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Hedley rocks AESC

Six thousand fans flocked to the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre Saturday night to watch Hedley perform.

The Abbotsford-based group, fronted by local musician Jacob Hoggard, has been around since 2004.

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by Nicolle Hodges

Contributor

The night could only be described as absolutely energetic, as Hedley took the stage at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre to promote their fifth studio album “Wild Life.”

It was here in the city of Abbotsford where lead singer Jacob Hoggard spent most of his younger years, and so, a fitting stop as they enter the last leg of their largest cross-Canada tour to date. The band – Hoggard, guitarist Dave Rosin, bassist Tommy Mac and drummer Chris Crippin, opened with their signature boisterous charm, and instantly had the crowd swaying and singing along to their hit “Anything.” The special effects of the show, including neon-lit glass, pulsing strobe lights and jet streams of fog and smoke didn’t deter from the four friends onstage just having fun.

Hoggard twirled, bounced, jumped and danced his way through each high energy song, while remaining pitch perfect in his delivery. He orchestrated the throngs of fans to wave and clap, or echo his lyrics; so classic ballads like “One Life” filled the stadium like one reverberating voice. Hoggard boasted his wide range of musical skills throughout the night by taking to the piano for calmer melodies like “All the Way,” only to leave the keys to pound away on nearby drums. Then just before Hoggard began strumming wildly on his acoustic guitar, he announced the band would be filming part of a music video right then and there, and so “Top of the World” was introduced to screaming fans.

Hedley’s music is known to be saturated by emotional lyrics, which contain positive messages about pursuing dreams, overcoming obstacles and living your best possible life. The song “Wild Life,” from which the album derives its name, does not stray from those motivations. Before beginning the song Hoggard spoke to the crowd, saying that he often wonders what is wrong with the world, and that he can’t be the only one who thinks that way. He related many times to the crowd in this way, and was always met with cheers of agreement. The next time he addressed the audience, it was much more uplifting, as he shared funny stories from the road, improvised a song about growing up in Abbotsford, and showed photos from Hedley’s humble beginnings nearly a decade past.

“You guys are crazy, and it’s nice having that much in common with a city,” said Hoggard. “We know from the bottom of our hearts that we couldn’t do this without you.”

He promised to return soon, so long as Abbotsford would have him.

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