Edgefest 2009 Recap

EdgefestI just spent 9 hours on my feet in the mud bowl better known as Downsview Park taking in Edgefest 2009. It was a whole lot of fun. Here are some brief thoughts on the bands I saw.

The Arkells
Hamilton's Arkells were playing when we arrived, so I missed the first couple of songs. They closed out with their two radio hits, and showed a great deal of promise. I'll be keeping my good eye on these guys.

The Stills
Although they didn't play "Still in Love Song", a personal favourite, the set was solid and I dug 'em, even though it rained throughout. This Montreal band recently won the Juno for Best Alternative Album of the Year.

k-os
The rain stopped for k-os, and the sun almost shone. He added some much appreciated hip-hop flavour to Edgefest, and killed with hits "Sunday Morning" and "Man I Used to Be." This was my 3rd favourite set of the night.

Metric
Emily Haines is a rock goddess. The set was tight, full of hits and future hits, and a couple of strong and smart monologues from Haines. My buddy, previously lukewarm on this band, is now converted. It was my 2nd favourite set of the night.

Alexisonfire
I enjoyed Alexisonfire live more than I thought I would. They're a wall of noise with lots of screaming, but there's often melody in there somewhere and they've got three guys with three different rock scream styles. It was a fun set, but I was distracted a little by the massive mud slide to my left.

AFI
AFI was the only American act on the big stage, and if we were going to import an act, as they did last year with Stone Temple Pilots and Linkin Park, why AFI? Seriously, I tried guys... but they're Matchbox 20 to my ears, without the sing-along numbers. Maybe it's the guy's voice I don't like. Admittedly, Miss Murder is a decent song, but everything else bored me.

Billy Talent
I've always liked Billy Talent, but I'd never seen them live. They blew me away. Hit laden, adrenaline charged and frenetic. They played every radio hit in their repertoire and crowd-pleased the shit out of us. They were fantastic, and worthy of a headlining spot.

Tomorrow I'll write about the mud slide. I've got photos and videos from Edgefest 2009 here. Here's my Edgefest 2008 recap and my Edgefest 2003 recap, if you're interested.

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Comments (16 - click here to join in!)

Annemarie

Nice hair Mike; & I laughed when I saw the mud slide. You should post the vids on YouTube, if you haven't already.

June 21, 2009 @ 7:43 AM


The_Voice

The time I went to see K-Os live, he was definitely more Rock than Hip-Hop, even with his older songs.

When he started on Krabuckit, he misteriously dropped the Mic, left the stage, and never came back. That was the end of that concert.

June 21, 2009 @ 9:11 AM

Toronto Mike

Maybe I caught him on a better day. He didn't even start Krabuckit. There's definitely some rock in that hip hop, but at a rock show, it's the hip hop you notice, because the whole day is rock.

June 21, 2009 @ 9:19 AM

Toronto Mike

Toronto Sun review: http://www.torontosun.com/entertainment/music/2009/06/21/9877761-sun.html

The medical condition known as trench foot should never be uttered at a rock concert.

However, this year's Edgefest at the ridiculously soggy and muddy Downsview Park Saturday had many fans wondering if they were getting symptoms.

Thankfully, two of the better "bang for your buck" bands this country has to offer - headliner Billy Talent and Alexisonfire - made the conditions more tolerable.

With both groups set to release new studio albums within the coming weeks, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to test some new material to an eager crowd. And Billy Talent appeared to be a tad more willing to do so, delivering the somewhat slower, less frantic Rusted From The Rain as well as Saint Veronika from next month's III release.

Led by the crazed, high energy vocalist Ben Kowalewicz, Billy Talent ensured plenty of their hits were heard, starting with Devil In A Midnight Mass and the equally emo-meets-rock fervor for The Ex which caused some fist pumps from those in the front.

"Who gives a f--- if it's raining? We're here to have fun!" Kowalewicz said prior to This Suffering, later adding how it was a dream come true for the quartet to headline Edgefest.

Other highlights from the band included an early aggressive nugget in River Below, the relentless Line & Sinker and The Navy Song, a more melodic number the wet crowd soaked up.

Perhaps the one sticking point with the show was how Alexisonfire played it somewhat safe by doling out well-tested, scream-based hits from their past albums over its 45-minute set. Considering how the forthcoming album Old Crows/Young Cardinals sounds like a more refined rock record, a few more unknown tunes would've been welcomed.

Nonetheless, Alexisonfire shone during the strong No Rest and especially Young Cardinals with its rockabilly-leaning feel. Meanwhile lead singer/screamer George Pettit held his own on This Could Be Anywhere In The World, We Are The Sound and Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints.

"It feels like I'm playing to the cast of Mad Max," Pettit quipped early on. "You people are filthy."

Squeezed between both bands, and the lone American group on the main stage, AFI managed to make the most of its hour-long set despite showing a bit of rust in certain parts.

Opening with The Leaving Song Pt. II, AFI and their high kicking, constantly moving vocalist Davey Havok had more ups than downs with Kill Caustic and especially Miss Murder with its huge, Green Day-like sing-along chorus. Havok, who dodged a muddy flip flop tossed his way, even covered David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust quite nicely.

Earlier in the day, Metric won the crowd over with a dose of electro dance rock thanks to the aerobic workout tempos singer/keyboardist Emily Haines just can't get enough of. Whether it was Dead Disco, the lovely Gimme Sympathy and Sick Muse off the new album Fantasies or the guitar-driven Monster Hospital, Metric definitely didn't disappoint.

Hip-hop favourite K-os brought out some tracks from his new album Yes! such as Burning Bridges along with Sunday Morning. He even brought out Alexisonfire's Dallas Green to perform a bit of Man I Used To Be.

Earlier in the day, bands such as Montreal industrial-tinged band Beast and hardcore heavyweights Cancer Bats played brief but strong sets on the smaller second stage.

---

Sun Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Edgefest

Downsview Park

Saturday

June 21, 2009 @ 10:50 AM


Mississauga Mike

Glad you had a good time, as I certainly did! I'll make sure to send the Facebook album I have of mine, the only bands I saw from the same location was AFI/Billy Talent.

Got in at 12:15 but from the line in was able to see...

The Johnstones (12:00) - Fun, 15-minute set. Friend of mine knows the band personally as they went to school with us but good start to the day, surprised they didn't have a longer set since it was pretty upbeat. Was able to get in and enjoy my two sandwiches during their last few songs.

Still Life Still (12:35) - Not bad, pretty much what you'd expect from a 12:35 side stage band.

The Arkells (1:30) - I have a feeling they're in that good, not great category, but as with you I really really hope these guys do well. Love the lead singers voice and their potential. "Oh, The Boss Is Comin" blew the crowd away, great tune!

The Stills (2:20) - I was restless during this set since everyone I was with had visited the beer tent already but just when I kept trying to pull away for a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) I was intrigued to stay, they put on a good set that I literally couldn't pull myself away from. I'm surprised they didn't do "Still In Love Song" as well, it's what I associate with them.

K-OS (3:10) - I missed it. I was walking around (got that Coke), met up with some friends who were sitting on the hill at the time and kinda used this set for downtime and listened to it. Seemed okay, I've always been on the fence with him.

Metric (4:10) - Wow. I'm sold. I knew the singles, like the singles, but some reason didn't GET the hype around them. Emily is great, very charming front woman, I like her and their set was solid. Surprised at how muddy this one got (big mudslide, stage right where I was) but I think the crowd was really just wanting to let loose.

Alexisonfire (5:40) - Watched this from the beer tent (where there was female mud wrestling occurring feet away from me) and since I've never been too big on them it doesn't seem like I missed much. One guy on the TTC home was saying how their set was disappointing since they didn't play much off the new album (out Tuesday). I prefer Alexisonfire to K-OS but I wanted to get the beer which I had tickets for before I'd plant for Billy Talent.

Moneen (6:40) - Saw about 20 minutes of their set en route to the porto potty (4 beers in less than an hour plus the Coke earlier did the trick). All I remember of their set was them telling the crowd right near the end that they've been bummed out since 2007 for not getting many gigs. Buzzkill!

AFI (7:10) - Remains a mystery. I managed to get about 10th row for this (and Billy Talent) and no one really knew their material, just the couple hits. I'll summarize my thoughts on this choice after...

Billy Talent (8:50) - Knocked it out of the freakin' park! Awesome set! Was expecting the dramatic opening as with the arena tour and they just came on (not even opening with "This Is How It Goes" which was the usual for the shows I'd seen) and got to business. Interesting but great choice of playing "The Ex" second, their forgotten single I think. I could plow through song by song and review but I had a blast, enough said. :) Had heard the new album in the last week or so and as a result was one of the few in my area familiar with "Devil On My Shoulder" and "Saint Veronika", still hits with the crowd. I truly believe they didn't intend to do that encore of "Nothing To Lose". They had done all the songs they usually do live and always wrap up with "Try Honesty" then finish the encore with "Red Flag", but I'm so glad they didn't leave the crowd disappointed with the lack of encore. Loved their set, stressful week and this was great to let loose and meet some cool people in the process too.

Festival thoughts. I feel as if the order of the bands was set up as it was to bring people into the park earlier. The Arkells are more topical than freakin' AFI haha, but having them open was a good choice instead of The Stills which, as successful as they have been, don't have as much draw-value to the common "Edge listener" I think at the moment. At least in my mind. So Arkells, Stills, Metric/K-OS could've gone either way. Alexisonfire could have easily been before Billy Talent but I feel as if AFI was put there to provide some balance for the crowd. Of course, Billy Talent closing made the most sense for obvious reasons.

Really like how easily we were allowed to bring food/beverages in, I brought two sandwiches with me but friends of mine had a ton of snacks. I'm not sure which beer arrangement I prefer, buying tickets for beer THEN buying the beer using the tickets or just going through one person, because it was a bit of a clusterf*ck but in hindsight it probably was better how they did it. V-Fest last year was a mess.

I feel I got my money's worth with Metric/Billy Talent, Arkells, Stills, and even the minor set by the Johnstones made the rest worth it.

June 21, 2009 @ 11:32 AM

Mississauga Mike

Did that Sun reviewer even see the Arkells or Stills?! Yikes.

June 21, 2009 @ 11:35 AM

Annemarie

I know the vids are on Flickr; that's where I saw them. ;) Just suggesting you should post them on YouTube too. :)

The_Voice: I saw K-Os (k-os, K-OS, w/e) @ The Guvernment 2 yrs. ago & he refused to sing Crabbuckit & walked off the stage. His band continued to play it while the crowd sang the lyrics. It was pretty sad; I thought the objective was to please your fans.

June 22, 2009 @ 12:50 AM

Mississauga Mike

http://www.youtube.com/user/backpackdave09

Backpackdave09 always seems to have videos from the shows I went to, and has alot of footage from Australia/American shows too, it's good quality too! I haven't had a chance to look at Saturday's from his channel but he has a handful from Billy Talent for sure.

June 22, 2009 @ 8:54 AM

Toronto Mike

I never understood why some artists decide to stop playing the one song everybody wants.

I remember Silverchair of all bands refusing to do "Tomorrow".

Play the damn song. Pearl Jam still plays Alive, The Hip still play NOIS and the Stones still play Satisfaction.

June 22, 2009 @ 9:00 AM

Mississauga Mike

Don't mean to spam the comments, but that user on YouTube has 17/18 videos (in HQ) up for that Billy Talent set. Wow.

Devil In A Midnight Mass
The Ex
This Suffering
(out of order starting now)
This Is How It Goes
River Below
Line And Sinker
Pins And Needles
Fallen Leaves
In The Fall (The Navy Song)
Surrender
Perfect World
Devil On My Shoulder
Rusted From The Rain
Saint Veronika
Turn Your Back
(in correct order starting now)
Try Honesty
Red Flag
Nothing To Lose

Missing "Pins And Needles", too bad cause I hadn't seen that live until Saturday, oh well, the memory bank will suffice. :)

June 22, 2009 @ 9:40 AM

Toronto Mike

It isn't spam if it's related and good shit like this. Nice job!

June 22, 2009 @ 10:13 AM

Mississauga Mike

Although it's not nearly the same experience sitting at my desk watching, the next step I feel is to extract the video in the correct order. I sent the user an email already about his videos.

June 22, 2009 @ 2:37 PM

Annemarie

I was going to add, that apparently K-Os gets bored of singing his own songs. He just didn't want to do it, which is probabaly why he "didn't even start" playing it @ Edgefest. I just have no time for prima donnas like that. It left a bad taste in my mouth & I'd hesitate seeing him again, if @ all.

June 22, 2009 @ 4:05 PM

Mississauga Mike

By the way, the video for "Pins and Needles" is now up. He recorded the entire set in HQ video... Backpackdave qualifies as "The Man".

June 22, 2009 @ 11:10 PM

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