Published Aug 05, 2009At the aptly-named Bingeman's camping resort, two tiny stages directly next to each other housed a fairly lacklustre line-up on the Saturday of this year's Cutting Edge Music Festival. It was a day of tribute acts parading as real bands, as the Stereos played the role of the Used's younger brothers with much gusto but little effect and Keeping 6 came across as a bad version of NOFX as the group butchered Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name Of."
By 6 p.m., the only positive thing that had happened was getting free nuts from the Budweiser girls, but thankfully the effervescent Andrew W.K. (pictured above) literally saved the day with his predictable but ever-enjoyable brand of mindless party music. While his neon-clad lady friend danced up a storm, the sweaty maniac involved the crowd as much as possible, even stealing a megaphone from a fan and using it to amplify his already deafening personality.
The much-hyped Smirnoff "dance warehouse" turned out to be a hotel's event hall, giving the Thunderheist show the feel of a substandard school disco, especially when Isis was forced to stop the show due to sound problems. The highlight of the night was seeing the electro singer draped over the tiny Lady Sovereign at 1 a.m., as the duo wove through the crowds with the meandering gait of people who've enjoyed themselves a little too much.
The lack of vegetarian food and any alcohol other than Budweiser threatened to make day two a complete blowout, but thankfully the bands playing were significantly better than the previous day. Thanks to their genius self-promotional methods of giving away free T-shirts to dirty, unprepared festival-goers, you would have sworn that Nathan Down were Sunday's headliners, as everyone in attendance seemed to be wearing their merch. Covering a couple of funny classics, including some Phil Collins, only enhanced the impact of their solid set to ensure they stuck in everyone's mind.
Between claiming allegiance to Kitchener by "revealing" that their drummer lost his virginity there last year and wowing the audience by throwing a surf board onto them and riding their wave of hands, Rebel Emergency provided another much-needed injection of fun with their ska goodness, as did veritable veterans Bedouin Soundclash. Bringing about the first real festival feel of the weekend by covering the Specials' "A Message to You Rudy" and some Ben E. King in the middle of their own excellent tunes, Bedouin made people really get their crowd surf on, culminating in one guy taking to the air in a patio chair.
It was the Roots that had everyone talking, though, and as a giant tuba announced the band's arrival, it was easy to get swept up in the enthusiasm. Their phenomenal set, which felt more jazz-funk than hip hop, included a drum-off between their bongo player and perhaps the calmest, happiest and most capable drummer ever.
As the fest began to wrap up, seeing Andy C's beaming face as he closed his astonishing headline set at 3 a.m. proved that he gets as much pleasure from his performances as everyone else does. More importantly, it helped to erase any of the negative memories.