Photos by Andrew Chin
When Abbotsford pop-punk rockers Hedley return to the area, you can bet the party would be a good one. The energy was electric as the band hit the stage at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena for a hometown party like you would expect from Canada’s favourite punk pranksters. This was Hedley’s grandest tour to date, complete with a catwalk, LED screens and a rickety rowboat. And what it showed was a band in the midst of going from being just another cool band to something much more relevant and exciting.
Opening the tour-closing celebration with a medley of older favourites, the band jumped into their newer material quickly, mostly avoiding songs from their first three albums. Aside from the chaotic and hyper stage antics of vocalist Jacob Hoggard, Hedley is cranking out some pretty mature and dramatic music lately, sounding nothing like that band from the first few albums. The pierced and tattooed Hoggard wore a skinny tie, sleeveless white shirt and leather jacket for most of the evening.
They plowed through about 23 songs, including their hit single Invincible, which got the crowd of mostly teen girls, singing along. Hoggard performed on a stylish red baby grand piano at times and tipped his hat to Canadian Idol with a small musical reference to David Bowie’s Space Oddity during a country version of the hit Hands Up. Older fans would have enjoyed the Space Oddity reference, which was one of Hoggard’s highlights from his stint with Idol several years back.
The stage featured thundering sounds and bursts of steam, as well as the afore mentioned rowboat, which made an appearance for acoustic versions of All You Get Is Sound and Beautiful. During the acoustic set, the band members – Hoggard, guitarist Dave Rosin, bassist Tommy Mac and drummer Chris Crippin – were dressed in bright yellow raincoats and matching hats.
In the audience Lexie Doolan and Makena Curie were loving every minute of it. “It was a really good experience,” Curie noted. “He (Hoggard) has so much energy throughout the whole show. It’s great that they’re all from here and that they still come back to play for us.Their songs are so inspiring and they really get to your heart.”
“I really enjoyed myself,” added Doolan. “Jacob is so talented and it’s amazing that he’s from Vancouver – it’s makes it that much more special.”
Hedley is a solid band with a very positive upswing going on. Their sound is strong enough for slightly aging 20-somethings, yet still appealing enough for the thousands of teens that love them.