Edgefest smoothes out softer edge this year
The real trip this year was a lineup of softer, more melodic and folk acts than ever before. Considering that it is in fact Canada’s first music festival of its kind, and the longest running, I’d say they’ve earned the right to colour outside the lines a bit and change it up.
The festival, held at the welcoming Downsview Park, was headlined by folk rockers The Lumineers from Denver. In the past, headliners like Billy Talent and Rise Against lead the program, paying more homage to the name than this year’s.
With that being said, it definitely stuck to the roots of what the festival was first created for in 1987, to thank the fans for listening to Toronto’s radio station 102.1 the Edge (it was also a celebration of 10 years of rocking out for them.)
The all-day fun in the sun festival provided two solid stages of sonic entertainment, and a plethora of brand and beverage stands to keep patrons occupied in between sets they came to see and happy accidents. And although there were a threat of a storm coming and light inconsistent drizzles, it didn’t deter many people from staying until the very end.
To feed fuel to the fire, Monster Energy was there providing complimentary cans to the crowd. Luckily no heart attacks or guarana overdoses were reported as of yet.One of the most anticipated and enthusiastically received bands of the night (besides Monster Truck of Hamilton,) Mother Mother from the west coast of Canada came on the main stage and really set the fire.
Along with their already admired and adored songs, they incorporated a Nirvana cover among a few others to liven up the crowd. They had no problem keeping their attention and showing why they have a solid spot on the Edgefest lineup this year.
“You have to do a Nirvana cover!” said Ryan Guldemond.
Edgefest is a big deal to the Guldemond siblings, the other being of course the talented Molly, Ryan’s sister and founding band mate.
“It’s amazing to have the support of a station the likes of this” Molly explained. “We love touring and playing festivals like this and playing for as many new people as possible.”Ryan noted that until this day, the band hadn’t played a big festival in Toronto, especially not one of ten thousand people.
“This is a really big deal to us, and we feel like it has been long overdue,” said Ryan. “It’s nice to have a clandestine audience you know will appreciate you, not only our fans, but we also had the opportunity to convert [others] which is great.”
“The more and more we play live, we try to be more raw and dismantle our whole structure, and be real. Throbbing and seeping in front of these people.”The other headliners, Band of Horses and Monster Truck gave off an equal amount of auditory force to the crowd’s expectation based off the power that radiates from their band names.
Monster Truck explained why their message of “don’t fuck with the truck” which was plastered over everyone’s shirts acquired at the merch stand stands strong. There’s no touching the way they control a crowd. The opening band was a dressed up five piece band that goes by the name of the Treble, out of Winnipeg, MB. Being their first year on the circuit, they were honoured to be invited to play and talking to the guys after the show, they said they loved the experience.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard work, and we play in full every show, right down to the outfits,” said Mark Brusegard, vocalist for the band. “We genuinely love what we do, and I think it translates.”
Dana Jerlo, the man on the skins, expressed many years ago how amazing it would be to play on a bill such as Edgefest, and today, they got to live out their dream.
“It was weird for this to finally come around 10 years later,” said Jerlo. “It’s a little bit surreal.”
Toronto’s own indie rockers July Talk, lead by vocalist Leah Fay and guitarist Peter Dreimanis, put on quite a show with their stage presence and outfits alike.
Dressed in a full on Victorian princess style wedding gown, Fay lured the crowd in with her melodic singing and unique costume, and the music complimented the on stage scenery well.
The band has only been together for just over a year now, yet they’ve climbed the ranks quickly with a western Canadian tour, shows with the Arkells and Sam Roberts Band, and now opening up Edgefest. Just before July Talk was quite another impressive act, also dressed up in unique attention garnering garbs of black and white, only theirs was a little more dramatic.
Lucius, a conceptual pop-art band from Brooklyn, N.Y., came together from all sides of the States, and united for one love of theatrical musical showmanship. In a post-set interview, front women of the band Jessica Wolfe and Holly Laessig described the created unity between them.
“It’s five strong personalities, and we respect each other’s quirkiness,” said Wolfe. “We thrive on the road, and love playing and traveling.”
“I think we’re automatically uniform, it makes it easier to connect for us playing as a band, we really become Lucius,” explained Laessig. “We had a great a responsive audience today, and anytime we can play in front of a new audience we’re smitten, we loved playing today,” they said uniformly.
These two were followed up by a whole different style of uniform characters on stage in Toronto’s the Treasures. A Canadiana style revival of legendary rock rhythms, the Treasures leave a lasting impression on all those who have the pleasure of hearing them play, and certainly come back for more.
The Treasures have managed to build a dedicated fan base in Toronto this way, and after releasing their debut album Bring the Night Home things have continued to escalate for them
They played a great set at Edgefest and the fans, for as early as it was in the day, were already getting amped with the few bands that had been offered up. The bill really provided an eclectic mix of music for all tastes and talents right from the opening acts. As the afternoon went on, the swarms of fans got larger and larger, and the charismatic alternative group from California, The Neighbourhood, really set the tone for the rest of the day with upbeat and heavy hitting tunes, a massive amount of zeal on stage, and no lack of effort towards crowd participation. They really gave Toronto a taste of what California dreaming is all about. From talking to fans in the pit, it was the first time hearing them for many and they definitely managed to leave a resonating impression with the majority of them.
One fan lamented that he was enjoying the more relaxed acoustic-esque sets beforehand. See the type of this new venture is attracting?
There was a surprisingly good turnout, the best 102.1 the Edge could expect planning an all-day show on a Wednesday. After all, some people had to work, but for a working week day, it sure gave off a spring break feel. Story by Devin Size, Photos by Tee Onek