Iron Maiden at Molson Amphitheatre, August 3
There's nothing like ridiculous concert security rules (apparently a CD is a weapon) and $10.50 beers to get a crowd in the mood. Lucky for us, once the show got under way there was little to gripe about.
Nautical metal openers Mastodon had a lot to live up to and did their best to impress, but the audience seemed lukewarm, obviously waiting for the main attraction.
When Iron Maiden hit the stage, the crowd went ape-shit with devil-horn salutes and lots of "Fuckin' Maiden!" And deservedly so - after almost 30 years together they can still tear the place apart.
Frontman Bruce Dickinson jumped around like a kid who'd eaten too much chocolate, and worked the crowd like a pro with taunts like "I don't think I can hear you, Toronto!"
But the real treat was seeing them kick out favourites like Run To The Hills and The Number Of The Beast, not to mention an appearance by Eddie , the band's 12-foot-tall monster mascot. Ridiculous props aside, Iron Maiden looked like they were having a blast, and the crowd sure sounded that way, too.
Kings of Leon at the Kool Haus, August 3
Those in search of gritty, hard-rocking songs about fighting, fucking and love got what they wanted from 70s revivalists Kings of Leon . They gunned 'er right from the get-go, kicking up dust and barrelling through Slow Night, So Long and Taper Jean Girl (off their latest album, Aha Shake Heartbreak) like Bo and Luke Duke making a getaway in the General Lee.
But the Southern-bred band of brothers (and one first cousin) are no slack-jawed yokels, and stood before the Kool Haus audience with an air of cool detachment, no doubt the result of their crossing the Mason-Dixon Line and spending a lot of time in New York City. With a howler of a singer in Caleb Followill and a herd of foot-stomping new tunes, their music spoke of a finalized divorce from their conservative, son-of-a-preacher-man upbringing. Every tortured note and riff sounded aged by moonshine and reared on the blues. Crowd surfing was encouraged, and spontaneous hoedowns erupted near the front of the stage. The good times rolled at a rowdy, raucous affair.