Edgefest 17 review
When I first saw the lineup for this year's Edgefest event, sponsored by KDGE at Pizza Hut Park, I knew I'd want to attend, even if only for the reason that Seether was to perform. The addition of 3 Doors Down and Chevelle was an added benefit, but Seether was the main attraction for me. Unfortunately, due to previous commitments I arrived part-way into Chevelle's set and, therefore, was unable to photograph this spectacular Chicago-based band, headed up by Pete Loeffler. I'd heard only a song or two by these guys in the past, so I was surprised at how intense the rest of their material is. Sort of a Grunge-Meets-Metal experience for me. This was to be the theme for the rest of the night with the exception of My Chemical Romance.
Next up on stage was Puddle of Mudd and while I'd been familiar with the name and had heard a few songs, had yet to make the connection between the songs and the band until this concert. She Hates Me is one of my favorites and the radio version loses quite a lot in censorship, so hearing it live was a treat. The fans responded with enthusiasm at the announcement of Psycho coming up next with Blurry being another crowd favorite. Across the board, Puddle of Mudd, headed up by Wes Scantlin, was the “lightest” of the bands to perform on the Big Stage. Great range, clear vocals, clean arrangements and dynamic range make them a fun band to see and hear live. As it turned out, they were my favorite band of the night.
Seether took the stage next and put on a great performance, wrapping up the set with the song that made me a fan, “Remedy”. A South African import headed up by Shaun Morgan, Seether is more of a Classic Grunge band with some sonic similarities to STP, but with a less metallic, more crunchy guitar sound. “Fake It”, another big Seether hit (and one of my favorites), was a crowd pleaser as well. If you like the new Grunge (Post Grunge is the popular term) you need to check out Seether. These guys kick ass.
Blue October, the only Texas band on the stage this night, while not one of my favorites from a musical perspective, put on a high-energy performance that this crowd seemed to love. They weren't my favorite band from a material standpoint (although I do really like “Hate Me”), but the image projected by the band makes for a good show. Justin Furstenfeld on lead vocals and guitar took center stage and displayed no short range of emotion during his performances. These boys are accomplished musicians, to be sure. I found the addition of violin and mandolin, both played by Ryan Delahoussays, to provide a unique texture to the Grunge underpinnings. Nice touch.
For me, the best performance of the night was put on by My Chemical Romance, who burst through a large paper “Eat S___” sign onto the stage in black and white lettermen's jackets wearing football helmets, complete with “eye black” streaks. From a pure performance standpoint, My Chemical Romance pounded the stage with more energy than any other band that night. Gerard Way on vocals, owned the stage during the entire set. For me, they're a lot like Kiss, being more of a “show” than a band who's material I would buy and listen to without benefit of actually seeing them. But that's just me. Hell of a performance, though – and the best photographs of the night! A Follow-Spot on the “Eat S___” sign so we could all actually see the band burst onto the stage would have been a nice touch. By the time MCR's set started it was dark and with no stage lights at all, the Grand Entrance lost a lot of it's energy.
3 Doors Down. Here's a classic Mississippi-based act with great lighting, a clean stage (being the last act helps) and a catalog of great material. This band has been a favorite of mine since I first heard “Kryptonite” and it was fun to see them live. The show had good energy, exceptional lighting and effects and the guys ripped through their material like the pros they are. Brad Arnold on vocals, puts on a ripping show, prowling the entire stage, while Matt Roberts on guitar (cool green Ibanez with green fretboard LEDs) primarily lurks in the dark to one side, slinking out of the shadows for the requisite solo, then back again.
The crowd's level of enthusiasm (or lack thereof) wasn't what I had expected from this size concert. There were pockets of fans that were really into the music, while a high percentage seemed less than enthusiastic, perhaps due to the high volume of beer consumed at this event. Then again, maybe it's because the majority of the fans are relegated to seating that insulates them from the stage. Pizza Hut Park is better suited to soccer than concerts, although the sound was exceptional. Or maybe it's just because most of these people had been out in the sun all day by the time I arrived just before 4pm. Whatever the cause, the crowd seemed somewhat subdued compared to what I usually experience at large concerts. Girls in tears, guys slurring their words, both genders in stupors, Frisco Fire rendering medical assistance to many throughout the afternoon and into the evening seemed to be the order of the day. If you've never been to an event like this, but early on, the barricade that separates the crowd from the stage (and creates the “media pit”) is jammed with bodies. As time goes on and more people want to get as close as possible it creates a “crush” which is impossible to get out of except to work you way to the front, then have Security pull you over the barricade and escort you back to the main area. It didn't look like fun to me, but then I am a member of AARP...
Review by Warren Paul Harris, staff writer
Click on the photo for the abbreviated gallery.