The Replacements played Chicago's Riot Fest this past weekend, marking just their second performance in 22 years. Western Promotions founder Heather West, who ran public and press relations for the fest, describes the media onslaught for Paul Westerberg and company as a "mob scene," even though the band announced they wouldn't be doing any press. "They're great guys and they're a lot of fun to work with, but there's been a lot of respectfully passing," West told Billboard. She'll be out in Denver next weekend as the traveling carnival-themed punk rock fest enters its third and final weekend of the year.
Reunion hoopla aside, the Replacements' set could have held its own as arguably the weekend's tightest on songcraft and execution alone. Joined by replacement members (pun intended) Josh Freese (drums) and David Minehan (guitar), Westerberg and original bassist Tommy Stinson, the band's 2013 incarnation proved a high-functioning unit from the set-opening fury of "Takin' A Ride." There was the snottiness ("Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out"), songs not played at last month's premiere reunion gig ("I Don't Know") and the juicy essentials ("Alex Chilton," "Bastards of Young," "Color Me Impressed"). Onstage, the only thing more irreverent than Westerberg's baggy red shorts was a giant light up middle finger. (Full setlist below)