Check It Out: We Decided To Give Made Up Awards To The Bands We Saw At Riot Fest Denver


Home to some of the biggest punk, metal, alternative and hip-hop artists of our generation, Riot Fest has quickly become one of the bigger and more sought-out music festivals over the past few years. Boasting an impressive line up with acts like NOFX, Bad Religion, Nas, Deftones, Underoath, Tyler The Creator, Descendents, Glassjaw and Jane’s Addiction – oh, and not to mention, reunion sets from Thursday and the original Misfits – this year was an experience we definitely couldn’t miss out on. 

However, in lieu of making the trip to the festival’s home date in Chicago later this month, we decided to pay a visit to the side show located in the weed capitol of the United States: Denver, Colorado (because it was closer…not because of the whole weed being legal thing, promise).

Now before we bore you with your typical 2,000-word concert review meticulously describing each and every artist we saw including the dreaded-out hippies in attendance with their non-stop hacky sack games, we wanted to try something different – something a little more entertaining. And since there’s nothing more entertaining than award shows (unless you’re the MTV Music Awards), we decided to create and give out awards to all the artists we saw at Riot Fest this year. If you like the idea, great! If you don’t, we really don’t care.

Let’s begin!

Skunkiest Set:


Depending on whether you’re a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty kind of person (and whether or not you smoke marijuana), you probably have different ideas on how this award will go. If you’re a half-empty kind of person, you probably assume this award is going out to the worst smelling collection of on-lookers and band members alike. Instead, we chose to keep things positive and give the award to the dankest smelling set we could sniff out (and “observe” from a far). 

Honestly, again, being that we were in Denver aka Hippy Town USA, this award winner should come as no surprise. Celebrating almost forty years of one of his father’s biggest releases, Julian Marley helped ignite the biggest pot smoking sesh we saw all weekend ripping into Bob Marley’s 1977 classic Exodus. Complete with Bob-like dance moves and vocals, if you closed your eyes just right (or, like most of the audience members, were under the influence) you could have sworn it was the real Bob Marley performing.         

Best Dressed:

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For most men, a skirt and fishnet stockings is a pretty tough look to pull off. Fat Mike on the other hand isn’t like most men. Whether he’s repping his usual red dress or something else a little more revealing, the longtime frontman is never afraid to show off and strut his stuff. For that reason, and since he admitted it helps him “feel like a punk rocker again,” we are backing the freedom to wear whatever whenever by awarding Mr. Burkett the Best Dressed Award from Riot Fest Denver.

Best Reunion Set:


Second Best Reunion Set:

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Not too sure what we were going to get ourselves into revisiting the mid-2000′s with Geoff Rickly and company, Thursday’s performance at Riot Fest was not only nostalgic but absolutely breathtaking (and that’s not just because of Denver’s high altitude). Playing a mixture of heavy, slow and all-around emotional tracks from their full six-album discography, Thursday helped re-remind fans just how much of a hole they left in 2013 after calling it quits. 

Since seeing the New Jersey crew back in action last weekend, we can confirm that this reunion was not only something that needed to happen, but it’s certainly something that needs to continue throughout the rest of our lifetime. Please don’t leave us again Thursday!   

Emerging Artist You’re Gonna Be Completely Obsessed With Very Soon:

Where do we even start here? We have practically been shouting from the rooftops for months about Atlanta, Georgia’s Microwave. They have written songs to cry to, songs to jam to, songs to dance to and songs to scream to. The SideOneDummy outfit is essentially everything you want in a band and are also able to translate the feelings and emotions you’ll come to love in a live setting – which isn’t always easy. At the end of the day, Microwave is easily your next favorite band and they are continuing to prove that every time they take the stage, just like the one they destroyed at Riot Fest Denver.     

Best International Set:

It’s not every day you hear the lyrics “A pussy is a piece of skin wrapped in a pocket” and “Hell fuck yeah!” repeated back to you at full force while two grown men majestically and emphatically whip their silky-smooth hair at speeds most metalheads would envy. For that reason, Australia’s Violent Soho and their bigger-than-life alt-rock sound is taking home the Best International Set award from Riot Fest Denver. Sorry, Billy Talent. 

Best Guitar Solo:

While Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro is both a guitar and ink master, unfortunately for him, he and his iconic Ritual De Lo Habitual craft work (which was played in full this past weekend) will not be taking home an award today. Instead, we’re giving this one to a band with almost more guitar players than there are actual band members. Yep that’s right, showcasing four shred-tastic six-stringers, Nashville’s Diarrhea Planet is hands down every axe player’s wet dream come true. And for that, they are taking home the highly coveted Best Guitar Solo award for their eye-popping work on the Nicole Hoffman Stage. Now the question is, which of the four players do we give the award to?      

The Solar Eclipse Award Presented By Flaming Hot Funyuns: 

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When it comes to Glassjaw, honestly, they can win any and every award ever created. Best vocalist? Yep. Best groove? Yep. Coolest fucking band on the planet? Yep. Singer that looks most like our pal Micheal? Uh, yep. See, Glassjaw is just the best. And since they were so sensational this past weekend and you never quite know when you’ll see them perform again, they are officially receiving the first-ever Solar Eclipse Award Presented By Flaming Hot Funyuns – ‘cause really, we all know any time you come across that salty delicious snack (as well as the opportunity to watch a rare solar eclipse), you’re taking full advantage. Glassjaw for president.          

Sexiest Set:

With a decent amount of sensuous acts playing Riot Fest Denver this past weekend, the award for Sexiest Set could have easily gone to a handful of different artists. Sleigh Bells or Juliette Lewis, for example, would have definitely made for a prefect recipient. However, after watching this particular band play and hearing multiple fans (both men and women) uncontrollably shout “Show us your dick,” we knew exactly where this award would end up.

Out of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, the boys in Pepper are no stranger to sexy – we mean, you’ve heard “Give It Up” and “Fuck Around” right? Built with surfer beach bods and songs steaming with sexual innuendos, Pepper definitely had Denver feeling all different kinds of hot – even with their grandma watching side stage