Apparently, in Buffalo, if you build it, they will come.
The former site of the Pier, now known as the Buffalo Outer Harbor, hosted the 2012 edition of Edgefest on Sunday evening. The new venue - this was the second presentation at the site since promoters Fun Time Presents and After Dark teamed up, the first being the appearance of the DJ known as Girl Talk a few weeks back - welcomed what appeared to be a near capacity crowd. The show was presented in tandem with alt-rock radio station 103.3 the Edge FM.
First off, we should note that the new outer harbor site is beautiful. Even with a packed house, there's plenty of room to move, the waterfront is serene - particularly on an evening as idyllic as Sunday was - and attention has been paid to the ebb and flow of thousands of people. There was some stickiness in terms of traffic clogging up Route 5 on the way in, but once one exited onto Furhmann Boulevard, things flowed smoothly.
Since this was a radio station-based package, the bands appearing fell within a specific demographic target and genre - in this case, heavy alternative rock. Headliners Three Days Grace, Evanescence and Chevelle are in regular rotation on the Edge. It did indeed seem that the majority of those in attendance, while viscerally supportive of all the bands, had come mainly for Evanescence and Three Days Grace.
Evanescence is a band that mixes metal, goth-rock, and the sort of neoclassical metal that makes bands like Trans-Siberian Orchestra immensely popular. In singer Amy Lee, the band has a siren - the group's songs revolve around her hyper-dramatic delivery of melodies that favor long, sustained tones, and lyrics that present a bleak vision of romantic entanglement.
On Sunday, Evanescence proved itself to be an incredibly tight outfit, a band able to move effortlessly through challenging, grandiose epics, all of which seemed to please the crowd immensely.
Vocalist Lee is the focal point of the group. Her vibrato-heavy singing provided much of the music's dramatic action. But this was music with metal in its heart, and so drummer Will Hunt's histrionic, double-bass fueled performance kept things honest, in the hard-driving metal sense.
The opening trio of "What You Want," "Going Under" and "The Other Side" laid the template for the evening's drama. Dense, powerful, and unfailingly gothic, the music sought to create a twilit world where emotions ran high. It succeeded, for the most part.
Illinois metal outfit Chevelle offered what was likely the strongest set of the evening, depending on your taste. This band plays serious metal with alt-rock overtones, and its riffs were the strongest of the evening. Led by guitarist/vocalist Pete Loeffler, the group tore through a well-received set of grunge-inflected soul-metal, the high point of its set coming in the form of the bombastic but beautiful "Get Some."
Headliner Three Days Grace came on close to 10:30 p.m., which made it impossible to review the band's entire set in full, due to deadline constraints. The Canadian band took to the stage with an irreverent attitude, as frontman Adam Gontier queried the crowd - "Alright, Buffalo, who wants to see a rock show?"
In all, a more than pleasant night in a beautiful locale.