Sunday, August 19, 2012

Edgefest VIII!

Once again, Edgefest has set the bar high for quality metal music.  I watched every band and I didn't see or hear anything I didn't like.  The whole show turned out fantastic, as Edgefests tend to be.

But there was mud.  Mud everywhere.  On the ground, in the air, underfoot and overhead; there was mud.  At the main stage, pits of mud a foot deep and big as half a basketball court provided ample ammo for dirty mud slinging and the filthiest moshing ever seen. The whole thing looked like the physical manifestation of a political debate.

Some highlights:

The first band, Switchpin, opened the show with a bang.  What a killer kickstart!  Then the members spent the next several hours schmoozing with rockers at the merchandise tent. That's how you do it!  The band members were friendly, outgoing and happy to take photos and sign autographs. Front man Jimmy Trigger, worked the crowd like a seasoned professional. These guys are going places; keep an eye on them!

Mindset Evolution, one of the early opening bands, had a small mishap when bassist, Josh Bodeen, dislocated his knee and had to be carried off stage by paramedics.  In the back, the medics popped his knee back into place and he demanded they carry him back out onto the stage, where he sat on a monitor and finished the set.  Those guys earned some serious stage cred.

Veteran performers P.O.D. really had the crowd moving near the end of the openers.  It's good to see those stalwart, seasoned rockers getting the respect they deserve.

Adelitas Way ended up on the small stage for reasons unexplained.  It didn't matter.  They were off the chain! Lead singer, Rick DeJesus, told the crowd that they could have not played and still got paid, but they chose to hit the small stage and put on their show. That’s how you get fans and keep fans.  Their set was short, but energetic. This band is moving in the right direction.

Main attraction acts started with Papa Roach. These guys are veterans of festival stage music performance and they did not disappoint.  Front man Jacoby Shaddix clearly loves playing for Arkansas, and clearly, Arkansas loves Papa Roach.  For me, this band joins only REO Speedwagon in the list of rock acts I've seen three times.  Papa Roach rocks.

Staind lead singer Aaron Lewis nearly got nailed by a huge mud ball and stopped the show to call out the idiot who threw it.  He pointed him out specifically and, in what turned out to be an example of clear and effective communication, explained what a moron that guy was and why such a thing should not happen.  It worked.  The idiot in question slinked away, hopefully to hide and know never to do such a stupid thing again.  No one else threw another wad of mud at the stage. Staind played a great set.

Godsmack owned the crowd and practically blew up the stage. These guys know how to put on a rock show.  They did.  Two years ago, Sully and the boys convinced me that I should buy my first ever concert shirt: Godsmack.  If I hadn’t been wearing it, I’d have bought me another.  These guys are so good.

I've been wanting to see Shinedown for a long time. They did not disappoint.  I'd like to have seen a longer set, but all-in-all, they are serious about the live show and they know how to lay it down. Most impressive aspect: Shinedown lead singer, Brent Smith, did not ever use a swear word during the Shinedown portion of the show . No F this and MF that and GD the other.  Their whole show from start to finish was family friendly contemporary metal. That's another example of clear and effective communication.

What a great show!

(John P. Smith is a freelance writer from Bee Branch, Ark.  Check out his book, Ordinary Man, at