Um, really? Yeah dude, really. Riot Fest committed itself about 90 percent of the way to being a punk and metal festival reminiscent of Warped Tour’s early days. But while the addition of a finely tuned pop songsmith amongst the rest of the punk, metal and indie rock lot might seem curious to some, let’s all remember that Costello‘s earliest and best work is shrouded in new wave fury and surly, punk rock attitude.
So how were those bluegrass songs? Funny, a-hole. To be fair though, it was hard to predict what exactly fans were in for given Costello’s hefty and sprawling body of work. Within the context of the Riot Fest set up, it was easy to hope and pray for at least a few Attractions-era rockers, and the rock icon delivered mightily. Decked out in a purple pinstripe suit and porkpie hat, Costello took the temperature of the crowd perfectly, loading his hour-long set with tracks from My Aim is True, This Year's Model, and Armed Forces.
Lesson learned: Never rule out a legend.
Unsung hero: Drummer Pete Thomas. The Imposters are an amazing, incredibly tight band, but watching Costello bang out a set full of classics with his early Attractions-cohort behind the kit was enough to give seasoned fans a chill in itself. Watching Thomas effortlessly move and thrash around the kit helped keep the old catalog young and fresh.
Headbanger’s Cut: Can I cop out and just say everything? "Pump it Up," "Less Than Zero," "Radio, Radio," "(What’s Sp Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," and "Watching The Detectives."
Riotous Scale [1-5 fists]: Five big ones, all falling mightily on Fat Mike for talking shit about Costello during NOFX’s (also awesome) set. Love ya Mike, but you can’t do that.