by Laura Feeney
Worthwhile Canadian music festivals are not limited to big cities in Ontario or British Columbia.
This weekend I had the opportunity to check out the first night of FredRock – a two-day rock festival held in the often overlooked city of Fredericton, New Brunswick. With performances from Poor Young Things, Walk Off the Earth, Matt Mays, Awolnation, and Matthew Good, I knew I was in for a treat.
After a night of fabulous musical performances, my only regret was not having a ticket for Saturday night’s lineup, featuring the Carleton Stone Band, Elliott Brood, The Sheepdogs, The Trews, and the legendary Steve Earle.
I arrived just in time to see Walk Off the Earth take the stage. Like most of the audience, I was curious to see whether they could live up to their YouTube fame and had my fingers crossed that they would perform their cover of Goyte’s Somebody that I used to know. I was not disappointed – and the live version was just as spectacular as its YouTube counterpart. After their high-energy set, which included songs from their upcoming album, well-known covers, and their signature instrument tosses, I wondered how the day could get any better.
Eastern Canadian rocker Matt Mays and El Torpedo took the stage just before dusk. FredRockers were treated to old favourites including an acoustic turned full-band version of Travellin’ and lively new tracks from his upcoming album Coyote. Mays was unmatched in showmanship; striking all of the classic rocker poses while wowing the audience with his guitar skills. And did I mention his good looks? He certainly had all the ladies talking.
Awolnation was the only non-Canadian group to preform on Friday night – although no one present seemed to mind. Their electronic-rock sound was met with enthusiasm by the ever-swelling crowd filled with people letting loose and dancing to the beat. Their hit song Sail has been playing on repeat inside my head since Friday – though I must say that their set-list included many more upbeat songs that were much more enjoyable.
The audience was absolutely packed by the time headlining Canadian rocker Matthew Good took the FredRock stage. He captivated audience for nearly two hours with his new and greatest hits – an excellent conclusion to a fantastic evening of rock!
FredRock was lucky to host such a varied line-up of accomplished and up-and-coming musicians this year. The event itself was so seamlessly organized that I might have forgotten that I was in my tiny hometown if it weren’t for the constant stream of friends and familiar faces. I am pleased to have had the chance to enjoy such great performances in my hometown and I can’t wait to see what the organizers have in store for us next year.
Hope to see you there!