For those who were able to wake up, grab a brush and put on a little makeup, then make it to the National Western Complex in Denver, Colo. on Friday for the first day of Riot Fest; they were offered a wide array of diverse musical acts. Never was this more evident than with the night’s headliner; as the eclectic System of a Down closed out the day’s festivities.
It marked the first time since 2011 that System of a Down had graced a stage in Colorado. The crowd didn’t seem to “Mind” that the long layoff was over, as they cheered ferociously as the band frantically bounced around the stage.
The band’s energy was matched by the audience, who fought the fast approaching midnight hour. Not to be defeated, System of a Down countered with hit after hit, running through “Aerials,” “B.Y.O.B.,” “Hypnotize” and “Chop Suey.”
They gave some props to Ice Cube, they also covered Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again,” with guitarist Daron Malakian briefly taking over lead vocals, as he did sporadically throughout the set. Such was again the case as he went solo to perform a ballad-esque medley of the intro to “Cigaro,” a cover of David Bowie’s “China Girl” and a musical diatribe about how awesome Iggy Pop is.
Much to delight of longtime fans, the System’s setlist largely focused on their first two albums (System of a Down and Toxicity). The band was energetic, funny and entertaining.
That being said, the set was not without its flaws. System of a Down cut offer their classic jam “Suite Pee” right before the song got to its best part (come on guys…everyone needs a mother); instead transitioning to the “Prison Song.” Malakian also performed a strange impromptu song about circle pits that briefly visited “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” during the middle of “Toxicity.” At other points, the struggled to recreate the depth of some songs (such as “Chop Suey”) live. Bassist Shavo Odadjian also wore an Oakland Raiders jersey. Not cool.
Nevertheless, they played hard, they played fast and they played a set that was more than worth watching. Concluding with “Sugar,” they capped off a great first night of the three-day festival.
- Deer Dance
- Soldier Side
- Never Let Me Down Again (Originally by Depeche Mode)
- Chop Suey
- Lonely Day
- Lost in Hollywood
- Suite Pee
- Prison Song