If Friday night of the Arizona Fall Frenzy was cougar town, Saturday was junior high and stoner central, as an army of underagers in skinny jeans (some with knit caps!) braved the heat to see a variety of rock acts.
Saturday was sponsored by local rock radio station FM 103.9, and the day replaced Edgefest that's taken place in past years. Bet a lot of people were happy they didn't have to drive all the way to Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek this year.
While the location was great, seriously, at how many concerts does 103.9 need to feature Authority Zero and Slightly Stoopid? The line-up felt a bit stale, though frequent Arizona perfomer Pepper was a hit with the smoke-covered crowd. What invigorated the festival was the reunion of Blink-182, who, after a four-year hiatus, came back to Arizona for the first time. The raunchy humor the band's known for wasn't absent from the now bonafide adults' banter.
"Do you remember how yours and my balls would hang lower and lower?" guitarist Tom DeLonge asked bassist Mark Hoppus, referring to how the Arizona heat messes with male anatomy in the summer.
The band satiated the crowd's hunger for hits, plowing through classics such as "What's My Age Again?", "Feeling This" and "The Rock Show" early on in the set.
Their strength was in performing slower songs such as "I Miss You" and "Stay Together for the Kids." More upbeat tracks sounded messy (DeLonge also admitted more than once that he failed to play songs correctly), but it was evident the band was genuinely happy and having a blast, despite that it was the one-year anniversary of the plane crash drummer Travis Barker was in, which killed the two pilots, his bodyguard and his assistant.
The crowd seemed stoked for the reunion, which ended with their smash, "Dammit." It's evident their hits will always be popular, but who knows if their upcoming album will be just as successful.
Unfortunately, it seemed for most of the Blink fans, the crowd had to endure Fall Out Boy first. The band was booed before they took the stage, and the dismal sound quality of the first four songs didn't help the cause much--fans could barely hear the vocals. The members seemed to give up on impressing the crowd.
"I understand not everyone's here to see us, and I don't blame you," singer/guitarist Patrick Stump said, before giving props to Blink.
He ran off the stage as soon as the show was over; guitarist Joe Trohman seemed bored; and bassist Pete Wentz was, for the first time in, well, forever, at a loss for words. Dude, maybe the crowd didn't like you because you complained about the heat but continued to wear a hoodie.
The band's high point was a cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing"--not a good sign.
The rest of the main stage show bore no surprises from past Edgefest's--same stoner and sex humor, same mediocre openers (in this case, Asher Roth and Anberlin) and same high school kids trying to get their aggression out through circle pits.
The best thing about Saturday's festival may have been the presence of a local stage, where energetic bands such as Peachcake, Captain Squeegee and Cousins of the Wize tore it up for enthusiastic crowds. That's something that was lacking yesterday, and it was great to see locals hold their own among the vets.
Sunday's final day of the Fall Frenzy includes headliners Social Distortion and Flogging Molly, two bands who have often graced Arizona stages. Check back for more coverage.