. You don't want to be too depressing." As for his politics, Holland insists: "It's very easy to be right and left at the same time. It's not a spectrum; it's rather a circle. On the one hand, we're saying ultimate freedom; on the other, ultimate responsibility. But they kinda go hand-in-hand." Having sold more than 32 million albums worldwide, one would wonder what continues to drive The Offspring. After many decades as a punk-rock band that has done things its way, even as it was among the first indie groups to graduate to a major label, Dexter has the desire to pass the torch to the next generation of fans, just as he grabbed the torch from idols like TSOL, the Adolescents, Social Distortion, Bad Religion. "We're just happy to be at the party," says Dexter, who follows his original principle of empowering another generation of young people trying to find their identity in a conformist world. "I know younger kids relate to what we're doing. We're pretty much the same as we ever were. When I was young, I couldn't imagine myself working at a desk 9 to 5 with a suit and tie. I knew there was something better, something that would make me happy and this is better than even I could've imagined."
"There's such pressure on, as you get older, as to whether you should be playing in a rock band anymore. I'm thinking maybe we can do this for a few more years and that's what I said a few years ago. I feel lucky we're on the radar at all. We've had quite a long run. I want to keep it going."
"I wanna shake up your system/I wanna rattle your bones/I wanna take you to the stars/And then I'll leave you alone." "Farther Down"
Like their name, Neon Trees are a combination of slick pop hooks and sturdy organic rock, both melodic and hard-hitting, their anthems of adolescent angst, longing, love lost and found, delivered with the kind of heart-on-the-sleeve passion that only comes from hard work and commitment.
Their Mercury Records debut, Habits, produced by friend, singer/guitarist Tim Pagnotta, is a refreshing blast of timeless rock energy and spirit that wouldn't sound out of place at any point from '60s garage-rock to 2010 dance rock, with the first single, "Animal," taking off from a round of weaving, angular guitars into a song equally at home in the arena as on the dance floor, a paean to sexual longing in which singer/front man Tyler Glenn wails, "Take a bite of my heart tonight.," and you have no reason to doubt his sincerity.
Something of a Chicago punk supergroup, Pegboy carried the torch for the city's classic post-hardcore sound into the '90s, albeit with a more straightforward, melodic approach. Founder and guitarist John Haggerty had been in the seminal Naked Raygun, while his brother, drummer Joe Haggerty, had played with Bloodsport and a later version of the Effigies. Vocalist Larry Damore and charter bassist Steve Saylors had both been in the Bhopal Stiffs, and teamed up with the Haggerty brothers in 1990, when all of their respective bands had given up the ghost (or were about to). Signing to Touch & Go subsidiary Quarterstick, Pegboy debuted that same year with the Three Chord Monte EP, then followed it in 1991 with their first full-length album, Strong Reaction. Later paired on a CD reissue, these two records bridged '90s punk-pop and seminal proto-alternative punkers like Hsker D, Mission of Burma, and the aforementioned Naked Raygun. Following a tour with Social Distortion, Saylors left the band, owing to a new, less flexible day job. Chicago legend Steve Albini filled in for him on the 1993 EP Fore, after which the group settled on a permanent replacement in Pierre Kezdy, another ex-Naked Raygun member who'd started his career in another early Chicago punk outfit, Strike Under (his brother John also fronted the Effigies). Kezdy debuted on the 1994 album Earwig, which was followed by a split single with Kepone. Falling silent for a couple of years, Pegboy returned in 1997 with their third album, the Albini-engineered Cha Cha Damore. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide Written by Steve Huey
Music history is rich with rock bands fronted by dynamic duos. Looking to carry on this yin and yang tradition are two talented young women, singer Emily Armstrong and guitarist Siouxsie Medley, who front Los Angeles' Dead Sara -- an electrifying four-piece rock band whose supercharged music is propelled by Medley's exhilarating, monster guitar riffs and Armstrong's powerful, wailing vocals. The two musicians are a study in contrast onstage: Medley remains rooted in place -- a solid, steady anchor for Armstrong's almost unhinged performance style. A skilled vocal stylist who can handle blues, soul, and folk-rock with equal aplomb, Armstrong can unleash a guttural howl one minute and trill as pretty as a songbird the next. (When asked by the Wall Street Journal recently which female rock singers she admired, legendary Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick namechecked Armstrong, citing her "strong, urgent sound.") Dead Sara, which also includes bassist Chris Null and drummer Sean Friday, has attracted major buzz for the ferocious spectacle of its high-octane live performances. Of a January show at The Troubadour, L.A.'s indie-rock tastemaker website Picksysticks.com raved: "You almost forgot you were watching a rock show in the 450-capacity Troubadour and not in a venue like Staples Center that holds thousands when Dead Sara launched into their soon-to-be mega hit 'Weatherman.'" OC Weekly has praised the band for its "blazing, impassioned classic rock, punk/indie jams, catchy guitar melodies, and songs about not backing down," while Buzzbands.la noted that Dead Sara's "strain of primal rock is loud enough to awaken the ghosts in both the indie and metal underworlds, and maybe even get them to dance a bit."Having spent much of last year in the studio, Dead Sara are gearing up to unleash the fruits of their labors with a three-song digital release, due February 7th and featuring the explosive first single "Weatherman," emotionally resonant ballad "Sorry For It All," and an exclusive acoustic version of "Test My Patience." Their highly anticipated self-titled debut album is slated to be released on April 10th via the band's own label, Pocket Kid Records through Fontana/Universal. Produced by Noah Shain, the music veers effortlessly from melodic, soaring tunes such as "We Are What You Say" and "Whispers & Ashes," to bruised, power ballads like "Dear Love" and "Face to Face," to fierce, blaring tracks "Timed Blues," "Test My Patience," and "Weatherman." "That diversity is what's honest and real to us," Medley says. "We love classic rock, blues, folk, metal, punk, gospel, all of it, so we didn't want to put restrictions on ourselves genre-wise. We just knew we wanted the music to sound really raw and primal, even a bit unsettling." Lyrically, many of Dead Sara's songs are survival anthems informed by their struggle to stay true to their vision of being a powerful, uncompromising female-fronted rock band. "It was difficult to deal with people's ideas about what we should be doing," Armstrong says. "I ended up shutting myself off from everyone and feeling really crushed. I didn't really come out of it until some of my close friends and fans of the band expressed concern, saying 'What the hell are you doing? You can't give up.'"Good thing Dead Sara kept at it. "Weatherman" is poised to sink its teeth into Modern Rock and Active Rock radio on February 14th and has already scored early adds from WCCC FM in Hartford, CT, (where it is the No. 2 most requested song) and 99x FM in Atlanta. In addition, look for Dead Sara as a featured artist on the Vans Warped Tour 2012, which kicks off June 16th in Salt Lake City.
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- FRIDAY OPENING NIGHT AT CONGRESS THEATER
- Limited Number of Individual Tickets Available
- Open to 3-Day Pass Holders
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The Congress Theater
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