When I saw the V-Fest line-up for Day 1, I was pretty pleased, these were all bands that I’ve seen before and I knew rocked. So I figured why not, it rocked the first time, why wouldn’t it rock the second? So instead of checking out more novel bands throughout the day, I stuck with the tried and true.

After waiting to get on the ferry for who knows how long, I was fortunate to get to the Virgin Mobile stage just as the Constantines were opening with Nighttime/Anytime. They played a solid, but short set. To be honest I’m not that familiar with most of the Cons’ material, but I enjoyed them headlining LOLAfest last year, and enjoyed them again this time.

After they finished up, I pushed my way up before MGMT‘s set, since I hadn’t seen them yet. I’ve heard contrasting opinions of their live show. While they weren’t particularly outstanding, there was a palpable energy that hit the crowd when the band played the three best songs from Oracular Spectacular: Time to Pretend, Electric Feel, and ending with Kids. The performance of Kids struck me as particularly odd, as it played out as bad karaoke with the duo singing while dancing around the stage, but it somehow worked. Perhaps the hokey passing of the water bottle in tune with the lyrics got me. But hey, the kids were dancing so I guess they did their job.

The plan after this was to run over to the TD Canada Trust stage in order to catch my old friends Wintersleep. I call them friends because I once gave them bad directions to the nearest Tim Horton’s in Simcoe. We’re tight like that. I’ve seen them 5-6 times at this point, yet still make a point to see them whenever they come to town. They were scheduled opposite Against Me!, so was it really that much of a choice? Anyway, the second stage was running considerably behind schedule, so where I wanted Wintersleep, I got the Fratellis. Another iPod commercial band, for Flathead if I remember correctly. They seemed friendly and very Scottish. That’s the extent of my opinion of them, as I wasn’t really paying attention to the set, wondering why I spent six bucks on lemonade and where Wintersleep was. They attracted quite the crowd, so there may be something to them.

Anywho, Wintersleep got on stage nearly an hour after scheduled, opening with Miasmal Smoke, Archaeologists, and Jaws of Life. Still as good as ever, and after I got my dose of Archaeologists (in my opinion, the best song they’ve ever done) I felt I could make the move to go see Bloc Party on the main stage. Of course, as I’m walking away, they start playing a brand new song. I suppose that’s my fault for abandoning them.

With the opening chords of So Here We Are echoing across the park, my eagerness grew and I quickened my pace. Kele was chatty as ever, wishing a happy birthday to Owen Pallet followed by This Modern Love, among other things. The set was dominated by Silent Alarm material, however it was also dominated by technical difficulties. Looking up setlists posted up on the web today I see Flux on the bill, and I assure you, unless I was comatose after the Prayer, that did not get played. The set seemed conspicuously short, and I’m willing to bet the technical difficulties were to blame. Shame, as I would’ve loved to hear Flux. They supposedly played two songs from Intimacy, I can vouch for Halo but I can’t remember One Month Off being played.

After being shoved toward the stage, it was the Foo Fighters’ turn. Now, I love Dave Grohl and co., but this performance soured me on the whole day. Oh, it was rocking, all the hits were there, but the problem was I saw this same show back in March. No changes in the set list except shortening it and adding a cover of the Who’s “Young Man Blues.” The same noodling and guitar-wankery during Stacked Actors, the same banter (“How many of you are seeing us for the first time? What took you 14 fucking years?”) and even the same triangle solo joke. I know that they played Toronto two days after London, so this is really kind of annoying. It was like watching a DVD over again, it felt so rehearsed. I just wish there was a little bit of spontaneity, maybe some random song we haven’t heard in years. Aurora, preferably. Nate loves it. There was one ad-lib that did make me smile. After the first verse of Breakout, the crowd started singing the chorus and Dave abruptly stopped all the music and berated the audience. “That’s not how you fucking sing it! You’re doing it wrong!” Anyway, I got Everlong again, so it’s forgiven. Just try to switch it up a bit next time, ok guys?

So, while it was a bit stale, Vfest was a good show for me. I missed the freshness of seeing all these acts for the first time, but given that I’ve seen them all within the past year, I suppose that’s to be expected. I wish Spiritualized wasn’t conflicting with everyone else in the schedule, but I guess that’s the way it goes. Anyway, I got smashed and danced afterwards, so it all worked out for the best.

MGMT – Pieces of What
Foo Fighters – Aurora
Wintersleep – Fog

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— , September 7, 2008    Comments Off on Toronto Virgin Festival 2008
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