Review: Beer Festival, Squeeze, Rihanna, August 5th, Molson Amphitheatre/Ex Grounds

Toronto – My Thursday night consisted of attending the Beer Festival (featuring 80s band Squeeze) and then making the 10 minute walk over to the Molson Amphitheatre to check out R n B sensation Rihanna. Let’s take a look.

Beer Festival

What can you say about the Beer Festival? It’s awesome. You get in, and for $1, you get a 4oz sample of many different types of beers from many different brewers. Usually, they fill a lot more then 4 oz. In fact, if you were to go to the Beer Festival, I suggest you ONLY order the 4 oz for 1 token drink, not the 8 oz for 2 token drink as they will probably fill 6 oz or so for your 1 token. It’s all mathematics. Here are the drinks I had, and my comment for each beer.

Nickelbrook Maple Porter – Good
True North Cream Ale – Bad
St. Ambroise Apricot – Good
Weihenstephan – Really Good
Old Credit – ok, a bit too carbonated
Sam Adams Summer Ale – It is what it is, kinda orangey
Hop City Weiss Beer Lawnchair – Too carbonated for weiss beer
Wellington Silver – Not that great. Disappointment due to the quality of their other beers.
Flying Monkeys Smashbomb Atomic – Decent beer, might only be able to drink once a night
Muskoka Pilsner – Not good, especially in comparison with their Weiss Beer, which is excellent
Flying Monkey Hopitical Illusion – good for it’s price range
Tug n Tread – decent
Nickelbrook Organic White – Really Good
Flying Monkey Guava Beer – Too light
Mill Street Lemon Tea

All in all, my favorites where the Weihenstephan Weiss Beer and the Nickelbrook Organic White. I’ve been on a Weiss beer kick lately so perhaps that will skew the results. The one I did not like the most was the True North Cream Ale. I had both the Weihenstephan and the Nickelbrook Organic White about three times.

If you are a beer appreciator aka alcoholic, I highly recommend the beer festival.


Squeeze is an UK New Wave band that has existed longer then I have. They are most famous for their single Tempted, which is in every 3rd commercial you see on tv. They are also famous because their former member is Jools Holland, who besides John Peel, is one of the greatest contributors to the music industry in the UK media. I don’t really know much about Squeeze. I imagine they were big in the day and obviously, have a lot more songs then the one I know. Which is why it was so interesting they were playing Beerfest.

I don’t imagine playing the Beer Festival to be a good gig, most people there are drunk and most of them don’t even care who is playing. So what Squeeze basically had was a few hardcore fans and a large group of people who were walking around, going from one beer vendor to another. Not the best setup. Still, you can tell that the band was making the best out of the situation. They were pretty sharp and from what I heard from a distance, it was pretty good. I didn’t really catch much of their set, as I was busy trying to rid myself of the beer tokens before the place shut down for the night. I did manage to hear an extended 6 to 10 minute version of their commercial song Tempted, which made me happy. I was already happy, so it made me stay at the same level of happiness, I guess.


When I told people I was going to see Rihanna, people were quite surprised. I like to think of myself as a fan of ALL music, and not just indie music. It’s nice to go out of your comfort zone once in a while. I went into the concert knowing all of five to six songs – Pon De Replay, SOS, Please Don’t Stop The Music, Rudeboy and of course, Umbrella. I was there just to see the song Umbrella, which I (like the rest of the world) really like. Let’s face it people, a good song is a good song. Doesn’t matter if it is top 40 or not.

Earlier in the night, we had decided that we like beer quite a bit so decided to skip the first half hour of the Rihanna show in order to get in more drinking, so we arrived slightly after 10 pm (she went on stage at 9:30, unlike the Livenation specified time of 8:45). The place was PACKED. Everyone was standing and some song was playing. The stage setup was impressive as there were big lights everywhere, a giant lit up R hanged on the left side of the stage and there was a bunch of dancers as well. At some point of the night, two of the dancers would use wires and dance in the air. Crazy. The theme was somewhat militaristic, as there were lights in the shape of guns. GREAT MESSAGE FOR THE LITTLE ONES!

Most of the songs sounded pretty much like the album versions, but I guess most people go to one of these shows to see Rihanna anyways. I can’t remember the last time I went to a show with costume changes, but sure enough she changed dresses a few times throughout the show. Most of it was weird stuff I don’t think any normal girl in the year 2010 would wear and all of it was designed to feature one of her best assets, which is her smokin body. Despite missing a quarter of the show, I still heard most of the songs I liked, and when we ended off her set with Umbrella, I left pretty happy, as did everyone else who was there.

All in all, a good night. Most of it was a blur, but Blur’s a good band.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.