Halifax Rocks 2010 Review by The Chronicle Herald

Last night, The Black Eyed Peas, Weezer and many other Atlantic Canadian favourites put on a show for a diverse 20,000 fans/ Unfortunately , Atlantic Canada Rocks was unable to be in attendance, so I am providing a review by The Chronicle Herald.


Rockin’ the Commons
Peas, Weezer give crowd of 20,000 what they came for
By STEPHEN COOKE Entertainment Reporter | Concert Review
Sun, Jul 25 – 4:53 AM

Fergie hits the stage at the Halifax Commons last night as headliner Black Eyed Peas performed during the Halifax Rocks 2010 concert. (Photos by TED PRITCHARD / Staff)

Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo is offered refreshments by fans watching Weezer perform on Saturday at the Halifax Rocks concert at the Commons in downtown Halifax. (Photos by Ted Pritchard / Staff)

WITH AN eclectic lineup like an old MuchMusic Big Shiny Tunes CD, the Halifax Rocks 2010 concert on the Commons drew a diverse crowd of over 20,000 fans of dance pop, indie rock and hip hop to soak up some rays and tunes from a roster topped by Black Eyed Peas and Weezer on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon and evening.

Originally the latter half of a two-day festival, before the cancellation of Friday’s Kid Rock/Counting Crows bill, there was still a festive atmosphere as concertgoers filled the grounds, wandering between far-flung tents set up to peddle food, beer and band merchandise.

Some creative fans bypassed the $40 T-shirts to create their own, like a group of Dartmouth teens who sported homemade tees featuring headliners Black Eyed Peas and titles of the R&B quartet’s hits. “They’re our favourite songs and they make us wanna dance,” said 15-year-old Kristin Turnbull, pointing out the words “PUMP IT LOUDER!!!” spread across the backs of her friends.

“It’ll be good music and a good time,” added her friend Kendra Saunders, who hoped the group would “play some of their oldies . . . from 2005.”

As B.C. indie pop band Hot Hot Heat took to the main stage under a beaming mid-afternoon sun, the flow of ticketholders onto the green space grew from a trickle to a stream, although singer Steve Bays took note of the sea of empty chairs in the VIP section on the left side of the stage.

“I don’t like playing this ‘which side of the crowd is better’ game,” he sighed, although he never stopped playing to either half, grinning like a mischievious kid through tunes steeped in classic Britpop sounds like JFK’s LSD and the plaintive cry of Goddess on the Prairie.

“We’re your hip-hop entertainment for the evening,” grinned Enfield rapper Classified, who didn’t have to work too hard to get the crowd moving right off the bat, although by the end of the set he and his fellow MCs Mic Boyd and J-Bru were soaked with sweat.

“Turn me up a little louder/Crank the amp to full power,” the triple-Juno nominee demanded in rhyme before steadily building in power to a finale of Anybody Listening and the b-boy’s rap of allegiance, O Canada, taking command of a sea of pumping hands extending out from the stage.

Setting the bar high for rock and roll front men, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo took over the concert site like a hyperactive 12-year-old after too many Fruit Loops, dashing through the crowd and climbing the video camera platform to the frenetic pace of Surf Wax America, and later clambering onto the adjacent B-stage to get closer to the general admission crowd during My Name Is Jonas, moving on to the nearby beer patio for Beverly Hills, where he was groped by a couple of obliging female fans.

Playing as a five-piece, with Vandals/Devo drummer Josh Freese sitting in for Patrick Wilson, now on lead guitar, Weezer stuck mainly to its hits, playing over half of its self-titled debut, throwing in covers of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face and MGMT’s Kids for good measure. It was an incredibly fun set, with Cuomo’s antics and the band’s obvious cameraderie making it one of the most grin-inducing rock performances Halifax has ever seen.

The space in front of the stage had consolidated into a solid mass by the time the Black Eyed Peas came onstage, as a nearly full moon rose in the sky like a giant disco ball.

With Let’s Get It Started, will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Fergie and Taboo emerged in spangled outfits as the chart-topping purveyors of peace, love and hedonistic abandon launched a humps-shaking assault on the senses. There were lasers, seizure-inducing visuals and robotic dancers transforming out of boomboxes, and that was just on Rock That Body.

Pounding bass and an immersive beat provided by both drummer and DJ turned the Commons into a gigantic dance floor for Imma Be and Shut Up, with Fergie humping the floor while singing “I’m trying to be a lady.”

There were lots of opportunities for the group to show its sensitive side — with the anthemic plea Where Is the Love, and Fergie giving full vent to her underrated pipes on Big Girls Don’t Cry, from her solo release The Dutchess — but ultimately the Black Eyed Peas were there to move bodies and when it comes to getting people to holler and lose themselves in the beat, style trumps substance every time.

At the start of the day, the crowd was still thin when Chad Hatcher got things going on the site’s B-stage at 2 p.m., but the Cole Harbour native’s mellow acoustic vibe, backed by conga beats and DJ IV, was an agreeable way to ease into the afternoon. With his raspy croon and tunes about kicking back with friends and enjoying a sip and a puff, he exuded a cool summery aura, although his tongue-in-cheek warning “Don’t do drugs though . . .” was met with a zealous cry of “Use them in moderation!”

Mellow is the last word you’d use to describe Halifax’s the Stanfields, who turned on the afterburners with a half-hour punk Ceilidh full of tales of backwoods ghosts, soldiers spilling blood on sunbaked foreign soil and, of course The Dirtiest Drunk (in the History of Liquor), which was greeted with cheers of recognition. They even got a few spritely jigs going in the mid-afternoon heat, although most were content to clap along and save their energy for later.

Like the Stanfields, Halifax’s Jimmy Swift Band was a refugee from the scuttled Friday show, but it found enough local fans in the crowd to hold a mini-Evolve Festival down front for its expansive mix of Craig Mercer’s charged guitar and Aaron Collier’s electronics. Cut Me Down, a new song from the next JSB CD due in September, was a good showcase for the symbiotic relationship between Mercer’s spare riffs and Collier’s buzzing keyboard, and The ’80s Runway Model took echoing chords and a hard dance beat into extended jam hyperspace.

Closing down the B-stage, Rich Aucoin took concert cheerleading to a new level with a set built on audience participation to accompany catchy electro pop tunes played by his band of knights in white cotton. Spurred on by double drumkits, the wiry singer launched himself off the stage on an inflatable mattress and gathered dancers under a rainbow-coloured parachute. Who knew those lessons from elementary gym class would come in handy some day?

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