By: TJ Liebgott
Virgin Festival returned to Toronto for its second year of rocking the Islands last weekend, officially ending a summer of outdoor festivals. This musical orgy of a festival, with roots starting in England, featured more bands than should be legally allowed. For the event, 3 stages were erected as well as a beer tent featuring DJ’s. Unfortunately, most people couldn’t experience the full extent of the festival, due to the overwhelming amount of acts. For the most part, people just camped out at the main Virgin stage waiting for the headlining acts.
The day basically started off with K-Os on the main stage. His set consisted of a lack luster performance, mostly since K-Os was extremely hung over. For the people that were enjoying his set, most were turned off by his ranting’s against Indie kids not getting into his set!
By the time The Artic Monkeys got on stage, the crowds were starting to fill in. For the most part The Monkeys got the crowd hyped with their brand of English rock. However, any chance of getting the 30,000+ people at Virgin Fest pumped for an outdoor concert were quashed by a absolute boring performance by Interpol.
It seemed as if Interpol had no interest in playing Toronto. Their show was dry, uninspired and lacked any degree of stage presence. They may as well have set up cardboard cutouts of themselves and put on a mix CD of their favorite songs. The only time they even addressed the crowd or moved was at the end off their set when all they could utter was “Thank You”.
Bjork’s performance was really hit and miss. She’s one of those performers that people either love or hate. Personally Bjork has always been the perfect music to put on after coming down from a night of partying. For a headlining act I found the music too slow and ambient to really get into it. However, if you are a hardcore Bjork fan you would have loved it and I highly suggest any fan of her music to catch her live. Bjork brought a whole crew to Toronto; from a group of brass players/backup singers to every piece of electronic instrument you could even imagine existed. If there’s one thing Bjork has, its stage presence. Her poise onstage outshined all of the lighting and special effects that her show consisted of.
Highlights from the Budweiser stage included Toronto band Bird of Wales. Their alt country/folk rock was perfect for a sunny afternoon. Even though Morgan Ross was extremely hung-over, he sang his heart out for the bands last Canadian show before they set off on a European tour.
Playing songs from their 2007 album, Things Couldn’t Be Better, Hamilton’s The Reason Punk/Rock songs. After 5 years of playing together, its easy to see why The Reason is making waves in the Indie community and I wouldn’t be surprised if they open things off on the main stage if they are invited back to next years Virgin Festival.
Future Shop Up and Coming Stage
One off the better bands playing the Up and Coming stage was Milton band, The Most Serene Republic. Its of no surprise that TMSR is signed to Arts & Crafts records, the same label as Broken Social Scene, since TMSR resembles a younger, almost high school version of BSS. TMSR, with their 7 member collective, played an amazing show complete with acrobats and a trombone from Adrian Jewett. With their new album, Population coming out October 2nd, probably won’t go gold, but will surely increase their already expanding fan base.
Other notable acts included ex-skateboarder Matt Costa with his acoustic pop rock. Costa, who will soon be opening for Modest Mouse, played a great set of acoustic pop rock to his loyal, mostly female fan base. Hits like Sunshine really went over well with everyone in the audience.
Saturday’s weather was perfect for a solid offering of bands from Virgin Mobile. But Sunday would be when things really picked up for V-Fest. Stay tuned for Sunday’s review.