Concert Review: Rogers Picnic, July 20 2008 Fort York, Part 1

Toronto – What the hell is with the rain? Seriously. We are turning into Vancouver. Rain was the word of the day at the old and historic Fort York, home of this years Rogers Picnic . The hard working ladies over at Listen Harder were kind enough to provide me and Mark with media passes to cover this festival, so here is my account of it.

Overall Impressions
I thought that Rogers put together a pretty well organized event. The music acts were actually on time. After the Flaming Lips V-Fest disaster from two years ago, this is a big issue specially with the imposed curfews. There was a large variety of food available (I had a pulled pork sandwich from Cluck Grunt Blow or something) and there was Wellingtons beer available, which is always a bonus. Unfortunately, the Welly’s ran out half way thru Tokyo Police Club’s set and I stupidly ordered a Coors Light (that or Molson Canadian was the only option). Yea, so after that debacle, I stopped drinking. I think the rain was a huge factor, it cooled the festival down, so I don’t think many people passed out and also, it turned the middle of the field to a mud pit, so all the Ex Pats in the room could close their eyes and pretend they were with the lads in Glastonbury.

Lets take a look at the acts:

Vampire Weekend
NY Hype Kids Vampire Weekend was given the 4:00 slot, way too early for a band of their immediate stature (re: popular). However, the kids in the band made the most of it – the lead singer wore an interesting dress shirt + v neck sweater + swimming trunks attire that I am sure will inspire preppy kids all over Toronto in the fall. Look for it at your local private school. I called it here first. Having been here for a concert in February, the band seemed genuinely happy to be here. They didn’t even seemed to be tired either, having played Pitchfork Festival just 24 hours prior. The set list was what you expect ie. everything off their debut album. The band even played a new song at the request of one of the fans.

The bands live sound is pretty much the same as the bands studio sound. It’s pleasant and summery, perfect for a summer festival, if it wasn’t raining. However, the rain didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the crowd and the band, as many people were dancing to the songs. Overall, definitely one of the highlights of the festival.

Animal Collective
As much as Animal Collective’s Strawberry Jam album was a highlight for eclectic noise pop fans, I would have to say that the Brooklyn band definitely generated a huge WTF moment for a majority of the crowd at Fort York, considering a lot of people came to see Tokyo Police Club, Cat Power and City and Colour, I wouldn’t necessarily put them in with an Pitchfork type Animal Collective sound. Anyways, the pair from Animal Collective came on with bright t-shirts and worked their craft on stage, mostly keeping to themselves. The rain really really started to come down at this point and I think a lot of people just went to find shelter. A highlight for me was the Panda Bear song Comfy in Nautica. Either way, I would probably think this was a mis-step on the part of the organizers, but that didn’t stop the band from pleasing their own fans.

Stay tuned for Part 2, as there will be some nice pictures from the show as well.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

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