First up on Day 1 of FredRock on Friday afternoon were The Poor Young Things. Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario they put on a good little rock show. I honestly didn’t know much about them, so thanks to FredRock for exposing me to these guys. They’re worth paying attention to.
After Poor Young Things was the highly anticipated Walk Off The Earth. And for only being the second act of the festival they almost stole the show. Highlights would include when both Sarah and Giovanni hopped in the crowd while never missing a beat, and of course their cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know” with the entire band all simultaneously playing the one guitar.
Next up was Halifax’s Matt Mays, and in my opinion he could have headlined the entire show. He played songs that everyone could sing along to, and interacted with the crowd, having a chorus sing-off on the song “On The Hood” between the beer garden side and the dry side (which he referred to as the loser side). Another great part to mention was when he brought on Fredericton’s own Andy Brown and the Poor Young Things onstage for a song. Great show from Matt Mays.
AWOLNATION was next, and they can only be described as loud. Being in the front row for these guys almost hurt, the force coming out of their amps honestly made it hard to take a breath at times. The constant wave of bass straight at me rattled my innards, they totally had a Spinal Tap “turn your amps to 11 moment”. At the time, I was only familiar with their monster hit “Sail” but like the rest of what I heard.
The closing act for Friday was Matt Good, who as a performer never lets you down. I’ve seen him a couple times before. He played many favourites even though he couldn’t play them all. He made the great point that all of these other bands only have a couple albums to choose their set list from, Matt Good has 13. So obviously we’re not going to get to hear the entire catalogue. As long as he played “Everything is Automatic” I would have been happy. And a concert goer actually somehow got past security and climbed on top of the stage! Good paused after finishing playing “Alert Status Red” so security could get him down safely, cause y’know, safety first.
And that wrapped up Day 1 of FredRock. The only part that sucked was that I had to get up and go to work in the morning. I was not functioning at the proper level Saturday morning after only a couple hours of sleep. I hope my boss isn’t reading… But it’s nothing a little Day 2 of FredRock wouldn’t cure the following night.
FredRock Day 2 started off with Cape Breton’s Carlton Stone. He was a fun one to watch. AND he’s got a contest going now that you can win a Carleton Stone show at your home!
Up next were Elliot Brood, a trio from Toronto. But don’t let their snappy outfits fool ya, these guys are real musicians, their set constantly changing from mandolin, guitars, ukulele and banjo. The singer Mark Sasso even brought out the kazoo for a song… like a boss. I really really REALLY liked these guys. October 18th they’re in Halifax and I really recommend you go. Check for more details.
Besides Steve Earle, The Sheepdogs were the band I was looking most forward to for the weekend. And they followed Elliot Brood. The Sheepdogs will be THE hairiest band you’ll ever see. And seeing them you’d think they just travelled here from 1972. And even a lot of their songs have a vintage rock sound. It was great seeing them live. Completely lived up to my expectations.
The Trews followed The Sheepdogs. I think Nova Scotia was well represented this weekend, eh? The Trews always put a show, playing all their hits. Coolest part of the weekend was when they brought out The Sheepdogs and Matt Mays for a song. It was one crowded stage, but what a great moment for Canadian rock.
Last up was the man of the weekend, the legendary Steve Earle and the Dukes. As most of you know, I’m a rock n’ roller, so many people questioned why I was so excited to see him. But I grew up listening to him. The way I explained it was, when it comes to Daddies and their little girls, most got lullabys. I got Steve Earle. That’s just the way it was in the Bond residence, and I’m thankful for that.
So hats off to FredRock 2012, Fredericton was the place to be this weekend for music. Definitely the biggest FredRock to date, and already looking forward to next year.