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Close to The Edge
by Jeffrey Czum
Edgefest 2015 coming to Outer Harbor next Saturday
Music festivals have become as essential to summer in Buffalo as snow tires in winter; it’s just part of who we are. What makes Buffalo’s summer music festivals great is the beautiful weather and watching your favorite bands play in a truly unique setting—say, the Outer Harbor, the concert site for 103.3 radio’s Edge Fest 2015.
On Saturday (9/12) at 3pm, (with the help of Chris Ring of After Dark and Funtime Presents promoters Donny Kutzbach and Artie Kwitchoff) the epic waterfront concert Edge Fest will be bringing Rise Against, Modest Mouse, Coheed and Cambria, Our Lady Peace, Sheepdogs, Highly Suspect, Made Violent, and BOOTS to the outer harbor.
For the last 15 years, Chicago’s Rise Against has been bringing fury and thunder to punk and rock and roll. After a brief hiatus, the band released their seventh album, The Black Market to critical and commercial acclaim and scored their second No. 1 Billboard Top Rock record. With their relentless touring schedule, Rise Against show no signs of stopping and prove, like a fine wine, they are getting better with age.
As the stage lights illuminate and the the sun sets over Lake Erie, expect to see a band that is arguably one of the tightest acts a punk fan can watch live.
Having first seen Rise Against on Warped Tour 2003, and again just last year, I can tell you that their stage show still has as much passion and high-octane energy as it did back when studded belts, mohawks and blue hair were considered “edgy.”
Fans come out in droves, ready and willing to scream along and crowd surf from the first to final notes. There’s just something about the driving guitars, fast paced punk drumbeats and anthem like choruses that will make anyone’s blood pressure start to rise.
“Personally, this is my favorite Edge Fest we’ve ever put on,” says Jim Kurdziel, program director of The Edge. “As a station we’re now more alternative with some older stuff in the mix. This line up is definitely in tune with that. Rise Against and Modest Mouse are really great bands to have.
“I always thought that if we weren’t a radio station, there could still be an Edge Fest,” he says. “It’s a brand now. We’ve had bands play on the radio show in the past that later express great interest in playing the festival. That’s actually how we got Modest Mouse on board. They don’t normally play radio shows, but everyone knows Edge Fest is different. It’s the relationship we have between the brand and the promoters we have working. It’s great to be a part of and they just couldn’t say no.”
After their performance at Asbury Hall back in April, the Indie/rock band from Issaquah, Washington, Modest Mouse showed great interest in making a return to Buffalo. Considering they sold out that show in under twenty minutes, the Outer Harbor will be a much more appropriate spot for you to catch them in action.
When describing the classic Modest Mouse sound to friends, you may use the words “groundbreaking,” or “brilliant.”
On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon (fitting, huh?), I actually heard a young hipster woman say “Have you heard the recent Modest Mouse record? It’s so ahead of its time.”
It almost felt like an episode of Portlandia.
But, you can’t dispute it. The band stands out from anything you’ll ever hear and their live performance surely captures the raw energy and emotion of the music.
Modest Mouse began life as humbly as its name suggests, and after a couple of trial-and-error years, the members of the band set out to create strange and compelling songs that listeners have come to love. Their first two albums, 1996’s This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About and the 1997 breakthrough The Lonesome Crowded West, Vocalist Isaac Brock’s smart, cynical and witty lyrics sharpened fine new points on God, booze, and loneliness.
They just released their latest LP, Strangers to Ourselves, earlier this year, but don’t you dare call it a comeback.
Brock will be the first to tell you that they never really went away in the first place. The band just stopped making records for a while, taking on the right mix of touring, soundtrack work, and home-studio construction to stave off an official hiatus.
“Once Rise Against and Modest Mouse were secured, we began seeing interest from other acts wanting to play Edge Fest,” Artie Kwitchoff says.
“July Talk was just here with Spoon and absolutely loved it,” Kwitchoff said. “They wanted to come back right away. The Sheepdogs expressed great interest in returning to Buffalo after they couldn’t make it to their Canalside performance due to immigration issues and Our Lady Peace actually approached the Edge about returning for something bigger than just a club show. They are actually the perfect band for Edge Fest.”
Best known for their late ‘90s hits “Superman’s Dead” and “Clumsy,” the Canadian rock/alternative group is no stranger to Buffalo. They’ve performed multiple Edge Fests in the past as well as other local festival shows packed with thousands of fans.
Our Lady Peace couldn’t be a better representation of everything the 103.3 Edge stands for.
“All the bands just came together and the lineup is something we’re all extremely proud of,” said Kwitchoff.
“It’s pretty rare to see four legit headliners on a radio festival that isn’t in a major city,” Ring says.
“Rise Against and Modest Mouse were our two go to headliners from the beginning. The fact that their schedules worked out to where we could find a date that worked for both of them was shocking. We were super excited to lock them in and once we had our co-headliners, everything came together perfectly.
Edge Fest will have two stages set up this year, which allows bands to play a little bit longer.
“It enables everyone to play a full set while the other stage is setting up for the next act,” said Kwitchoff. “It may come at a price for us, but we feel it’s for the best when you have that many bands performing. It will only be 5 minutes between sets as opposed to 45 minutes changeovers.”
“This year is going to be great,” says Ring. “Being on the waterfront is my favorite thing about the Outer Harbor concert site. The water, the boats and sunset will make an amazing backdrop for a concert event. It makes it feel really special.”
Over the years, Edge Fest has taken place in various spaces around the city including LaSalle Park, Coca Cola Field, Convention Center, etc. Edge Fest now has a home that’s just a short drive over the skyway.
Since After Dark and Funtime acquired the Outer Harbor for concerts and festivals, we’ve seen acts like Girl Talk, Black Keys, Weezer, Vampire Weekend and many more come through our city.
“We’re extremely lucky to work with them. It’s a dream team,” said Kurdziel, “They understand how to create a great event in Buffalo. We wouldn’t have a lineup this incredible without them. Things have changed in Buffalo. Top ranked bands actually want to come here now. Buffalo is finally getting the concerts it deserves.”
“We’ve been busier than ever,” Kwitchoff said. “Thank God bands look at Buffalo as a city they have to play. 10 years ago, they may have just passed over Buffalo. Now they want to play here.”
It’s about time.
School might be back in session, but summer isn’t officially over for another three weeks. Edge Fest is the perfect event to help fight your end of summer blues.
|North Stage||South Stage|
For more info and tickets, you can visit Outerharborconcerts.com
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