Local emo trio Pet Symmetry is one of the newest bands at Riot Fest (the group has only officially released a couple seven-inches, and both came out in May), but the band earned its spot partially by having a hell of a pedigree; its members are veterans of the flourishing underground emo scene and play in standout acts such as Into It. Over It., Their/They’re/There, Dowsing, Kittyhawk, and the Please & Thank Yous. Pet Symmetry’s songs are impressive too—the band eschews the complicated and chaotic riffs that dominate fourth-wave emo for tight, breezy jams bolstered with power-pop hooks and Evan Thomas Weiss’s naturally sweet voice. —Leor Galil
I’ll be looking to NYC-based Japanese punk trio Peelander-Z to give me a late-fest energy boost. Everything about the band—its bratty, sugar-high anthems about ninja high schools and tacos, its outer=space superhero shtick, its Power Rangers-type costumes, each in a single color to match stage names such as “Peelander Yellow”—is geared toward its goofy, peppy performances. The members of Peelander-Z battle a guitar-squid monster, pass their instruments to concertgoers, and lead limbo dances, usually without missing a beat. On the new Metalander-Z (Chicken Ranch) Peelander-Z does a great job of reproducing the silliness of its live show through the derided sounds of hair metal. —Leor Galil
Rocket From the Crypt
San Diego’s Rocket From the Crypt, not to be confused with Cleveland’s Rocket From the Tombs, lit up the indie-rock sky in the 90s with their ferocity, ambition, and showmanship. Front man John “Speedo” Reis (also of Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, and Night Marchers as well as the great “Swami” of Swami Records fame) once said, after RFTC reunited two years ago to play on the weird children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba! (where he plays a recurring Swami character), that he wouldn’t reunite the band again for anyone but children. Good thing for us grown-ups that musicians can never, ever be trusted when they say things like that. If you missed their brilliant, anthemic garage-soul classics Scream, Dracula, Scream! (1995) and Group Sounds (2001), catch up now and know what a treat you’re in for. —Monica Kendrick
When Suicidal Tendencies’ Mike Muir asks “Can someone please give me a Diet Pepsi?” just over a minute into “Shake It Out,” the opening track on 13—the LA skate-thrash heroes’ first album of new material in, yes, 13 years—it’s hard not to smile. A wink at the band’s zany 1983 classic “Institutionalized,” the line shows that the band’s front man and only remaining original member isn’t shy about playing on Suicidal’s outlandish strengths to the point of caricature, including rhyming enough words with “psycho” to make Noah Webster turn in his grave. And though silliness and irony are now more than half the show, the fact that the band spawned a west-coast crossover-metal skate culture of bandannas and flip-billed caps—and is “still cyco after all these years”—counts for more than just something. —Kevin Warwick
Riot Fest’s lineup is packed with nostalgia, so you might be forgiven for thinking Brand New still plays the kind of scrappy, vicious mixture of pop-punk and emo it made on its popular 2001 debut, Your Favorite Weapon. I, however, pity those who’ve since deliberately passed on the Long Island band; Brand New has taken its cathartic sound in a dark, transgressive direction, and the group’s two most recent albums, 2006’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me and 2009’s Daisy (Interscope), resemble grunge and slowcore more than pop-punk or third-wave emo. Brand New unspools its bleakness in atmospheric ballads (“Jesus”) and surging, bile-splattered rippers (“Gasoline,” “Not the Sun”) that should hammer festival attendees with an itch for aggressive anthems. —Leor Galil
When AFI made the deliberate move to thicken their coats of eye shadow and kneel at the altar of Danzig for their breakout, 1999’s Black Sails in the Sunset, it was the first step in the band becoming a phenomenon. Black Sails downshifted several gears, from the black-hearted and raw hardcore punk of ’97’s Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes to a modern-day doom-and-gloom goth-rock opera. During the process, front man Davey Havok morphed into an androgynous enigma, still hardcore when the band gets down to brass tacks but also able to conduct an overblown chorus of falsetto whoa-whoas when the mood hits. And it wasn’t long before devil-locked fanboys—obsessed as much with Havok’s complexion as his lyrics—started kneeling at his altar. The major-label debut Sing the Sorrow (2003) will likely remain AFI’s pinnacle, able to blend dark, dramatic punk with radio-ready hooks without ever getting chintzy (“Girl’s Not Grey” being a prime example). A recent pair of singles released in anticipation of the upcoming Burials sits somewhere between banal hard rock and AFI trying their damnedest to sound like AFI. —Kevin Warwick
The Pixies without Kim Deal is like the Beatles without Paul McCartney. But hey, you still get John, George, and David Lovering (fuck Ringo). Muffs lead singer and guitarist Kim Shattuck replaces Deal, and I admire her guts for filling such enormous shoes, though I’d be fearful of crowd reactions should the band commit to playing “Gigantic.” While Deal’s presence will be missed, it seems pretty hard to screw up her incredibly simple bass lines, so you still get to hear the Pixies’ music, which remains timeless and weird and white and promised to the night with a head that has no room. —Tal Rosenberg
Replacements fans always tended to be rabid, which meant they were also forgiving. Few bands so influential and adored were as uneven as these Minneapolis jokeholes, who alternately refused to take themselves seriously and engaged in self-sabotage like few before or after. The band’s apex—after it left behind its snotty hardcore roots but before Paul Westerberg started seeing Bruce Springsteen in the mirror—occurred between 1984 and 1987, when it released its three most enduring albums: Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased to Meet Me, the last of which was made without founding lead guitarist Bob Stinson. I can’t be certain that the motivation for this reunion is financial, but it seems as though Westerberg, bassist Tommy Stinson (moonlighting from his gig as a touring member of Guns N’ Roses), and a pair of hired guns aren’t interested in much more than having a good time. The slapdash tone delivered by the recent Songs for Slim (New West), a five-song EP made to help pay the medical expenses of onetime guitarist Slim Dunlap, who suffered a stroke last year, seems consistent with the fact that Westerberg forgot the lyrics to a pair of his most beloved songs (“Androgynous” and “I Will Dare”) during the band’s first reunion show on August 25. The show otherwise drew rave reviews, but nostalgia has a way of clouding one’s vision. —Peter Margasak
Lillingtons, Reaganomics, 11 AM, Beat Kitchen, sold out.
Peter Hook & the Light, 11 PM, Double Door, $25, $22 in advance.
Quicksand, Sun 9/15, 10:30 PM, Cobra Lounge, $25.