If you’ve been coming to Riot Fest for a while, there’s a decent chance you’ve encountered Bob Nanna at some point. Best known as the guitarist/vocalist in bands like Braid, Hey Mercedes and Lifted Bells, he’s played a pivotal role in the local scene and the evolution of emo over the years. He’s also something of a Riot Fest fixture. One of our favorite memories was the time he hopped onstage to perform with Cap’n Jazz in 2017, their final Chicago performance.
This year, Braid will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Frame & Canvas by performing the classic album in its entirety at 6:00 pm on the Rebel Stage. As if that wasn’t enough, they’ll be doing a special aftershow at Metro with Thursday (performing War All The Time) the following night. (Limited tickets are still available, so get yours while they last!)
Ahead of his jam-packed weekend, we caught up with Bob to talk about his history with Riot Fest, long-gone local venues and his top Metro memories.
Frame & Canvas
- The New Nathan Detroits
- Killing A Camera
- Never Will Come For Us
- First Day Back
- Collect From Clark Kent
- Milwaukee Sky Rocket
- A Dozen Roses
- Urbana’s Too Dark
- Consolation Prizefighter
- Breathe In
- I Keep A Diary
Thursday & Braid @ Metro
Riot Fest late night aftershow
Saturday, September 16
RF: What was the first Riot Fest you attended, as a performer or just hanging out?
It was 2012, the first one in Humboldt Park. I had recently moved a few blocks away so I remember being super excited to just walk to the fest. I vividly remember watching Minus the Bear.
As someone who has seen a lot of bands at Riot Fest over the years, which sets stand out in your memory as the absolute best?
I don’t know if this was the best, but it was the one that I wasn’t expecting. It was Caroline Rose in 2019. It was the one I told the most people about it. It was a blast.
Braid is playing an aftershow with Thursday at Metro, which you’ve said was your favorite venue to play. What makes that room so special?
It helps that I used to go to so many shows there before I actually was able to play it, so I had a good history and such great memories. The sound is amazing onstage and in the house, the people are super cool, and I always just feel at home there.
What are some of your most memorable Metro performances? (Lifted Bells with Motion City Soundtrack has to be up there, right?)
Seeing a show – Jawbreaker & Jawbox in 1995 was one I’ll never forget. As for playing, yes that Lifted Bells show was fun for sure but I’ll say in 1998 when we opened for Less Than Jake and people threw things at us. Memorable maybe not in the best way but unforgettable nonetheless.
Is it safe to assume Braid’s aftershow setlist will be pretty different from the Frame & Canvas set you’re doing at Riot Fest on Friday?
Yes, we’re planning on doing a different set. Not entirely different but a good amount of songs that aren’t on Frame & Canvas.
Speaking of Chicago venues, there’s an incredible video on YouTube of a Braid set at Blue Odom from late 1997. What are some of the best local venues that have been lost to time?
That was a fun show! With Jimmy Eat World, I think. I never played Medusa’s when it was here – too young – but that was such a formative venue for me. Saw Fugazi there on my 15th birthday. And as for ones I’ve played, Fireside Bowl was the greatest venue for all of the small touring bands coming through. On any given week, they’d have 5 shows you’d want to go to. They had a good run.
You just wrapped up a run of solo dates with your fellow Illinoisans in Spitalfield, who are also at Riot Fest this year! How was that tour?
Really fun! I enjoy playing solo before a full band set – makes it maybe a little easier on the ears of the attendees. But yeah, I get to play Braid, Hey Mercedes, covers, whatever feels right, and I can add dramatic pauses that I’m sure are super annoying.
Besides Braid and Spitalfield, who should people check out on this year’s lineup?
Aside from the big headliners, I’m excited to see Origami Angel, Yard Act, Oso Oso, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Riot Fest 2023 Tickets + Lineup
Don’t miss Braid live at Riot Fest 2023, performing a full album play of Frame & Canvas, on Friday, September 15th. That same day, see Foo Fighters, Turnstile and many more.
Haven’t bought your ticket yet?
No worries, here are some buttons to do just that.