Reviews

Edgefest 10 Featuring: Billy Idol, Our Lady Peace, 30 Second to Mars + Static-X

Nicole Schuman

When I bumped into a stumbling Billy Idol on my way to get a beer, something became immediately clear: this wasn't going to be the same ol' same ol'...

Edgefest 10 Featuring: Billy Idol, Our Lady Peace, 30 Second to Mars + Static-X

Edgefest 10 Featuring: Billy Idol, Our Lady Peace, 30 Second to Mars + Static-X

City: Buffalo, NY
Venue: Festival Grounds at the Pier
Date: 2005-07-31

Tsar
When I bumped into a stumbling Billy Idol (that or a ridiculously authentic look-alike) on my way to get a beer, something became immediately clear: this concert wasn't going to be the same ol' same ol'. Edgefest, a festival-type all-day show featuring over 10 acts, has reached its 10th birthday in Buffalo, New York. Produced by a local "modern rock" station, WEDG 103.3 The Edge, one might expect a showcasing of corporate junk rock, but the lineup for this show consisted of an exemplary array of both new and eternal talents. When I saw British '80s platinum-tressed sensation Billy Idol added to the lineup, my curiosity got the best of me. This was more than a novelty act; this guy helped out Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer for chrissake. "Cradle of Love", tight leather and Madonnarific lace? Who could pass on an opportunity to see one of the first artists to achieve pop-punk perfection?

Our Lady Peace
Of course I also wanted to hear other artists such as Canadian-rock outfit Our Lady Peace, current radio darling Danko Jones, and Jared Leto's space-core project, 30 Seconds to Mars. And since I did, I can honestly say I got my day's worth of thrills if not without some annoying spills. The packed venue housed two stages, a smaller one for local and lesser known bands and a larger one for the big guns. One of the first bands, 30 Seconds to Mars, exploded in front of the curious crowd on the main stage. Leto is a true frontman. He's more musician than an actor any day. Many fans were huddled at the front of the stage, but those who did not know the band or were just interested in getting a glimpse of 1990s heartthrob Jordan Catalano also wandered over. 30 Seconds quickly won their hearts. The band consists of tight, high energy rhythms combined with Leto's glowering vocals. The band's dark, passionate set featured many songs from their new album, A Beautiful Lie. The impressionable wail of guitars on tracks such as "A Beautiful Lie" and the album's first single, "Attack", left the crowd enchanted and deeply connected with the band. Leto loves the audience and feeds on their response. His energies culminated in a climb to the crest of the stage, almost 20 feet in the air. It was worrisome, particularly for the Edge, but Leto's antics ignited the day's rock theatrics flame. The performance and music were beautiful, pulsating with insane hooks and industrial rock mischief.

Static-X
Hardcore noisemakers Static-X took the stage next. They sounded like the musical embodiment of death (not in a cool way) and the only thing impressive about their set was the lead singer's hair. I even drew a picture of it while I yawned. The band had a clear sound though, and the kids did love it. I left them to bask in said love and went to watch the boats in the harbor surrounding the Pier. After what seemed like endless noise, I checked out L.A. glam-punk-rock outfit Tsar. The charming boy-like lead singer might have been drunk as fuck, but was also charismatic as hell. He smiled the whole time, wearing not only an American flag but also a David Hasselhoff cape -- I kid you not. These boys made me think differently of L.A. bands with their super-hyper popcore sound. It was a lovely surprise and introduction to a high-energy sweetheart of a band.

Danko Jones
After another break and a frenzied Irish-punk set by Flogging Molly, recent major label darling Danko Jones took the stage. I had heard the band was chauvinistic and was prepared to drink it in. Fortunately that prophecy was fulfilled. Two young females shimmied around a stripper pole which magically appeared from somewhere on the stage. I shook my head at the flashing and "woo"-ing of the crowd. The Henry Rollins-wannabe lead singer tried pulling a Gene Simmons tongue and I felt my teeth grinding harder. Unfortunately this band has some infectious radio singles, such as "Lovercall", that you can't help tapping your feet to. But that's all they've got. I was relieved to see a strong set by Our Lady Peace, which drew huge accolades from the crowd. Canada raised them well. These boys continue to outperform almost every modern rock group to date. They performed older songs such as "Superman's Dead", "Innocent", and "Clumsy". Billy Idol was spotted crowdsurfing to "Starseed" -- it really happened. Headed by the brooding, theatric, uniquely vocal Raine Maida, the musing tones and tight tracks were performed briskly and brilliantly. The layered vocals and patterns contributed to an ethereal rock show of urgency and delicacy. The crowd also appreciated new songs such as "Where Are You" and "Angels Losing Sleep", providing rock-sick lullabies to accompany the red, purple, and pink sunset on Lake Erie.

Billy Idol
The crowdsurfing of Idol seemed to move the crowd in a greater frenzy for his performance. A mix of fans appeared, some as young as eight and others older than 60. Middle-aged women excitedly gabbed about their teenage memories of Idol. And Idol played charming ole power-rock Brit in the sexiest way. The man still has an insane body and incredible, musing vocals. Neither his voice nor his stage presence have changed, and I don't believe he's aged a day past 30. The backup musicians provided excellent accompaniments for the new and old favorites. It was a crazy crowd-pleasing performance. Highlights included "Dancing with Myself", which included some sensual personal ass-slapping as Billy showed off his tighter than tight pants. We also got plenty of the rebel yell and "yeah" faces featuring lips so pursed you could see them from the back of the venue. Idol made good on "Rebel Yell" and "White Wedding" while introducing some songs from his new album as well. The songs were as driving as ever, tempo-driven, and hearing Idol's voice live was simply surreal. It truly provided a proper end to an evening of everything that Idol embodies: crowd-surfing, stumbling, tight pants, and good old rock and roll.

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