June 23, 2009

Edgefest, the highs, lows, and pleasant surprises

So I spent my weekend hanging out with friends and making the long trek up to Downsview Park to take part in 102.1 The Edge's annual celebration of beer, weed and of course alternative rock music. I didn't really have high expectations for the festival, I had come specifically to see three bands: K-OS, Metric, and Beast. Although Alexisonfire, AFI and Billy Talent were the major headliners, I didn't have much interest in them (although my friends are pretty big Billy Talent fans).

We got to Edgefest around 1 pm (we all agreed that we had no desire to see the opening act on the main stage The Arkells). When we finally made it through the doors and security the first band we saw take the stage was The Stills. Although I have always liked the songs "Still in Love" and "I'm With You" their overall performance was lackluster and a bit boring. The majority of their songs sounded quite similar with no distinctive vocals or instrumentals, one song morphed into the next one, and the audience was not that enthused. After The Stills left the main stage we moved towards the side stage to wait for Beast to perform. Unfortunately one of the band mates was not present, causing a delay, and shortening the performance. We were all disappointed that Beast could not play a longer set, however overall they were quite entertaining and kept the audience engaged. Their songs were strong, but due to lack of time, they could not play their single "Mr Hurricane" which everyone in the audience was waiting in anticipation to hear.

K-OS really kicked off the concert for me, and after he took the stage that's when I really started to enjoy myself. His set was fun and unpredictable. He even free-styled on several occasions in between songs. I got really into his set, however I don't think the rest of the audience gave him such a warm reception. The issue with K-OS is that he isn't quite alternative rock and he isn't quite hip-hop either, he is a weird hybrid of several genres. Although K-OS has many supporters and fans like myself, he didn't really fit in to the genre of music the majority of people at Edgefest wanted to hear. If you are going to see K-OS I would probably recommend seeing him in a lower key setting like a club instead of an outdoor rock festival, especially if you actually want to SEE him (I am short...so you get the idea).

Metric finally got the rest of the crowd excited, and they played an awesome set. In my opinion they were the best band of the day, they were fun, edgy and made the crowd wild. I only wish they were given more time to perform, I thought their set should have been longer given the popularity of the band, and the crowd's reception to their music.

After Metric, we decided to explore more bands on the side stage, we listened to Cancer Bats but were not too enthused. They were one of the most popular acts on the side stage, but I think we all agreed that screamo-core was just not our thing. Moneen was also a crowd favorite and my friends seem to like them. They were fun at the time however their music was not that original or memorable. The Waking Eyes were my favorite performers on the side stage other than Beast, they were also the most original bands. I was actually surprised they were not featured on the main stage given the fact they have been around for at least 5 years now and are regularly featured on The Edge.

The majority of people were waiting in anticipation for the last three acts on the main stage: Alexisonfire, AFI and Billy Talent. Alexisonfire gave a decent performance (from a distance...we got hungry). They sounded like they should, angry and angry (they are a screamo band). While they were performing we checked out smaller acts but really couldn't find anything too interesting. Once AFI entered on the main, we knew where our attention should be. I have never been a huge AFI fan, but they were really fun to watch and got the crowd really pumped with their rendition of "Miss Murder."

Billy Talent was really the act everyone was waiting for and I had no idea I would like them so much. With a "LETS GO MUTHERFUKAS!" they invaded our ears with "Devil in a Midnight Mass." The lead singer was rather tipsy and even allowed the audience to baptise him in mud (it was very muddy, my shoes were ruined at the end of the day). People flailed everything at the band from blow up dolls to a rubber chicken (really). Overall a really great performance and a really great day.

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