Festival Review + Photos: River’s Edge Music Festival (St Paul, MN)

Adam Jones and Maynard James Keenan of Tool

Tool (Los Angeles, CA), The Flaming Lips (Oklahoma City, OK), Brand New (Long Island, NY), Quietdrive (Minneapolis), Coheed and Cambria (New York, NY), Sublime with Rome (Long Beach, CA), Delta Spirit (Long Beach, CA), Kinky (Mexico), Civil Twilight (Cape Town, South Africa), AWOLNATION (Los Angeles, CA), Kids These Days (Chicago, IL), Scissor Sisters (New York, NY), Dave Matthews Band (Charlottesville, VA), Puscifer (Arizona), Motion City Soundtrack (Minneapolis), Poliça (Minneapolis), Mexican Institute of Sound (Mexico City, MX)
June 23rd and 24th, 2012
River’s Edge Music Festival on Harriet Island in Saint Paul, MN

Day One Gallery: Rivers Edge Music Festival Day 1
Day Two Gallery: Rivers Edge Music Festival Day 2

This was the first year of Live Nation presenting River’s Edge Music Festival in Saint Paul, MN, and it was my first shot at covering something of this magnitude.  There was success, there was failure, captured moments, missed shots and a LOT of walking.
The first day of the festival was all about one band: Tool. I spoke to people from all over the United States and Canada that made the trip just to see them as it was Tool’s last North American show this year. Was it worth it to two friends I spoke with from Dallas, TX to drive 16 hours straight to see Tool and Puscifer? Hell. Yes.

A couple Tool fans taking a break by the Mississippi River.

Minneapolis rockers Quietdrive kicking off the Festival

Kinky, from Mexico played the first set of the festival on the massive main “Bishop” stage.

Brand New was just that to me, brand new. I found them to be intense and so, so angry.

Sublime with Rome performing “Smoke Two Joints”, the audience abides.

Local boys Motion City Soundtrack brought one of the largest crowds to the Chipotle music stage of the festival. There were constant sing along and a lot of excitement throughout the set. I ran into Justin Pierre earlier in the day and he to me he was a little nervous for the show, being that they were not headlining as they just were on tour, and wondered how well they would be received. I can tell you he did not look nervous and MCS’s fans were out in full force on what turned out to be a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

 Justin Pierre and Motion City Soundtrack

 Scissor Sisters put on a fantastic set at the Lynx Stage on Raspberry Island

 Claudio Sanchez (and his hair) of Coheed And Cambria

Tool was a last-minute call on whether we would have pit access to shoot them or not. Once the word was no access, I hit the tightly packed audience area to join the people who had literally been waiting at the Bishop stage all day to have a great spot for Tool. I cannot blame them, as the band turned in one hell of a set, kicked off with Ænima‘s “Hooker With A Penis”.

 Adam Jones of Tool is incredibly understated in emotion while weaving his way though phenomenal songs

 The visuals really kick in about half way through the set


As the sun set, the show’s light show intensified, more video screens dropped down from behind others, and the hits kept coming in the 75 minute set. I often found myself singing off-key at the top of my lungs with a Tool tattoo-bearing super fan. The highlight song for me in the set was “Parabola” off of the Lateralus album.

Find more photos from these bands on my  Rivers Edge Music Festival Day 1 Gallery.

Day two seemed to sneak up, but a quick Summit at Tiffany’s Sports Lounge and I bussed it over to the Harriet Island. I started with Kids These Days out of Chicago, IL. This high energy rock / hip hop group was the jolt I needed to get amped for the rest of the day.

Kids These Days out of Chicago

Civil Twilight was a total chill moment

Mexican Institute of Sound had people getting their Salsa 101 dancing on

AWOLNATION and their bass drops shook my late breakfast up a bit, awesome show!

 Nothing but the best for the Vagina Airlines flight crew: Grey Goose.

Maynard made his return to the Bishop stage with Puscifer: part theater, part band. The band was dressed up in either a pilot or flight attendant uniform. Throughout the set, drinks were mixed and passed around off of the service cart at the front of the stage. MJK seemed to be much more outgoing in his costumed self, different from his stage presence when performing with Tool. All members were employees of Vagina Airlines, and we were on flight 69. When on a flight, you of course get the safety once over… this one was a little different from the norm. The commercials and shorts running between songs and during songs on the video screens were hilarious and very off-color. I had a pretty good idea of how this show was going to be tilted as my first experience with Puscifer was “Country Boner”. Most of the songs in the set were off of Conditions of My Parole and held up very strong, especially “Horizons” and the title track “Conditions of My Parole”.

 Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips doing their part to put a smile on the front of your head

Probably the biggest scheduling guffaw that REMF made all weekend was having Delta Spirit start only five minutes ahead of The Flaming Lips. This may not have been such a big deal, but the stages were not exactly close to each other. I stuck around and shot the first three songs of The Lips and then hauled ass to catch Delta Spirit. In doing so, I missed Wayne Coyne run around in his space egg. Instead, I caught Matthew Vasquez pull his petal board off the front of the Lynx Stage so he had enough cable to climb a speaker stack and rock faces off from a little higher up. Like I said before, covering a festival on your own is very difficult.

 Matthew Vasquez of Delta Spirit after scaling the speakers

Due to a schedule conflict and a few miscommunications, I missed all of Poliça‘s set. I did not get a single photo. I could hear their set from where I was and vocalist Channy Leaneagh sounded phenomenal. I hope to catch them the very next time they play in town, I apologize to them for missing it, it was out of my control.

I’m not going to lie, the last  Dave Matthews Band album I listened to was Under the Table and Dreaming. There is so much music out there and I never made it back to DMB. Their fans came out with their blankets and were prepared for a fun, chill night in front of the Bishop Stage. What happened was a little different. As 7PM rolled around, more and more people made their way to the main stage and the blanket seats were moved further and further out. Some gave up the idea and just stood up where they were, once surrounded by everyone else standing.

Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman introduced Dave Matthews and made a statement in support of  gay marriage

Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman came out on stage at 7 and announced the DMB, thanked everyone for coming and making the first year of Rivers Edge Music Festival a success. He went on to say that he did not come out to make any political statements, but gave a shout out to it being Pride Weekend in Minnesota and that gays should be able to marry, so vote no to the marriage amendment in November.

Carter Beauford at his enormous drum kit

The DMB treated 25,000 fans to almost three hours of music

The enormous “Bishop” main stage and Dave at the helm

Dave and company put on a two-hour and 40 minute set that I am not going to pretend I saw. Well, I stuck around for the first few songs, but soon made my way over to the Rock the Cause tent in the Non-Profit area of the Festival and volunteered some time to take photos and listen to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips spend time with fans.

7:45PM: Mr Coyne starts his meet and greet

Yes, those are indeed happy penises

Night falls, and Wayne reaches the end of the long line of fans.

Find more photos from these bands on my Rivers Edge Music Festival Day 2 Gallery.

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