It has been fourteen years since Swedish Punk band Refused hit the road together. They dropped one last record “The Shape Of Punk To Come” in 1998 and called it quits. Recently, the band reunited to do a tour hitting up various venues across the globe, one of those stops was Toronto for two nights at The Sound Academy.
The current band is: Dennis Lyxzén – Lead Vocals, David Sandström – Drums/Melodic, Kristofer Steen – lead Guitar/Bass, Jon Brännström – Backup Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Magnus Flagge (aka Magnus Björklund) – Bass/Cello.
We hit up the July 23rdshow, it was packed but not sold out like the previous evening for the first show. The venue filled up nicely and the crowd was fantastic. As a bonus we saw some cool lightning action by the water as we waited for the bands to start. There were a few people I recognized at the show; it was good to see familiar faces. I was texting by the pit entrance waiting for OFF! to hit the stage as the security guard excitedly pointed out a member from Billy Talent as he passed us by, it’s always awesome to see male security guards teenie out! OFF’s set began at about 9:30 and they played until approximately 10:15. I have never heard of OFF! before so this was intriguing to me, I always like to see fresh bands because it leaves me curious to see how they sound without anyone’s opinions trying to cloud my ears.
OFF is a Hardcore punk band from Los Angeles, the band formed in 2009 known to be a supergroup of sorts and consists of; Keith Morris – Vocals (Black Flag, Circle Jerks), Dimitri Coats – Guitar (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald – Bass (Redd Kross) and Mario Rubalcaba – Drums (Hot Snakes/Earthless/Rocket From The Crypt).
The tracks were so short and the vocal mic didn’t have the greatest levels to start, eventually the sound evened out but it really didn’t matter, my three tracks were over. The guitar sounded amazing but was drowning out frontman Keith Morris’ vocals. The band had great energy and I was enjoying their performance but was getting restless because Morris talked longer than he sang, it was boring me. I wandered off to the patio for a smoke, I could still hear the band which was fabulous and could watch the set at the bar on a flat screen TV. The Sound Academy is a fantastic venue, it’s only hindrance is the lack of TTC access.
Set time for Refused was eleven but they rocked the stage earlier than expected. They had this big reveal before the first tune so we had to wait until it was dropped and put away. This was nothing new for me, many bands I have covered do this and of course I don’t mind, everything is for the fans. They were so excited and loving every second of Refused being on that stage. I always try my best not to get in the fans way because they just want to enjoy their favorite band live without big heads in the pit for the whole set. I understand why the three track rule exists but it would be smart to have media do songs 4, 5 and 6, because with most sets the kinks are usually worked out by then. The only artist I have ever covered that has had media shoot songs 4, 5 and 6 instead of the first three was Rapper Nas, very bright on his team’s part.
Refused started in with Worms Of The Senses / Faculties Of The Skull, I wish I could have filmed the reveal but we had to wait. If it weren’t for the fans I wouldn’t have been able to film Liberation Frequency because security thought the three tracks were already over until the fans confirmed they only played two, thank you! They thought the long intro and first two songs were it, many security guards make that mistake and that lack of communication gets very annoying. Thank you so much to AEG/Goldenvoice Canada and new Fridae TV photographer Dipan for taking some cool shots. You can watch the mentioned songs by clicking the title links and can find more photos here.
These extremely enthused and energetic Swedes put on a spectacularly entertaining show, frontman Lyxzén was flying all over the place doing his thing. By the end of the set he was topless, it was a scorcher that day and he first came out in a suit. The band was so impeccably crisp, I loved how the guitars sounded, very clean with a few crazy riffs. The only thing I have to say is the rest of the band needsto match the singers vitality. They seemed a little delayed at first but once they warmed up they got into it a little more . It is hard to be the lead, many artistic performers are shy and others love to soak up all the attention. What I have come to notice is the shyer modest artists are usually the extremely talented, unlike the majority of the “Artists” that crave all the attention and boast profusely about how gloriously amazing they are. When on stage everyone gets nervous, unless you are bored with your job or intoxicated to the point where the whole audience looks like DeadMau5 you get nervous.
The trick is to act, create a character or stage persona to help you be who you want to be on that stage, it makes it so much easier to calm and control the nerves. But having a different persona on stage can come with a price for many artists. For some, after a few tours they cannot find their true self becoming lost in the world they have created. And the lines between fantasy and reality are so blurred they can’t tell the difference anymore.
As the band played on I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were, I have never in my life seen them perform and had only heard a few of their songs. Vocals were stellar, I did not hear him go flat once during the fifteen track set which is extremely rare for a live show. What I liked about this Swedish punk band is their music had melodies and guitar solos, it was not all yelling and auto-tuned pop hooks. The songs have a creative trance like ambiance with a solid structure that draws you in. Refused put on one of the best shows I have seen this year and they didn’t need to use any pyrotechnics to make that possible. They ended off the last Toronto set with encores “New Noise” and “Tannhäuser / Derive”. If you are a punk fan and you have the opportunity to see this band live, I suggest you take that chance before it ends, who knows if anyone will ever see Refusedrock the stage again.
July 14th is fast approaching and the fantastic people over at Edgefest want you to have some ear candy to warm you up for what’s to come! Check out the mix tape below as well as a few videos from bands playing Edgefest 2012!
Last time I covered Edgefest was when Linkin Park and Stone Temple Pilot’s were headliners. That was back in 2008 a few months after I first started FridaeTV on Youtube, now my publication has grown, the full website is under construction and I haven’t covered Edgefest since. 2009 Edgefest was at the same time as North By Northeast which I cover every year. FridaeTV is usually a team of one, hence the name but because it’s growing so fast I do have at least one person helping me out at most major events. Last year they didn’t have Edgefest to cover but now in 2011 Edgefest is back and as always held by the creators of this musical experience none other than Toronto’s rock radio station 102.1 The Edge.
The most perfect day for a rock concert; the sun was shining so bright in the bluest sky, it was beautiful and hot Saturday July 9th at Downsview Park in the northwest end of the city. Downsview Park is now host to many remarkable concerts and events but was once used as a military base. The best way to get to the park is by bus at Downsview station they have direct shuttles and since my ride had tire issues half way there, I did take the bus as usual because I really am not a fan of driving. I missed Sandman Viper Command because of the delay but it was an interesting bus ride and I have covered them before, I also did an interview with Matt Meyer the Drummer of SVC a few hours later on the Gibson bus. Huge thank you to Lisa of Uncharted Sounds and Tina of Gibson Guitars for allowing me to use the super Axetastic bus for the interview! The Gibson bus had guitars everywhere and the lights in the music room were little snares, too cute. The first interview of the day was with two Gentleman Husbands’ Ryan Hutcheson – Lead guitar and Jed Atkinson- Bass. I missed my three media tunes for their set, didn’t even know they were on but I managed a little clip that I can add into the interview, keep it posted for both!
I want everyone to start off with a nice hearty loud yelling of EDGEFEST!! Just so we can have that ambiance of the boys on the bus shouting and chanting “Edgefest! Edgefest!” the whole ride to the venue, one of them was kind of hot; his name was Sebastian and he was yelling his faceoff with the rest of the larries on the bus. There was plenty of eye candy in the crowd that I noticed once we were allowed to wander around, many really hot guys and some pretty sexy ladies but it was mostly males in attendance. There were very few families, I saw more kids running around backstage than I did in the park and of course many couples, groups of couples and friends oh and let’s not forget groupies what is a concert without the vaginitis waiting to attack. I wasn’t too thrilled about the eight dollar flat rate for most of the food and all of the beer which was a limited selection of Bud, BudLight and I think Mikes Hard. For eight bucks I’d like a Bacardi Breezer, Stella Pure Blonde or an Amsterdam Blonde pint which I can get for six bucks at a normal bar, club or pub. I spent sixteen bucks total, on a Poutine that I didn’t finish because it was huge and a warmish medium sized cup of BudLight. Thankfully for those free water stations people did not go thirsty if their budget didn’t have extra for continued beverages at the park. Probably the greatest idea any music festival has had! Overall, the running of Edgefest 2011 was much smoother than the 2008 crazy Mudfest! Other than the set times overlapping too much they did a pretty amazing job! There were so many more people this year about 16,000 gathered to rock out in the old military base. Many thanks to the lovely people at Flip Publicity, Goldenvoice Canada, Corus Entertainment and 102.1 The Edge, they all worked their asses off to make this Edgefest happen.
About six out of the sixteen bands in the 2011 Edgefest lineup I have already seen, some I tried to catch others I just don’t like their sound. On the bill was Rise Against, A Perfect Circle, The Weakerthans, Tokyo Police Club, Arkells, Hollerado, KO, The Reason, Dinosaur Bones, Gentleman Husbands, Harlan Pepper, Michou, Mocking Bird Wish Me Luck, Monster Truck,Sandman Viper Command, The Sheep Dogs. I covered five of the sixteen, I try not to do reruns when it comes to festivals, especially if the band regularly plays in Toronto unless it has been a while since I’ve covered them. There are a few bonus bands that FridaeTV photographer Joanna Glezakos shot for the extra series that you can check probably later tonightot tomorrow on FridaeTV Facebook. The first few bands other than the headliners I chose to cover in this editorial are The Reason, The Weakerthans and decided why not Tokyo Police Club! I needed a replacement since I missed both the opening bands I wanted to catch and that would have been impossible anyway because they played at the same time. Another reason was because I see so many bands every year I can’t remember if I have seen them or not, (Laughs) they’re all just larries to me.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this Hamilton, Ontario band and when I was listening to their tunes on their Myspace I liked what I heard and yes I still use Myspace!
Why wouldn’t I? It’s the easiest way to access a bands information, music, videos and photos all at the same time, bam! There you have it a one stop shop right there without clicking fifty tabs. It’s better than an EPK in my opinion. The set started off a little slow the band was having some technical issues with the vocalists microphone it kept going in and out with a very noticeable delay. By the next track the sound evened out and was amazing for the rest of the set. The main stage had it’s moments of weakness when it came to the sound but when it was good my little cameras loved it. The only other issue was the side stage always being drowned out by the main stage because they had bands on both stages at the same time. Why do festivals do that? Why not wait until the first band wraps then have the next band on at the other stage five minutes after to balance it out giving the people a chance to migrate over and see all the bands. Maybe I should get a job in festival organization to help them out a bit on how to make the set times flow back to back without a hitch and having emergency cushion time. When The Reason wrapped their four track set the response from the crowd was thunderous with cheers, obviously they must be doing something right! The Reason is: Adam White – Vocals/Guitar, James Nelan – Guitar/Vocals/Keys, Michael Caputo – Guitar, Ronson Armstrong – Bass/Vocals, Steve Kiely – Drums/Vocals.
As mentioned above couldn’t remember if I have seen them or not but the music is okay, catchy but they blend with the others and I honestly think they are just a little over hyped. Their set started off rocky with Vocalist David Monks Bass issues until it was replaced. It’s not every day you see a Bassist as Lead Vocals, they usually play the rhythm guitar. The set was pretty long about ten tracks ending off with one of their hit tunes “You’re English is Good” which had a special appearance by the Arkells. Musically they are decent just not what I would listen to but the performance by the band was honorable and I think I have seen them before! The rest of the band is: Greg Alsop – Drums, Josh Hook – Guitar, and Graham Wright – Keys/Percussion.
The coolest thing about this set was in Lead Vox Samson’s hand, a small little keyboard that he was playing as he sang. I was expecting a little more from them, nice way to start off eh! No, seriously it felt like I was listening to Owl City but they were not teenagers, these guys are probably like forty something it was way too cheesy for me. I did however know their songs from somewhere don’t know from where but most of their tracks sounded vaguely familiar. Maybe I have seen these ones too? I just don’t remember because well it was pretty boring but what do you expect from a band who hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba the land of Folk. The music is a little too bland for me much too folky not enough spice or swagger even in the performance. However, the band does play well together they are fantastic musicians technically but just not the kind of music I would listen to on the regular. The Weakerthans are John K. Samson (lead vocals, guitar) Jason Tait – Drums/Percussion/Vibraphone/Keyboards, Stephen Carroll – Guitar/ Pedal/Lap Steel/Keyboards and Greg Smith on the Bass.
A Perfect Circle were one of the Edgefest headliners, I was excited to see them because I do like many of their tunes thanks to one of my exes for introducing me to their music. He would probably bang his head against a wall if he found out I covered his idols. Of course when this band was formed back in 1999 my ex was so excited because he was a huge Tool Beenie (Boy Fan = Male Teenie) but I never really got into Tool because Maynard’s voice gets annoying after a while. A few of their songs are okay but my ears liked A Perfect Circle’s tunes better only because Billy Howerdel has some pretty sick vocals. He should showcase his vocals more frequently with a little bit more confidence but I guess that’s why he created Ashes Divide so he can do his own thing. He did however sing plenty during the show and I was a little sad that we only got to shoot two track’s but either way they won’t see the light of day again because the band changed their minds and don’t want any filmed footage released after all, just the still shots. If you seem a little lost and don’t know who any of the above bands are, Google them as fast as you can and then come back to read the rest because most of these bands have some pretty fucken fantastic music!
The performance was a little odd, I loved Billy Howerdel (Vocals/Guitar) and his little Piano, he was so enthusiastic as was Bassist Matt McJunkins and even James Iha the Guitarist was also trying to make it a lively show but sometimes seemed a little dazed and confused.
Drummer Josh Freese kept it tight but there was something definitley off about Maynard James Keenan on Vocals, his voice sounded pretty good for the first few songs then got a little unsteady and quivery for most of the set making it an extremely lackluster performance by a vocalist of his experience. I don’t know if he just stands there for his Tool performances but he literally just stood there on a riser pretty much away from the band in his little corner audience left, stage right wearing sunglasses the whole time. I was worried about missing some action for the review because I couldn’t see the full stage from the side of the backstage area but that didn’t matter I could hear everything and nothing spectacular happened. As a singer if you don’t care about putting any effort into your performances other than actually showing up, walking on stage and standing there the whole time void of emotion, why should anyone else? Why should people buy tickets to your show if you don’t give them their monies worth? Clearly he’s in a world of his own but the rest of the band were trying their best to give the audience the show they came to see. They played many of my favorite songs like Annihilation, Weak And Powerless, The Hollow and they also debuted a new track called “By And Down” in the eleven song set.
Rise Against I have never seen live and people keep telling me how amazing they are on stage and how I need to run like the wind to listen and watch their fabulousness. Many times people will tell me this band is phenomenal live but really my ears would beg to differ because sometimes they feel like a knife is jabbing into them really fast. With some bands, I may not like but I know someone else out there will and if I do see the audience captivating potential I will cover them and test the waters. Rise Against from Chicago, I’ve like their music since I heard about them in mid 2006, I was lucky enough to film one of my favorite songs “The Good Left Undone” which you can find on FridaeTV youtube. The lyrical content has substance, it’s not fluff they have a message and they have been around since 1999. These past few years it has been hard to get into bands because I’m always onto the next one to keep current and discover those hidden gems for all of you.
I do pay attention and become a loyal supporter if the material is pleasing and if the band continues to grow bettering themselves without accumulating an ego in the process, which is rare. Rise Against lived up to my expectations and surpassed them, with stellar solid vocals and more than enough endurance for the almost twenty track set, haven’t seen a band this lively since Hail The Villain. So much energy they definitley stole the show putting on the best performance, everything was right with this band the stage presence was there, music is incredible nothing more you can ask for in a band. When people told me this band was exceptional they weren’t lying this time! Every member in that band took part and unified as one to entertain the crowd and do what they came to do, melt their faces off! Rise Against: Tim McIlrath –Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitar, Joe Principe – Bass / Backup vocals, Brandon Barnes – Drums/Percussion, Zach Blair – Lead Guitar/Backup Vocals left the crowd drooling for more.
Well…That’s all for Edgefest 2011, I had a great time much different than the last and I would definitley cover it next year if they will have me and if they do it again! Thank you, my friends for reading what I have to say and a huge thank you to my photographer Joanna her shots are incredible. If you missed out on Edgefest this year it’s okay dry your eye and pray next year will be even more awesome! Although this year will be very hard to top for sure. Click –> for Photos and Videos also enjoy the below video of headliners Rise Against, they Blew Me away!