Kitchener Ontario’s McLennan Park was briefly home to some hard rock giants on Saturday. July 10th as Big Music Fest welcomed Hamilton’s Monster Truck, Alternative ground breakers Jane’s Addiction, and Seattle rockers Soundgarden to close out the festival.
Monster Truck have developed a solid performance style in a few short years that could easily see them shoulder to shoulder alongside any of the global giants of rock and metal, honing their sound and touring regularly (they stopped by close to home midway through a huge tour that sees them cross much of Europe and UK this fall). Winners of the 2013 Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the year, on the back of just two EPs, the band are clearly at the start of a long and hectic career. Monster Truck are a very impressive live act, with a youthful energy that is inspiring. In 28 degree heat they made it seem effortless as they engaged with the crowd and excitedly set the stage for the big acts to follow.
Monster Truck’s set primed the audience nicely for the singular Jane’s Addiction, a band who should need no introduction whatsoever; Jane’s emerged in 1986 L.A. and hit their stride in the period of 1987 to 1991 with two albums that defied any and all genre labels. Today, 25 years later, as the world has caught up with their experimental nature and big ideas, they are perhaps better understood as pioneers who are both groundbreaking and enduring. Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual are two albums that ought to be required listening to anyone who ever intends to pick up a guitar or considers their taste in music broad, or their understanding of modern culture and the issues of the day (which press even more today).
Jane’s brought the full stage circus befitting of the pioneers who invented the modern North American festival with Lollapalooza back in 1991, looking and sounding ageless and reminding us what we mean when we think of the exact music that is a perfect marriage with open air music festivals: it begins and ends with Ocean Size. Dancing girls with all the power in their strut that remind us what else was so great about the 90’s, threatened to upstage even these rock gods, but these guys are so damn good they even topped that by bringing out two extreme body suspension performance artists (Miss Crash who often tours with Jane’s Addiction, was one, we think) and carrying on with the show with the nonchalance of true big top ringleaders. Jane’s Addiction has been back together for a few years, to the delight and relief of the world who sorely needs them on that map of ours, and to the joy of devoted fans, and this show rivalled the very memorable first ever year of Lollapallooza in 1991.
Closing out Saturday was Soundgarden, who’ve been back together since 2010 after a 12-year break and released a comprehensive career-spanning 3 CD compilation box set in late 2014, hit the stage at dusk with a 17-song set that included Spoonman, and Black Hole Sun early on. As the park fell into cool darkness after a (finally!) beaming hot perfect summer festival day, Soundgarden took us home with Rusty Cage and Slaves & Bulldozers before disappearing into the black.
By Step On Magazine Editors. Photos by Dave MacIntyre.