FRISCO Now in its 23rd year, Edgefest has the formula down pat.
Front-load the day with a sprinkling of buzz bands, stir in some beloved elder states-acts, and cap the whole thing off with a white-hot band of the moment. Surveying the 20 bands that populated the two stages set up at either end of FC Dallas Stadium on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and evening, the Dallas-based 102.1 FM “The Edge” accomplished its mission.
Like the radio station it represents, Edgefest offers something for rock fans of every stripe. Saturday’s headliner, Phoenix, and up-and-comers like Fitz and the Tantrums, Atlas Genius and Youngblood Hawke appease the listeners who grouse the station has lost touch with its hipster tastes, while bands like Bush, the Deftones and A Day to Remember soothe those in search of nothing more than an opportunity to crowdsurf and headbang.
Edgefest 23 easily mixed the old and the new and kept the crowd of a few thousand happily flinging themselves and other objects into the air at each end of the field. Although the night was plagued by time overruns (Phoenix took the stage almost 45 minutes after they were scheduled to go on, but didn’t spare the bombast), no one seemed to mind. The line-ups for each stage featured a variety of styles, although the smaller, second stage favored the loud and heavy. The second stage headliners, the Deftones, delivered an emotionally charged set, performing just weeks after the death of founding bassist Chi Cheng.
Standouts included A Day to Remember’s intense, pummeling thrash (complete with set-ending rolls of toilet paper chucked into the roiling audience), Paramore’s frenetic main stage performance (lead singer Hayley Williams seemed to sum up the day when she crawled to the lip of the stage and seethed “There’s a time and a place to die/And this ain’t it”) and Bush’s surprisingly muscular showing, although lead singer Gavin Rossdale, the remaining original member along with drummer Robin Goodridge, has a penchant for drawing songs out past the point of interest. Most notably, a healthy portion of the Edgefest crowd headed for the exits after Bush’s hour-long set -- perhaps Edgefest should’ve ended the day with the well-received rockers.
Formulas, like cliches, work because there’s an inherent element of truth to them. The 23rd installment of Edgefest didn’t break with the tradition of years past, but only reinforced whatever opinion you likely already hold about the Dallas radio station. Whether you like it loud, or prefer your bands under the radar, the Edge’s annual celebration made sure you heard it Saturday.