Sonic Boom 2009 – Live (Sept. 5th, 2009)

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Sonic Boom 2009

Live (Sept. 5th, 2009) - Northlands Park - Edmonton, Alberta

It’s about time Edmonton got its own music festival. After being passed over countless times for various festivals and unfulfilled promised of a Warped Tour stop in Edmonton, Sonic 102.9 and The Union decided it was time to take things into their own hands and thus the inaugural Sonic Boom festival came to be.

For the most part, it went off without a hitch as the ever-growing crowd surpassed the 11,000 mark and sung along with bands from USS to Billy Talent. Kicking off the festivities were Edmonton’s ownWet Secrets, decked out in full marching band regalia – although their outfits were nothing compared to the numerous wrestlers in attendance for the Monster Pro Wrestling ring at the entrance to Northlands.

Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, better known as USS, worked hard to win over the crowd with a gimmicky set full of spastic dancing, Street Fighter sound clips and smoothie making but only really got their attention during the hit singles of Laces Out and Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole and their cover of Outkast‘s Hey Ya.

Seemingly running a bit behind schedule, Ontario’s IllScarlett hit the stage at 1:45 to a crowd of a good few thousand. Playing four tracks from their upcoming 1Up! album, Take It For Granted, Extra, Extra!, Funky Reputation and Milkshakes and Razorblades, alongside their more popular tracks like Heaters, Who’s Got It, Nothing Special, NTF, One-A and Mary Jane, the reggae-rock outfit were the first act to get the crowd really into the festival spirit as pockets of weed smokers popped up left, right and centre.

Long Island’s Taking Back Sunday were scheduled to play next, but having their flight into Edmonton cancelled made it difficult for them to take the stage. So during an longer-than anticipated break, the crowd were finally introduced to the day’s master of ceremonies, Jason Mewes of Jay and Silent Bob fame. As an emcee, Mewes was pretty much useless as he seemed out of it and never knew what to say as he made mistakes even when reading off a piece of paper. His witty and comical comments went as far as “this is awesome, all this rock and stuff,” “wow, look at the afro!” and “hey, check out this guy with a neon hat, it’s bright!” For a comedian, he was truly unfunny and all the Sonic radio hosts who took the stage with him outshone him in terms of comedy, engagement and energy making Mewes’ presence there completely unnecessary.

Picking up on schedule again, Pittsburgh’s Girl Talk came on and turned the show into a dance party with his mash up of old pop, rock and hip-hop. Joined by a crowd of dancers from the crowd – some who could dance and others who worked as comedic relief – the DJ seemed out of place in the afternoon sunlight; and while his music and performance was way better than expected, it would’ve been better in a crowded nightclub as opposed to a giant parking lot.

Metric were the first of the four main headliners and successfully brought the concert back into the “modern rock” theme despite their eighties-electro-pop leanings. Front woman Emily Haines was in top form as she belted out tracks like Help I’m Alive, Gimme Sympathy, Stadium Love and Monster Hospital. Her vocals were strong and her presence energetic and for the first time in the five times I’ve seen them live, she didn’t come off as extremely strange which was a definite bonus.

Scotland’s Franz Ferdinand put on a solid performance, despite some technical troubles, including a fantastic drum combo where all four members helped themselves to a piece of the drum kit; but it wasAlexisonfire that really ripped it. The hardcore act was frantic and spastic as the tore through tracks like We Are The Sound and Young Cardinals and even had helped from members of Billy Talent onThis Could Be Anywhere In The World and another track that I forget. Bassist Chris Steele seemed possessed as he flew across the stage, spitting gobs of spit everywhere. George Pettit was the epitome of an angry, but comical, front man as he climbed the stage, ripped of his shirt and taunted the crowd. The entire band was chaotic and shredding it like there was no tomorrow, making it Alexisonfire‘s best set in Edmonton for some time.

As the sun finally set for the day and the night came in, Billy Talent played Edmonton for the first time in a 20 odd months and opened their set with Devil In A Midnight Mass – a change from their normal opening of How It Goes which instead made an appearance in the encore. The Toronto quartet mixed and mashed their old and their new, going from The Ex into Saint Veronika with little hesitation but as always it was the singles of Try Honesty, River Below, Rusted From The Rain, Devil On My Shoulder, Nothing to Prove, Fallen Leaves and Red Flag which really got the crowd going. That’s not saying they didn’t react positively to The Dead Can’t Testify, Definition Of Destiny, Surrender or This Suffering, after all, the onslaught of crowd surfers never once wavered throughout their entire set.