The humid heat kicked off the show on August 17th at The Studio in a huge way, ensuring the crowd was moist with more than excitement. The audience trickled in for the early doors, which seemed well suited for the all ages crowd that gathered at the merch tables on the balmy Sunday night. We were all here for the same things, which were apparently heavy underage petting, the sweat off your neighbors back, and the Zero Fun Tour.
Local support Aura Amore were the first to take the stage, kicking their set off with an electronic intro that set the pace for a heavy yet harmonious performance. Lead singer Damon Grizzly wasn’t afraid to get involved or get emotional on stage, and the crowd responded well to his deep screams. The songs were engaging and performed well, but the energy seemed a little low, especially compared to some of the other acts on the bill .
Dusty Tucker exploded on the stage and quickly became a fan favorite, with an astounding performance that left everyone wanting more. The fun factor was undeniable, as the band got in the crowd’s faces and had a great time doing it. DT weren’t above teasing orgies and building applause with masterfully placed ‘clap’ messages, which only further enticed the party mentality of the audience. By the time my personal favorite – “Locked, Loaded, and Ready for Bear” – entered the set, the fans and band were playing off each other, with Dusty Tucker’s unique and energetic performance amping up the crowd for the second half of the show.
The first headliner of the Zero Fun Tour took the stage to an insane applause, as Night Verses kicked off their set with a frenetic pace that infected the packed venue. While there were a few brief power issues that interrupted “Rage”, frontman Douglas Robinson got the crowd involved while The Studio quickly fixed the issue. Impressively, Night Verses literally didn’t miss a beat and dropped right back into “Rage” full bore. The audiences’ energy started to form in the pit as Robinson played to the fans, and we were all delighted by this dynamic treat of the evening.
Last but most definitely not least, Norma Jean took to the stage as the crowd began to lose their collective shit. The Studio was already a packed and sweaty mess of bodies, which only increased as the fans started moving as a whole. Norma Jean delivered an intense show that truly showcased their musical versatility. It was a great mix of songs, ranging from albums like “Bless the Martyr & Kiss the Child” to their latest release, “Wrongdoers”. By the midpoint of the performance the crowd was moving like a damaged rotary engine, with elbows and fluids flying crazily in the circle pit. By the time “Sword in Mouth, Fire Eyes” hit, I had long given up on taking pictures and fell into the flow of the pit.
Frontman Cory Brandan briefly explained the fan reaction when tour dates were initially announced and the Canadian west coast was largely unvisited, until additional dates were added, including Edmonton. Brandan acknowledged the fans and thanked them, and even went so far as to state the show at The Studio in Edmonton was one of the best of the tour. Feel proud, my fellow Edmonton music lovers.
Many thanks to Raised Fist Productions for continually bringing great bands to Edmonton, and The Studio Music Foundation for once again providing a great venue with fantastic sound for the Edmonton music scene. And of course, huge thanks to the bands for an entertaining and frankly exhausting night of music.
Images: Scott Fraser/WordMerc Studios