Vancouver's punk rockers, Hedley, played to a sold out crowd at London's Cowboy Ranch on Wednesday night. Headed up by, Jacob Hoggard, the second runner up on the 2004 season of Canadian Idol, a title Hoggard wishes would go away. However, there's no denying that Jacob and the newly formed Hedley wouldn't be where they are now without the reality show's exposure. Just ask Cory, 18, who was there to see Hedley live for the first time, "I hadn't heard of Hedley before he [Jacob] was on Canadian Idol. I got turned on to [his music] during that show and started to follow the band after." Twelve year old, Emily gushes, "I'm here to see Jacob, I saw him on Idol and he's so sweet and their [Hedley's] music is great." Her mom, Lisa, agreed, "I actually like the whole CD. Jacob reminds me of another Canadian, Scott Weiland." While these fans were here to see Hedley, they were curious about another Vancouver based band, Faber.
Faber kicked off the night with a 30-minute set of punk-tinged pop rock. This four-piece young group was cute and sweet, traits that are sure to win over their young female fan base. Surprisingly, Faber's rendition of the Cutting Crew classic "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight" was a real treat to those thirtysomethings who still remember the song. Through some mic troubles and incoherent gibberish, the boys did a mediocre job of slowly heating up the crowd.
Next up was MXPX, a band that originated in Washington, and has been around the music scene for twelve years now. Seasoned veterans of the stage, the trio know how to get a crowd pumped. It was obvious that MXPX were well known in London and from the moment they hit the stage, they had the audience rapt. From the circle pit slam dancing to the girls passing out from the pure heat of the moment, they left no doubt that we were at a heavy punk rock gig. When the band closed with their version of the Proclaimer's "I Would Walk 500 Miles", the crowd did not want to let them go and cheered for an encore that never came. Who were the headliners again? MXPX could have easily played for the rest of the night but I don't know if the audience would have survived.
Hedley hit the stage next and in true Jacob Hoggard style, he was piggy backed onto the stage. Dressed in a bright pink tank top with the words "Hedley Sucks" on the front, this guy really doesn't take himself too seriously, which is part of his charm. Pink seemed to be the theme of the evening as Dave Rosin, guitarist, had on a pink polo shirt and Tommy Mac, bassist, had a pink hat on. Drummer, Chris Crippin, prefers to be shirtless; his fans seem to like him like that too.
The band burst right into the aggressive "I Don't Believe It" and followed right up with the similar-sounding rocker "Sugar Free". Known for his over the top stage antics, Jacob did not disappoint; spitting in guitarist, Dave's hair and then retrieving the goober to slick back his own hair *shudder*. Spitting seemed to be his annoying habit for the evening, something most would find revolting but didn't seem to bother his band mates or the people in the front row.
The band went on to play all the songs from their debut, self titled, CD and sounded impressive live. Fans were positively pleased to hear their favourites, "Trip" and the newly released single "321". One lucky young lady was whisked onto the stage by Hoggard and duct taped to his wrist as he sang Hedley's hit "On My Own". Although it looked like her arm may be yanked out of its socket as he led her all over the stage, performing with his Mick Jagger style, she certainly didn't seem to mind.
As the evening came to a close, the band exposed, to some extent, a softer surface as they performed the ballad, "Gunnin", acoustically. Drummer, Chris Crippen, got intimate at the front of the stage to showcase his talent on the guitar for the song. Hedley are definitely on their way to making "it" as they are nominated for two Junos and are set to perform on the show on April 2 but like it or not this idol-in-denial would not be where he is without a certain reality competition.
Visit www.hedleyonline.com for more information.
Writer: Lisa Kerr