Over The Weekend: Edgefest 21 at Pizza Hut Park

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Edgefest 21 with Jane's Addiction, Weezer, Social Distortion, Flogging Molly and others
Pizza Hut Park in Frisco
April 30, 2011

Better than: staying at home, engaged in a rousing game of Tetris.

Every year, in the cruel summer heat, KDGE-102.1-FM The Edge's annual Edgefest concert draws large crowds for equally large acts, and this year's event at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco was no exception.

Hot Topic-clad teenagers, grungy degenerates, and hardcore alt-rock fans gathered even in the earlier hours for a day filled with music, smoke and booze.

The real highlights of the day, however, started shortly after 5 p.m., as Los Angeles' Celtic punk rock heores, Flogging Molly, took to the smaller of the venue's two stages. It seemed odd that Flogging Molly was billed to play so early; they drew a very large and energetic crowd. Fans danced a jig, crowd surfed and moshed as if their lives depended on it, while the band merrily played the popular songs off of their catalog. "Drunken Lullabies," "Devil's Dance Floor" and "What's Left of the Flag" were the biggest crowd favorites in a set also filled with tracks off of the band's upcoming, unreleased album.

Almost a blink after Flogging Molly had finished their set, Seether began on the main stage, with the crowd quickly moving stages to catch the act. Seether's performance was nothing out of the ordinary, right down to their Nirvana cover (this time, it was "Heart Shaped Box"). The crowd didn't seem to care, though, as they danced and sang along to the songs that they were so familiar with.

After Seether, a small chunk of the fans left the audience, ditching the next band only to come back for Weezer's performance later on in the night.

The band that they ditched? Legendary punk rockers Social Distortion.

Except for a few, most that stayed for Social Distortion's set weren't really interested in the band onstage. They stood still and watched as the band played an otherwise engaging set, barely moving even for fan favorites like "Ball and Chain" and "Story of My Life."

The crowd's reaction to Weezer was a sharp contrast to that of Social Distortion; they danced, chanted and sang as Rivers Cuomo made jokes about having pizza parties. (Because this show was at Pizza Hut Park! Get it?) The band's radio hits were a huge success, but one of the more poignant moments of the night was when Cuomo tried to get the audience to sing a part of "El Scorcho," a popular song off of his band's second album, Pinkerton. The crowd didn't know the words. Interestingly, they had no such problem with newer songs "Beverly Hills" and "Pork and Beans."

Because of the earlier, less-than-thrilled reaction to Social Distortion, Jane's Addiction's set came with some worries: Would Edgefest attendees even stick around to see the headliner? Thankfully, that turned out not to be an issue. Some left, but the crowd remained close to its original size.

Good thing, too: Those that left early missed out on one of the best performances of the year.

As soon as the curtain for the main stage dropped, Jane's Addiction began their visual and aural assault on the audience. Background dancers dangled from the rafters, performing somersaults in the air, while the band launched into a gut-wrenching, mind-blowing set -- almost as if it was 1987 all over again.

It was truly a great way to end the night.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I found Weezer's last three albums incredibly disappointing. So yeah, I was there for Jane's Addiction.

By The Way: Among Rivers Cuomo's Pizza Hut Park jokes: "Sing it like you really want that pizza!" and "I think the Lord has a special pizza in store for you tonight!"

Random Note: The screens by the stage are nice for those of us who aren't sitting close enough to the stage to see the band. So it was really annoying that, about half of the time the screen was showing crowd shots (or more accurately, topless women) ,instead of the bands that were playing. Boobs are cool and all, but Jane's Addiction was onstage. Priorities.

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