Edgefest Vancouver Hoko’s, Vancouver BC April 5

For some 20 years, Edgefest has been a relative constant on the corporate rock scene, boasting big acts, big sponsors and even bigger beer gardens. But since the annual festival isn’t heading west this year, Vancouver did the only reasonable thing: put on its own mock Edgefest. Only instead of thousands of attendees flocking to some massive, impersonal venue, 100 or so Vancouverites filled a sushi bar, outfitted with two stages, a "chill-out room” and a chef named Hoko. And in the place of Stone Temple Pilots, the never-going-platinum, but nonetheless edgier, Mount Eerie, headlined the three-hour, eight-band fest. To set the night in motion and keep that way was an eclectic cast of local acts, who took and left the stage at a dizzying pace. The tropically inclined No Gold made a brilliant display of putting Graceland rhythms and dub-tinged grooves to an indie rock template. Organisers International Falls injected complex, leftfield arrangements into catchier-than-thou pop. And Blocks Recording Club’s Steve Kado brought an intense burst of chaos with his iPod-fuelled electro/personal meltdown. Then, with the fog machines working overtime, Mount Eerie’s Phil Elverum took Stage 1. Clad in white and sporting shades straight out of Ferris Bueller, the Anacortes native proceeded to — for lack of a fancier word — rock, leaving his usual quiet for a surprising new loud. While his soft-natured voice remained intact, Elverum broke out some entirely crunchy, Neil Young-styled rocks jams, with members of No Gold and International Falls serving as his Crazy Horse. It was sound that fit the songwriter well, shining a welcomed new light on his complex, back-to-nature tales. And while Elverum continued his in-concert tradition of only playing unrecorded "weak-ass new songs,” he did leave a stunning parting gift for this stunning festival — an amped-up and punked-out rendition of perhaps his most beloved track, the Microphones classic, "The Moon.”