Edgefest 2012: Billy Talent, Death From Above 1979, USS & more!
Equipped with water, sunglasses, comfortable shoes and a positive attitude I was ready to take on Edgefest this past weekend. I forgot sun block, so aside from some awesome show memories and some shocking interview stories, I have some wicked sunburns as souvenirs.
We bee-lined it for the side stage upon arrival for Acres of Lions’ set. To bring everyone closer to the stage the band had some friends throw popsicles and ice-pops into the crowd. I was happy to see such a fun band get a pretty decently sized audience while they were essentially competing with The Pack A.D. on the main stage. Lead singer, Jeff Kalesnikoff had a laid back attitude with his conversations with the audience as well as with his stage presence. The band’s set overall was nothing short of stellar and left me wanting more.
Next up on the side stage was fan favourite, The Balconies. With Jacquie Neville as an awesome little firecracker on stage with her guitar and powerful vocals, the audience could not help but watch in awe as their socks were rocked off. With a set of tunes that were upbeat and filled with attitude, they revved the crowd up getting them ready for main stagers – USS.
Now, if you’ve ever seen USS live you know that they are a force to be reckoned with. Jay, aka Human Kabob, was crowd surfing by their second song; “Anti-venom”. Ash used one of H.K.’s records as a pick to play “Wonderwall” on his guitar. As always, they got the crowd to stretch with them, this time to the saxophone intro of “Careless Whisper”. If you’re not smiling while singing along while these guys played their tunes then you must lack a sense of humor entirely. They seem to obliterate the separation between them and audience and turned the whole park into one big party.
From the main stage I ran back to catch a bit of The Darcys‘ set before sitting down to do some interviews. The Darcys are no strangers to the pages of The Take but it was my first time seeing them live. First of all, talk about a good-looking band. Seriously, mother may I! Ahem. Anyhow…they eased the crowd into their set with a slower number, and picked up the pace a bit with their second number. They were a great band for this point in the day; slightly upbeat but relaxed in tone. Made for an enjoyable afternoon in the summer heat.
Back at the main stage Young The Giant was topping off the afternoon. These guys came all the way from California to be a part of this diverse line-up. They had a large, full sound but their overall stage presence was modest and relaxed; very west coast. Carrying themselves more so on their pop-like melody than rock star status is what made their set most appealing. Really wished I could have caught the whole set, but alas duty called.
After I wrapped up my interviews I made my way back to the Side Stage for Said the Whale and set up camp there for the remaining bands there. They seemed to have the largest crowd of all the afternoon side stagers, and they were very vocal about their graciousness of that. Their melodies were beautifully punctuated by their strong connections on stage.
Library Voices are always a fun band to watch. Always energetic and engaging. There are quite a few members, and they’re so interactive with each other, which is always nice to see. They were so relaxed in nature and it was clear that they all had a high level of skill within their collective musicianship. They all played with such ease, which is what made it possible for them to do things like switch up who played what, and well, throw a saxophone up in the air in the middle of tunes.
Closing off the side stage for the day was Yukon Blonde. They pulled a sizeable crowd as the sun was starting to go down a little bit cooling the air. The perfect setting for these guys smooth harmonies and gentle twang. These dudes were charming and talented, and romanced their melodies as much as they romanced their audience.
It was time to turn my attention to the Main Stage for Death From Above 1979. I’ve been a fan of these dudes for years now, so I was really excited about this. Not going to lie I was a little weak in the knees when I crossed paths with them as they made their way to the stage. Here’s the thing though, it’s as clear as day that there is still tension between them. As a result, they came off as disinterested and slightly lazy with their set. They hardly interacted with the audience and seemed to rush through everything. Given the history I guess they felt as though the tunes could speak for themselves, but still, it was a bit of a let down.
Ending off the festival was Billy Talent. I immersed myself right in the crowd for this one. Everyone was a-buzz and I could feel the excitement brewing in the audience as the minutes counted down to their set. Starting strong with “Devil in a Midnight Mass” the intro riff was the perfect way to get the crowd going. I was surprised and pleased to see them start off with three older tunes in a row, and was even happier to be surrounded by fans that were singing along. The first time I saw Billy Talent was at Warped Tour in 2004. I seriously felt like I was 18 again, and it was awesome.