I know how this is going to sound, but it sure was a hot one on Saturday, July 14th for Edgefest, the all-day music extravaganza put on by 102.1 the Edge, Toronto’s modern rock station. This is an event with roots stretching as far back as 1987, but I think it’s safe to say the thousands who made the pilgrimage to Downsview Park on the northern outskirts of the city were more concerned about staying hydrated than Edgefest’s long and interesting history. And as nice as the venue is, there were few places to find relief from the at times stifling heat save for the “new-this-year” electronic tent. Unfortunately for someone like myself, there was too much guitar-focused rock to be able to pass up between the two bandstands set up at Downsview Park.
It’s a good thing I didn’t have to take a shot of Jägermeister every time I ran back to the side stage Germany’s fave digestif were sponsoring, otherwise I would have been pretty wrecked pretty fast. Ottawa’s The Balconies, however, play a brand of throwback rock and roll that sobers you up in a hurry. Balconies guitarist Jackie Neville has big hair, and a big voice to match. NXNE alum The Coppertone nearly overheated the open-air joint with smoldering bluesiness. Even San Antonians Hacienda found it hot in Toronto, but that didn’t stop them from trying to get people dancing to live cuts off their groovy new album Shakedown.
Over in the main Events Centre area, Vancouver gals The Pack A.D. officially got the Edgefestivities underway with their rough-and-ready, guitar and drums assault. Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker had the budding crowd chanting “U-S-S” before their set even started, and kept the enthusiasm going with wild and crazy stunts such as USS member Jason Parsons (AKA “Human Kebob”) doing handstands and clapping his feet like they were hands. The Sheepdogs literally kept things rolling (*cough*) by mixing old faves (“Who?”, “I Don’t Get By”, “I Don’t Know”) with material from their eagerly-anticipated self-titled album coming in September. Silversun Pickups dropped Scott Pilgrim vs. the World references (Sex Bob-omb) as well as caused the ground throughout Downsview Park to shake from all the bass on closer “Lazy Eye”. Death from Above 1979 made another deafening return to their hometown, leaving many a mosh pitter a bloody mess thanks to intense performances of “Blood on Our Hands” (ironically), “Pull Out”, and “Romantic Rights”. Finally, Billy Talent sent the sunscreen-wearing emo kids home happy with a medley of punk rock hits made famous by the radio station presenting this whole shindig. I may not listen to the Edge as much as I used to, but I’ll be back for sure next year (Psst – If Edgefest organizers want to ensure my presence, they’d be wise to already be working on having Japandroids as a headliner in 2013!)
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