August 6th, 2020


Last week I celebrated 10 years on air here at CD102.5  I’ve been doing some reflecting on my decade here at the Alternative Station, and I figured the next couple weeks I’d look back on some favorite memories, shows, and moments!  This week I’m going to count down my 10 favorite Festival sets I’ve attended.   For the record, after shows count as part of the festival going experience, because I said so.

10.  METALLICA (ROCK ON THE RANGE 2017): Coming at the tail end of what could loosely be described as a….frustrating festival experience regarding the weather, all was forgiven when the metal giants took the stage.  Coming off their best album in 20 years, they roared for two and a half hours, well past curfew, launching hit after hit, with even a few deep gems thrown in (never a bad day when you get to see “Whiplash” live).  Throw in some floor passes and good times were had by allL.

9. VIOLENT FEMMES (RIOT FEST 2013): The acoustic punk veterans calmly took the stage and went immediately into “Blister In the Sun.” Then they immediately followed up with “Kiss Off.”  Then followed it with “Please Do Not Go.”  That’s right, with zero advance notice or warning; they played their entire legendary self-titled debut record.  An hour long sing-along with thousands of fans followed, for an unforgettable set

8. GARY CLARK JR (LOLLAPALOOZA AFTERSHOW 2019, METRO): Simply 2 and a half hours of Texas blues filtered through Gary’s 2010s reimaging.  Just fun.

7.  THE REPLACEMENTS (RIOT FEST 2013): Talk about bucket lists.  The one reunion that everyone thought would NEVER happen took place.  It was wild.  It was chaotic (Set highlight: Paul Westerberg picking up the stage clock and smashing it to pieces).  In true Replacements fashion, it was kinda shitty sometimes (see Paul completely forgetting the words to “Androgynous”).  Unforgettable.  Also, bonus points for me being able to brag to Brian Phillips that I was there and he wasn't.  I totally never rub that in ever.

6.  SOUNDGARDEN (LOLLAPALOOZA 2010): I’m generally not the type to “camp” at a stage all day (unless that stage is packed with bands), but I made damn sure I got close for this set. The Seattle grunge heroes reunited and I was fifth row.  Simply put one of the heaviest, loudest shows I’ve ever seen (with special appearance by legendary pitcher Randy Johnson photographing the whole thing).  All the mandatory hits were performed, but they didn’t skimp on the deep cuts.  A absolutely scorching rendition of “Slaves & Bulldozers” ringed through my ears the entire drive home.

5.  AGAINST ME (RIOT FEST 2019): I’ve seen Laura Jane Grace and co put on some scorching sets (a Riot Fest 2013 set in pouring rain comes to mind) so when one puts the rest to shame that’s saying something.  How do you do that?  By playing not one but TWO full albums, debut Reinventing Axl Rose and one of my favorite albums of the decade Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

4  LCD SOUNDSYSTEM (LOLLAPALOOZA 2016): The moment the beat dropped on “Dance Yrself Clean” and the Lollapalooza crowd went absolutely insane was a top five Lollapalooza moment ever for me.  A truly spectacular set.

3.  THE PRODIGY (RIOT FEST 2015): One of only 2 US sets the UK dance rock legends would play between Coachella 2011, and Keith Flint’s passing eight years later, I’ve never danced this hard in my entire life.  Bringing a dirty, grungy, rave to the punk rock kids, they came and kicked everyone’s asses.

2.  THE CURE (RIOT FEST 2014): The longest set in the history of my favorite festival, Robert Smith and co took the stage for two and a half hours and DIDN’T EVEN FINISH THEIR SET (their encore was cut off due to curfew). Nearly 30 classics all performed marvelously

1.  FOO FIGHTERS (LOLLAPALOOZA 2017 AFTERSHOW, METRO):  In contention for the best show I’ve ever seen in my life, the Foo Fighters “Secret Show” (it was announced the day before) after Lollapalooza 2017 had everything one could want.  In front of barely 1000 fans, Grohl and co. strode on stage at 11:07pm, announced “Our goal is to make this the longest show of our career,” and didn’t leave the stage until 2:30am.  Opening with arguably my favorite Foo’s deep cut “Aurora,” a surprise appearance from Perry Farrell for a jam of “Mountain Song,” seemingly every Foo Fighters hit, and more than a handful of covers, this show ruled.