Monday, April 23, 2012
Concert review: Edgefest at FC Dallas Stadium (April 22)
The diverse lineup included The Black Keys, Garbage, Cake, and Evanescence.
This year’s Edgefest was filled with huge '90s bands ready for a comeback, some hot acts fresh off Coachella in California, and a satisfying mix of nearly every genre underneath the “rock” umbrella. We knew it was going to be a great day when the highest temperature was only set to reach the mid '80s. More crowds hit the FC Dallas Stadium earlier than expected, bringing out a wide range in audience age: Fans of the ‘90s couldn’t miss Garbage or Cake while the youngsters came out for bands like Cage the Elephant and Arctic Monkeys.
A prominent ‘90’s band that took the stage early was Denton’s Chomsky. The fun-loving rock band hasn’t toured in years, and many dedicated fans made their way to the festival soon after doors opened to catch their brief set. Sean Halleck and Glen Reynolds threw jokes out and name-dropped Chomsky regularly, seeming to enjoy being back behind the microphones. Of course, they closed with their widely popular hit “Gravitate” to a thoroughly entertained audience.
Neon Trees picked up a later set that was full of energy and sporadic rants from lead singer Tyler Glenn. The bubbly Utah rock group wasted no opportunity to make a statement with their avant-garde dress: The guitarist chose a black and white paisley blazer complete with a bow tie for the warm Texas day. Glenn screamed in between tracks, telling of a Dallas lover he once had, riling up fans. But as much as they tried to be crude, the bands' poppy tunes are just another set of mega-hits splashed on the radio.
British duo The Ting Tings stole the crowd's attention as soon as they started, showing how popular they’ve become since their 2008 debut. The band was fresh off their sold-out Saturday gig at the Granada and seemed ready for more. The dance-punk group played hit after hit filled with their signature cheerleader hooks. Fans shouted their catchy lines and jumped to the sprightly tracks. Fittingly, they closed with “That’s Not My Name” – their wildly successful single that even the oldest attendees could recognize.
The signature shaky vocals of Matt Shultz came through loud and clear during the Cage the Elephant set. He stomped across the stage in a musical rage, flinging his long hair and rocking out to their funky alt rock while still managing to keep up with the incessantly rapid lines. At one point, Shultz fearlessly dove into the crowd for a short surfing segment. With heavy words filled with smart lessons, plus colorful guitar riffs to liven things up, the Kentucky rockers successfully sold their set in the midday sun.
Although Evanescence stopped in Dallas last fall, it felt like it had been much too long since the mainstream rockers had played here. With a comeback just around the corner -- they released an album last October -- the group proved how talented they are, with hit after hit of pounding drums and Amy Lee’s crystalline and unyielding vocals. Even the guitarists killed it by twisting their strings in a satisfyingly dark way and showing that this group isn’t just Lee’s backup band. Lee jumped on the keys for multiple tracks, including “Call Me When You’re Sober” and “My Immortal,” and delivered a jaw-dropping performance.
Once the sun set, the outdoor show quickly turned chilly and sent all of the tank-top wearing girls to their hoodies and seats. But the darkened sky also meant it was finally time for Garbage. It’s been 10 years since the outstandingly dark ‘90s band played in Dallas. Sultry front woman Shirley Manson seemed ready and able for the big gig, strutting across the stage in black and red and belting out their dismal lines. Most of the set was filled with their past hits including “Paranoid” and “Only Happy When It Rains,” giving veteran fans their time to rock out.
Fresh off of their Coachella performance, the headlining duo The Black Keys took to the stage with a surprisingly charming backdrop of globed lights. After only a couple of tracks, lead singer and unbelievable guitarist Dan Auerbach paid tribute to the Frisco audience, saying that we were “much better” than the Coachella crowd. Crews couldn’t blare the Black Keys’ swagger-filled throwback rock loud enough: Some fans danced and sang along in the stands for the entire set. With an additional bassist and keyboardist, the hard-working duo soared through single after single with soul and charisma.
This was the best Edgefest in the past five years because it was built with a diverse eye and delivered bands we haven’t been able to see in ages. If The Edge continues this trend, we wouldn’t be surprised if the annual event grew too big for the giant FC Dallas Stadium. But for now, we'll cherish the indoor bathrooms, shaded seating, and excellent people watching at the yearly festival.