While it’s rare, it isn’t totally unheard of for an artist to perform twice during Riot Fest weekend. Last year saw Frank Iero play with L.S. Dunes in their live debut ahead of My Chemical Romance’s headlining set, and Ben Gibbard will perform a pair of classic albums with both Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service on Saturday of Riot Fest 2023.
But, Walter Schreifels is about to raise the bar for everyone by performing with three of his bands: Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand and Rival Schools. Even more impressive? Each set will be a special album play!
So whether you’re a lifelong fan of all three projects or just discovering them for the first time, we’re gonna give you a crash course in these enormously influential groups.
To kick things off on Friday, Quicksand will be performing 1993’s Slip in its entirety. Propelled by the lead single “Fazer,” it’s one of the most critically acclaimed post-hardcore records of its era. Walter Schreifels was listening to politically-minded rap groups like Public Enemy and Boogie Down Productions and thought they were just as heavy as bands like Slayer, Soundgarden or Cro-Mags. As Schreifels told journalist Jon Wiederhorn, “Aggressive music is great, but we want to make songs that have a point as well.”
By combining this love of hip-hop with the influence of tour-mates like Helmet and Fugazi, the band created a bold, groove-based hard rock that still delivered the intensity you’d expect from a bunch of punk lifers.
On Saturday, he’ll be leading Rival Schools through a full-album performance of their 2001 debut, United by Fate. While the band keeps one foot firmly in the world of hardcore, Schreifels’ writing took a giant leap forward with this record. Highlights like “Used for Glue,” “Travel by Telephone” and “Undercovers On” are still heavy as hell, but there’s a tunefulness and knack for hooks that takes these songs to the next level.
Similar to how New York’s hip-hop scene influenced Quicksand, Schreifels looked beyond his own scene for inspiration during the writing and recording of this album. “There are moments of reaching for things, or trying to interpret and regurgitate lots of styles and genres, while making them all our own,” he told Stereogum. “It took moments of exploration like that to keep it interesting.”
He’ll cap things off on Sunday with the mighty Gorilla Biscuits, performing their 1989 masterpiece Start Today. The album, which opens with a literal fanfare, is an uplifting explosion of positive energy that made a lasting impression on Fall Out Boy, Silverstein, Steve Aoki and scores of other artists across different genres and generations. In its brisk 25 minute runtime, Start Today speaks volumes.
You can really tell that Schreifels was a fan of ‘80s alternative bands like R.E.M., The Smiths and U2 that were just beginning to cross over and play to huge audiences. With this album, he was writing the kind of songs that were designed to make an emotional impact with his listeners instead of just getting them to mosh.
Riot Fest 2023 Tickets + Lineup
Ready for all three of Walter Schreifels’ sets this year? Listen to the playlist below for samples of each band and get your 3-day ticket while they last!
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