A good heavy show was just what I needed to kick off the weekend after a few days of being stuck indoors with the current wild fires blazing in Alberta and making the air shit to breathe. I arrived at the show pretty early – I wanted to catch all the bands as I had only seen one of the four of them before.
Opening the night was 68. This heavy two piece had a pretty early start time of 6:30pm, but there was still a pretty good sized crowd starting to see them play.
Dance with the Dead was second to hit the stage. These guys were definitely a little different than the rest of the acts last night. With no vocals and just keyboards and guitars this synthwave group may have not been for everyone but from what I saw they had a good number of people moving along and headbanging to them.
Devin Townsend was the real treat of the night for me. Around the time Strapping Young Lad disbanded is when I was first introduced to Devin’s music. His whole set last night had the crowd singing along and then bursting in laughter seconds later. As this was an acoustic set Devin was able to really get intimate with the crowd. Even though he only had time for seven songs he was cracking jokes left, right and centre from everything about his marriage of 30 years to the 30 or more albums he has put out over the years.
Avatar was the real heavy hitter for the evening. Just like the last time I saw them they had a killer stage set up and killer lights, which makes it great for taking photos. This was only the second time Avatar has been through Edmonton; the first was in October of 2018 with Trivium and Light the Torch at the same location, the Ranch Roadhouse. Starting their set they opened up with “Glory To Our King” and had guitarist Jonas Jarlsby rise up in a throne out of the risers. Playing some of their singles like “A Statue of the King,” “Smells Like a Freakshow” and “Hail the Apocalypse,” they gave fans got their monies’ worth with a well over 15-song setlist.