Edgefest 2104
Photo courtesy Grouplove

By Chuck Cox

Special Contributor

In the last 24 years, radio station KDGE‘s Edgefest has grown into a big-time, one-day music festival that is now older than most of the station’s target audience.

And it seems like the lineup gets bigger and better each April at Frisco’s Toyota Stadium. This year’s stellar showcase included something for everybody, culminating with headliner Beck.

Having recently released his 12th studio album, Morning Phase, Beck held his own with the younger bands on the bill. I thought it was an odd choice for him to open his one-hour set with two of his biggest songs, “Devil’s Haircut” and “Loser,” among the first four.

Even stranger was the fact he only worked in one song, “Blue Moon,” from the new album. ┬áBeck put on a solid show — and played a mean harmonica — but was far from getting the biggest reaction from the enthusiastic crowd.

That honor belonged to some of the younger bands, like Bastille, Cage the Elephant, Chrvches, the Neighbourhood and the fantastic Grouplove. For me, Cage and Grouplove had two of the three best sets of Edgefest, which is impressive considering they all had less than an hour on stage.

My other favorite show of the day was by one of my perennial favorites, the Avett Brothers. Even though a lot of the crowd on the floor was lined up at the second stage in anticipation of the Cage the Elephant show during their set, the Avett Brothers brought it for an hour with a wide array of songs from the band’s vast discography.

The Avett Brothers, who tour relentlessly, played 14 songs, closing with the sublime “I and Love and You.” If you aren’t familiar with this band, you really are missing out. I’m going to Red Rocks, in Morrison, Colorado, in July to see them two more times.

I missed the very first band on the bill, Smallpools, but caught every other one, which also included MS MR, Bear Hands, Switchfoot, J Roddy Walston & the Business, Kongos and New Politics.

Several band members throughout the day went out into the audience for an up close, personal experience. That included the Avett Brothers, who I had never seen do that before. Pretty cool. There was also a surprisingly low number of cover songs throughout the course of the day.

With two stages, there is no downtime between music. KDGE also runs the show with perfect efficiency, going off right on schedule from start to finish. That’s an impressive task.

I can’t wait to see what next year’s milestone Edgefest lineup has in store for us. There is not a better value for your concert ticket money in Dallas/Fort Worth.

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