Toronto – What an exhausting weekend. Weekend festivals don’t give Ricky a time to relax, and now it’s Monday and I’m just so damn tired. So as you migh have guessed by now, this weekend was the third incarnation of the Virgin Festival here in Toronto. I was lucky enough to go as a media member and here are some random impressions of the set.
First off, let me say. The people at the Virgin Festival treated us well. We had all the spaces (wifi area, charging stations, photo access) we needed to do our work, our own ferry (well, the vip/media/artists had their own ferry). The registration was quick. It would have been quicker if Jian Gomeshi didn’t decide to skip the entire lineup process and go straight to the front of the line. But that’s CBC personalities for you. I think I most appreciated the fine folks at Baccardi. They were in charge of the dance tent and well, the Baccardi people had a tent with an open bar. That is very much appreciated, as Mojitos (w/ maple syrup!) are definitely a way to recharge your energy.
Spiritualized – For some reason, Jason Pearce decided to take his sweet ass time, getting on stage about 15 minutes late. When you have a one hour-ish set, being 25% late is quite unacceptable. Despite the lateness, Spiritualized came out with backup singers and proceeded to lay on the space-rockness. Playing songs mostly from the last two albums to start off the set (including Sweet Talk), Spiritualized sounded pretty good. However, as the clock gravitated towards 5, I became distracted and ultimately, made my way over to the main stage to go see MGMT.
MGMT – Looking like extras from the 70s show, MGMT brought their retro inspired glam rock act to a pretty packed crowd on the mainstage. I have to say, they have quite a range of fans – from the teeny MTV crowd to ginos wearing sideways baseball caps and uber trimmed beards, everyone seemed to be really into their music. Playing all the songs they have in their arsenal, MGMT officially put people into “Festival” mode. People were dancing, fist in the air, that kind of stuff. Fans went into a frenzy for singles ‘Time to Pretend’, ‘Kids’ (with an extended guitar solo) and ‘Electric Youth’. Probably one of the highlights of the festival. I think I was correct in thinking they should have been slotted these guys a bit later.
Flosstradamus – Caught the end of this set, they seemed to have the crowd dancing. I wanted to catch the Sebastien DJ set, but he missed his flight. As did Switch. MSTRKRFT and Bang the Lime filled in admirably though, the dude from MSTRKRFT was channeling that Javier Bardem character from No Country for Old Men I think, only with a handlebar mustache.
Against Me They seemed to play good loud music. I was eating at this time.
Bloc Party – The English foursome came out as the sun was setting to a large crowd, and then immediately played some song. I’ll be honest, I was not expecting too much from Bloc Party, but they really impressed me. Not much for words though, as they barely said anything to the crowd the entire time. I guess when you have a limited time to play, you get down to business (It’s business…it’s business time). Playing songs from all three albums, it was pretty obvious that older songs like “Banquet”, “Helicopter” and “Like Eating Glass” were the most popular. Props to Kele for mentioning it’s Owen Pallett’s birthday (of Final Fantasy) and then complimenting his cover of the song “This Modern Love” before launching into the song itself. Overall, I came away from the Bloc Party set impressed with their ability to rock a crowd of this size, considering they are not really a traditional rock band.
The Kooks – Over on the other stage, The Kooks tried their hardest to not sound boring. I didn’t really see them, but I heard them sing ‘Eddies Gun’ and ‘Always Near Where I Need to Be’ while waiting for the ferry. I am sure a lot of girls swooned to them and it sounded quite like the album version, not a bad thing.
Overall, Saturday was a pretty good day for music, I would have liked to see Sebastien DJ, but MSTRKRFT in his own right is pretty good. Bloc Party were solid and MGMT was as good as advertised. I heard Foo Fighters was okay too.
Pictures to come.