Reflecting on the past few months, I’d say that this summer’s predominant themes were a) bi-polar weather and b) music festivals. This last weekend honoured both, sealing the season with the much-anticipated Virgin Festival and a pleasantly sporadic alternation of rain, toe-numbing cold and scorching heat. Whatever, at least it wasn’t Gustav.
While I must say my opinion of this festival is slightly biased by my attendance at the glorious Lollapalooza in August, I’ll try to highlight my best and worst V-Fest moments as fairly as possible.
The Kooks: I love these Brit boys, and their show was as amazing as I expected it to be. In the middle of the set, lead singer Luke Pritchard ordered everyone around (audience and band members alike) to take a seat, and the performance continued like pre-school story time.
The Pigeon Detectives: I had never even heard of these guys, but I was told that they were worth seeing. Dressed in matching leather jackets, this new-wave ensemble put on an effing brilliant show. Mostly, I was mesmerized by the frontman’s ability to throw his mic and other miscellaneous objects way up in the air and catch them effortlessly, in spite of his wildly apparent inebriation. Oh, and they sound pretty good, too.
Drunken Dave Grohl: Despite the fact that I haven’t cared about the Foo Fighters since high school, I was highly entertained by how hilarious this man is. A solo take on Everlong had me swooning, but it was the triangle solo that stole the show.
Bathroom line-ups: Did I just have excellent timing, or were these nonexistent? Maybe everyone was in line for funnel cakes (see below)... While the obligatory porta-potties were still available, V-Fest also boasted REAL washrooms, a rarity at festivals.
Food line-ups: When the security is as lax as these guys got by mid-afternoon, you know that a lot of people will have the munchies by evening time. And a 45-minute line-up for funnel cake is NOT cool. The variety of food was fantastic, but a greater number of concession stands would have been nice.
Special effects: While most of the setups were pretty low-brow, there seemed to be an overzealous use of smoke machines. I just want to state that this effect -in broad daylight- is probably one of the most useless things I’ve ever seen. Far from creating the ‘mysterious’ effect they were prooobably going for, it just looked like the tech guys had been hot-boxing the backstage area.
Paul Weller: Dude, you’re kind of old. And what the hell is with that haircut??
Overall though, amazing weekend of fantastic music. Honorable mention to The Constantines, The Weakerthans and MGMT, who were some of the only performers from whom I was not distracted by the slew of stupid text messages scrolling along the stage-side video screens (wedding proposals and Chuck Norris jokes??)
And yes, I missed the Oasis incident trying to sneak out early.