The 8th Annual Big Music Festival wraps up a week-long celebration with a grungy ending.

The final day of the festival concluded with a mix of heavy metal and grunge featuring The Mohrs, Glorious Sons, Extreme, Monster Truck, Jane’s Addiction, and Seattle stalwarts Soundgarden. Carrying forward the momentum of last year’s event, the crowd was eager for the bands to take the stage. Unlike some summer festivals, this event had plenty of food, washroom facilities, and space for the fans to unleash their energy; truly a welcome pleasure for this reviewer.

Mother Nature co-operated fully with sunny blue skies and temps in the mid-80s, which made for a perfect day of kick-ass rock n’ roll. Unfortunately, for the barefoot lead singer of The Glorious Sons, Brett Emmons, it also made for a blistering set. Emmons and the rest of the Kingston-based band had the crowd fired up as they rolled through their hits including Mama and Heavy.

Monster Truck was fresh and ready to kill it when they hit the stage. Their high energy and enthusiasm rolls straight out into the crowd like the power of a tsunami hitting a beach and only dips when they switch gears to some of their more soulful blues-based tracks, but even then their hard edge maintains.

Gary Cherone and the gang from Extreme, always deliver to their fans, and this show was no exception. They had the crowd up and rocking from the first note of “Decadence Dance” straight through to “Get the Funk Out.” Cherone’s performance is reminiscent of Queen’s Freddie Mercury, with his non-stop movements, great vocal range, and use of the mic stand as the prop of choice. Cherone is complimented by the guitar wizardry of Nuno Bettencourt, who claimed “they were getting paid by the note,” as he launched into a screaming 10-minute solo. Money well spent by the promoters.

Dressed in a royal blue zoot suit and hat, Perry Farrell commanded the stage for Jane’s Addiction’s entire set. Opening with Up the Beach from their 1988 debut album, Nothing’s Shocking, Navarro seemed to be in the zone as he ripped on his axe. The 11-song set included such hits as “Been Caught Stealing,” “Coming Down the Mountain,” “STOP!” and finally closing with an acoustic guitar/steel drum version of “Jane Says.” In typical Jane’s fashion, the show was filled with Farrell’s banter, a pair of scantily dressed backup dancers, and the sideshow act of two woman flying through the air suspended from the light rigging by hooks through their backs.

Closing out the day was Soundgarden and this reviewer’s favorite rock lead singer Chris Cornell. After witnessing all of the previous high energy acts throughout the day, Soundgarden stood in contrast with a more sedate performance. Even so, there were a few notable high points with “Jesus Christ Pose” and “Rusty Cage.”

This is the second year in a row the festival has landed in Kitchener and festival president Mark Higgins says it is here to stay and is already excited and quick to announce that next year’s line-up will be another killer show.

Big Music Fest
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