Before I delve into the details, here's a photoset of pictures I took. Yes, I snapped some sweet pics of the new Batmobile in addition to every band I saw. I even took a little video of Linkin Park rocking out with "A Place for My Head" Now, on with the recap...
Getting there was pretty slick. At Downsview station an Express bus was waiting for us and it dropped us off right in front of the gate. There was virtually no lineup at 12:45. I brought in a 1.5 litre bottle of water, three bagel sandwiches, some orange juice, a rain poncho, my digital camera and Blackberry. Security gave me no hassles whatsoever.
The first band I wanted to see was USS, but we had a little time before they hit the stage. That meant checking out the new Batmobile and free samples of some chocolate milkshake a small army of attractive young nurses were promoting. I doubt they were certified nurses, but I didn't bother asking to see their credentials.
USS - Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker
I had heard two USS tracks on the radio and I loved them both. You really can't miss "Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole" on the radio, it's been on super high rotation for a while now, and for good reason. It's a great track.
For a 1:30 band, USS were great. It was a fun set that showed a great deal of promise. I'm a sucker for rock bands who utilize a turntable. This goes back to my impressionable years in the late 80s when I was digging the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy and learning that a dj could be a band. Terminator X spoke with his hands, and USS kept the tradition alive while maintaining the necessary hooks and melody. These guys have a bright future.
Attack in Black
I try to like these guys, but it's not happening. Something is missing... my ears hear Simple Plan... it's as if they're missing a certain rawness, or dare I say, edge? Their big radio hit, "Young Leaves", was left on the SLS cutting room floor. They're just not my cup of team.
After Attack in Black, it was lunch time, so we crashed to chow down by the small stage. Creature, a band I had never heard of, featured two female vocalists and a funky Blondie-like sound from the late 70s and early 80s. It was funky fun with plenty of cowbell.
Ashes Divide sound like Joy Division, The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode and those bands from the 80s. Like Attack in Black, they didn't grab me. They weren't my cup of tea, either.
The Bravery delivered a fantastic set as the sky opened up and I threw on my rain poncho. For most of this set it rained hard and that just seemed to add to the ambiance. I'd say these guys are going to be big, but they've already got the buzz, and they deserve it. I still think "Believe" sounds too much like "Plateau", but that's okay.
After The Bravery I joined the lines for the port-o-potty and quickly realized there weren't enough port-o-pottys supplied to meet the demand. I waited in line for over half an hour and missed Sam's first song. He delivered a typical Sam Roberts set which I happen to like, but he does like the lengthy jam songs. That's fine when you're headlining and have 2+ hours, but Sammy was on the clock.
Stone Temple Pilots
Without STP on the bill, I wouldn't have bought a ticket. Core was (and is) one of my favourite albums, and I spun the crap out of Purple, so seeing Scott for a third time sounded awfully appealing. My sked said STP was to hit the stage at 6:55. By 7:30, there was still no sign of them. There was also no 102.1 personality on the stage to introduce the band or explain the delay or reassure us they were coming up soon. Thank goodness I had my Blackberry to visit Scott Weiland's Wikipedia page to ensure he wasn't locked up or deceased.
Once they took the stage, I thought they started off a little shakier than usual, but as the set progressed Scott found his voice. They played just about every single they'd ever released and gave us a full show despite hitting the stage almost an hour late. For "Plush", Scott walked right by us and performed next to the light stand. They closed with "Dead and Bloated". It was a great show.
I have every Linkin Park album in my collection and I nominate just about every single they release for SLS consideration, but I never really considered myself a big Linkin Park fan. I've always felt a little guilty about enjoying their rock/rap hybrid, but damn they're good live. They started with a soft touch, about three stripped down songs before they started to kick out the jams, but then they never let up. Like STP, it was hit after hit after hit. You have to see these guys live to appreciate how many hits they have in their catalogue.
After Linkin Park, my feet were aching, but we had a pretty lengthy walk ahead of us. We decided it would be better to haul our asses to Downsview station rather then wait for one of the Express buses. I can't tell you how good it felt to finally sit down at Downsview station.
It was a full day of great live music. Sure, about 90% of the crowd was under the age of 25, but there were plenty of dudes my age and older enjoying the day. Age truly is a matter of mind. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.