The last remains of "The Edge" were buried in a ticket stub.
The stub read "102.1 The Edge Presents 'How the Edge Stole Xmas' " -- the same as it did every year the local modern-rock station KDGE FM put on its annual holiday concert. But aside from the ticket, concert-goers saw no evidence Wednesday night at Verizon Theatre that the Edge ever existed.
In November, IHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel) abruptly dumped the station's modern-rock format after 27 years, an unusually long run in the here-today-gone-later-today world of radio. After the holidays, KDGE will become an adult contemporary station, which must feel like a slap in the face to listeners who came of age in the '90s with bands like Nirvana and Weezer, who headlined Wednesday's show.
Instead of sending the Edge off with a proper farewell, IHeartMedia treated the night as business as usual and plastered the theater's entrance, lobby and the stage with banners advertising its local hard-rock station KEGL/97.1 FM "The Eagle."
In a sense, the lack of respect-paying didn't come as a shock: The Edge hadn't been edgy for years.
Rock as a whole has been slowly marching toward the fringes of a landscape dominated by hip-hop, country and sundry styles of pop. When Grammys nominations were announced Wednesday morning, not a single rock act got the nod for album-of-the-year.
That's not to say modern-rock is dead. How The Edge Stole Xmas proved there's no shortage of up-and-comers still trying to put a slightly new twist on rock.
The show opened with sets by Judah & the Lion, Capital Cities, Kongos and Dirty Heads, with Los Angeles' Awolnation getting the coveted pre-Weezer spot.
On record, the L.A. group tilts toward electronic music in songs like the ear-wormy hit "Sail." But live, Awolnation stormed the stage with a full-rock assault, led by Aaron Bruno, whose raspy-tender voice fell somewhere between Kurt Cobain and Trent Reznor. A charismatic front-man with boundless energy, Bruno made the odd decision to refuse a spotlight and performed the whole set as a silhouette.
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo was exactly the opposite -- a shy, charisma-free nerd who made sure to drench the stage in bright flashing lights. He's such a non-showman that fans in the pit decided to put on their own show by crowd-surfing, that tired ritual that refuses to die.
The quartet overcame a muddy sound-mix to deliver a fresh batch of songs from its tenth studio album, Weezer, alias "The White Album." From the sunny, Beach Boys-influenced "California Kids" to the creepy, cannoli-themed "Thank God For Girls," the new tunes were every bit as quirky and well-crafted as oldies like "My Name is Jonas" and "Pork and Beans."
As the hourlong set wound down, Cuomo half-jokingly declared that the band had a mission of "keepin' rock alive." He needed haven't bothered.
The Edge may be gone, but oddball alt-rock anthems like "Undone - The Sweater Song" and "Buddy Holly" will be around for eternity.
Thor Christensen is a Dallas writer and critic. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.