Usually you can count on the radio industry's annual rollout of springtime showdowns to provide a couple of jolts of life across the drudgery of the pre-summer day-to-day. Not this year: This weekend both KDGE-FM's EdgeFest and the KISS-FM Party, each aimed at a different slice of the lucrative teen-market pie (but both perfectly willing to take a bite out of you if you're amenable to the idea), hit the Smirnoff Music Centre one after the other, with barely a minute to catch your breath or hit the ATM between them.
What's this mean for the music? Not much. On Saturday EdgeFest strong-arms its typical cavalcade of alt-rock ne'er-do-wells into abbreviated sets long on hits (or at least inclusive of one radio single), albeit with an emphasis on freshly scrubbed pop-punk: Good Charlotte and New Found Glory, taking a break from their joint Honda Civic Tour, headline, with good-looking upstarts the All-American Rejects, relative old-timers MxPx and ho-hum dependables the Riddlin' Kids providing three-chord support. Leftfield goth-metallists Evanescence appear, too, in case you were worried about that crucial 400-guys-to-1-girl ratio that always rescues these things from an imbalanced point of view. Crappy major-label hacks Seether and Socialburn are also on the schedule, as are soulless L.A. slicksters Maroon5, whose Songs About Jane makes me glad I'm not Jane but does make me wish I could afford better blue jeans.
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KISS-FM's Party on Sunday scoops up EdgeFest's unused diversity points: Though namby-pamby American Idol Kelly Clarkson is the big draw, we also get appearances by dancehall vet Wayne Wonder (whose effervescent "No Letting Go" is bringing him some overdue American attention), dance-pop young'un Stacie Orrico and hip-hop young'un Amanda Perez (whose serviceable records might seduce listeners unfamiliar with Paula Abdul and Alicia Keys), newly successful townies Bowling for Soup, London-based two-step heartthrob Daniel Bedingfield and rapper Fabolous, the absolute embodiment of de rigueur mainstream hip-hop. Who's calling in sick to work on Monday?