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There was a time in my life when I dedicated a lot of energy to finding “good” music. I got that thrill when I could say “oh, my favorite band? You probably haven’t heard of them *smugly drinks her watered down rum bucket*” But then Myspace went the way of the dinosaurs and I no longer cared to spend all that time cultivating a playlist that the music snobs of the world wouldn’t look down on. I let the top 40 stations of the world tell me what we are listening to; I gave up ever winning the “country is actually good if you would stop stereotyping it” argument; I listen to my boyband CD’s from middle school; I watch Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution every year because nothing is more fun than trying to drink as much as he sweats. Because music should be FUN, not work.
Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age were headlining two nights of Chicago’s three day music festival and also happen to be two of Boyfriend’s Top-Three Favorite bands (if you are wondering, Tool is the third). So we bought tickets and booked a hotel and I started listening to NIN for the first time in my life. And then immediately started worry.
Why, yes, you do have to agree that you are mature enough to watch this video…Source
We couldn’t check into the hotel until 4, so we took our time getting into the city and getting to the park, figuring we were going mostly for Trent anyway. I never would have survived if we hadn’t gone so late. We wandered around, caught a few bands that I didn’t catch the name of, got the lay of the land (there were five stages), and decided that we would head straight to the Riot Stage and wait for our boys.
You guys, NIN fans are not nice.
They were pushing before it even started. I lost track of Boyfriend for over an hour because he made the mistake of using portajohns instead of pulling it out right where we stood (to be fair, I did not see the crowd doing that this weekend, but have at other fests and was expecting it), and when he finally got one person in between us they would not let him through and I had to let them in front of me (that’s paraphrasing because the number of F-bombs I unleashed are frowned upon even here at TN).
And then Trent started to sing. Everyone took a leap or five closer to the stage and started pushing each other around. And I had a panic attack. I know, over dramatic, but I was genuinely afraid for my life, partially because there was no where to go. We were too close to even see.
We arrived at the park much earlier on Saturday–about 1:30–because we forgot that we aren’t 21 anymore. The heat index was somewhere in the upper 80s/lower 90s, I gave in and wore shorts that day. There was hardly any shade, but the Riot Fest Organizers did set up a few shade tents and there were water filling stations, though the lines looked to be a minimum of 30 minutes each. I do not do well in heat.
Queens of the Stone Age were scheduled for 8:45, so we spent the day bouncing from stage to stage, never staying anywhere for longer than resting our feet for a bit. That is until Peaches, a woman I had heard the name of in school and I knew she had a big Chicago following but had never experienced for myself. And she is an experience.
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My favorite part of Riot Fest, by far was Hellzapoppin, a freak show, and that was in spite of being shoved into a small circus tent with too many other people (the guy in front of me had to leave because he was about to pass out); it had to have been over 100 degrees in that tent, but I couldn’t look away.
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This time, we decided that we would pick a spot in the middle to park our old rears and not move for the headliner. We were geniuses. By the time QotSA started playing, we had inched our way up nearly as far as NIN the night before, but the crowd was so much more relaxed, and it didn’t feel anywhere near as suffocating. Hell, they put on a really good show and I actually enjoyed them, even finding myself singing along.
We knew going into the weekend that it was highly unlikely that we would make it to day three. There were a few bands that we wanted to see, but none enough that were were going to fight the crowds for. And everything hurt.
So we we gave into our aching hips and knees and backs and went on an architecture boat tour instead.
Overall: I am glad I went. But I have no idea if I will be returning…!
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