“People, you can change the f—ing world! It’s not f-ing corny. It’s what we f—ing need!” declared 67-year-old Patti Smith, the “Godmother of Punk,” during a raucous performance dedicated to late husband Fred Smith, whose birthday fell on the closing day of Riot Fest.
The punk spirit prevailed for the festival’s 10th edition (and third at Humboldt Park), despite its growing expansion — marked this year by seven stages and more than 100 bands spanning all genres and generations. Kicking off with a triumphant (and bloody) return from thrash metal group GWAR, the rain-battered first day also brought a politically charged panel with Pussy Riot, moderated by former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins. Saturday featured a rowdy set from Wu-Tang Clan, while The Flaming Lips dazzled with giant mushrooms and confetti, even enduring a power outage midset.
On Sunday, headliner The Cure feted its catalog with a career-spanning two-and-a-half-hour show, competing only with Weezer, which indulged the audience with the entirety of its seminal 1996 LP Pinkerton.