Well, it’s that time of year again. We’re back to school and that means buying books, registering for classes and the legendary music festival, Sonic Boom!
It’s the festival where we are able to have one final hurrah before summer ends. In the cramped spaces of the festival, friendships are born, memories are made and the love of music is so thick in the air you can smell it (Or maybe that’s just all the weed). I have been going to Sonic Boom for three years now and consider myself a seasoned veteran. The mosh pits have put hair on my chest, the food has made my mouth water and the music has made me shed a tear (a manly one) once or twice.
This year, our city was home for a night to a wide variety of artists, some having their first experience in Edmonton! The question I’m always asked by my friends who couldn’t make it is “How was it then?” Well this article is for me to tell you!
We start off Day 1 with some chilly weather and pop alternative from the Royal Foundry which started as a duo and then became a band based in our lovely city. They made a good first listen to the festival – easy on the ears and entertaining. Not long after came an indie rock band from Toronto, Wildlife! They lived up to their name with their performance, delivering a feeling of having an adventure in the wilderness with a couple of friends for a weekend. Highlights from their set included lead vocalist Dean Povinsky’s giddy banter and the rocking amp-busting nostalgic sound of “Born to Ruin” and their hit “Lightning Tent.” It was a wonderful performance.
The New Zealand quintet The Naked and Famous delivered their beautiful chill sound that they are known for. Highlights include the songs “Punching in a Dream” and “Young Blood.”
Now onto July Talk, the Toronto band known for the dichotomy in their songs and wild live performances. Edmonton native Peter Dreimanis’s deep guttural yell and Leah Fay’s soft loving call make them one of the most unique and interesting bands out there. Their live blues alt-rock performance doubles the experience of listening to the band. Highlights were the lead singers’ intense back and forth and songs from their new album like “Picturing Love” and the surprise singer from the audience who sang Leah’s part in “Paper Girl.” If you are reading this, please come find me. Your beautiful voice haunts my dreams!
The big headliner that had people waiting outside the gates for hours? Twenty One Pilots! They rocked, starting off their set with “Heavydirtysoul,” the first track from their latest album, Blurryface. They brought the house down! At one point, the lead singer, Tyler Joseph, vanished, only to appear seconds later in the sound booth across from the stage. These guys really take performing to a new level, drumming on a kit held up by the crowd and roll-ing through the audience in a giant hamster ball! They finished with their classic, “Trees,” a powerful way to end the night!
Day 2 started with a band called Syd Arthur, whose lead singer looks almost identical to Blake Anderson from Workaholics. A solid jazzy performance.
Modern Space had an energetic cutting performance despite the hangovers they were rocking from X-fest. BANNERS had wonderful crowd interaction and a hard pop sound that got everyone in the mood for a dance! Jake Bugg made the girls scream and the guys shout! That twangy British style made for a great performance. If you like the Beatles, Johnny Cash and the Arctic Monkeys, you’ll love Jake Bugg.
Arkells came in firing with lots of songs from Morning Report, their new record. The Hamilton band gave the night the energy it needed! At one point, Max Kerman crowd surfed while singing! Arkells never disappoint!
The last of the night was the legendary Lumineers with their first performance in Edmonton. The crowd was tighter than I have ever felt in any concert, figuratively and literally. To start off their set they played a new song “Sleep on the Floor,” followed by Ophelia! The night had everything from playing a Bob Dylan cover on a small side stage to a US election joke in their song “The Big Parade.” They changed the lyrics to “vote for her, the candidate!” And singing happy birthday to Neyla the cello player with a voice like honey! They ended the night with “Stubborn Love.”
Everyone put their phones away and joined as music lovers in singing the final chorus a beautiful end to a great festival.
Until next time, Sonic Boom!
– Bernie Bernhardt
– Image from Postmedia