September 1st, 2009
If you’re a VFest fan/follower/loyal participant/lover, then you know the story by now: Ontario’s festival was to be moved from Toronto Island to Burl’s Creek, where camping and hippie-like festivities were to take place. Unfortunately, due to low ticket sales and a general lack of enthusiasm, the organizer’s decided to move el festival-o back to Toronto – but this time at Molson Amphitheatre.
A crack team of music enthusiasts and part time assassins scoped out the scene only to discover that attendance was lacking (although it filled out for Nine Inch Nails) and it turns out that the vibe was way less drunken festival-y and way more tipsy do-gooder. Still, a pleasant and even awesome time was had by all.
Read our thoughts on some sets on day 1 AND check out our snazzy gallery featuring pics of Franz Ferdinand, Grizzly Bear, Sloan and the Pixies after the jump!
(PS: Click here to see our Day 2 photos and review!)
[Photos by Alica Kroupa and Wendy Heisler]
Mates of State
Alica: Mates of Province are more my thing. Aka … who?
Kyle: I soooooo wanted to see but got caught up in traffic and missed this. After speaking to a few people who saw it said that they performed an amazing set and should have been featured later in the day where more people would have experienced them.
Alica: Grizz-leh is right. There’s a reason why this band got to open for Radiohead on their In Rainbows tour. They are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I saw them last year in Montreal, when I didn’t really appreciate them as much (mostly because I didn’t really know who they were – other than a few songs from Yellow House) but after their latest album Veckatimest I’m convinced that I must own all three records (Horn of Plenty, Yellow House and Veckatimest) on vinyl. Looking acoustic guitars and vocal harmony? Look no further!
Kyle: I semi watched Sloan’s performance. It was very boring and uninteresting, however I’ve never been a fan. Is anyone?
Alica: Cool aviators, I mean if it was 2005. But I guess being outdated is the least of your concerns, SLOAN. Lucky break, I guess.
Wendy: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Maybe as a Nova Scotian I’ve got a soft spot for the boys from Halifax but I actually thought they put on a fun set. They love what they’re doing and you can see it even through Jay’s nonchalance. Twas quick but sweet, steamrolling through a best-of setlist including “Money City Maniacs” and “The Good In Everyone”.
Kyle: Definitely a surprise performance for me. I’ve always liked the guy but watching him live was incredible. His vocals are so unique that you wonder how they sound live but he screamed out his songs with great talent. The crowd started to develop around this time, finally.
Alica: You sound like an ice cream flavour Nutini – sounds yummy but I didn’t see your show.
Kyle: While waiting for Franz Ferdinand to go on, we decided to check out (err laugh at) Pitbull. However, to our surprise his performance was really solid. He had a pretty decent crowd set up at the Virgin Radio stage and people were definitely feeling his set. My only complaint were those wayyyy toooo tigghhtt see-through white pants he was wearing. No one needs to see that. But props on performance – who knew?
Kyle: Well everyone loves the Franz right? I sure do but now even more! Their set was definitely the highlight of my day. FANTASTIC! Practically every song was spot on perfect and sounded amazing. People often say the acoustics at the Molson Amphitheatre are bad but I disagree – things sounded great. Maybe it’s the band though… wow!
Alica: If my camera had a name it’d be Franz, because shooting this band was the coolest and most exciting experience of the entire festival. If only I could loan some of that to OLP, who where hurting on the look cool for photos front. Anyway, back to it – SOOOO much energy, so much swagger and so much JUMP. Franz know how to put on a great show, and sound so f***king good doing it. Franz, TAKE ME OUT!!!
Wendy: Everything has been said. If you get a chance to see these bros live, DO IT. Do not hesitate, DO IT. Finally, the “crowd” at VFest saw a spark of life. Man, Alex is a wildcat but for reals – he can command your attention even when he’s just standing at the mic stand. I feel I must also mention the babies seen sidestage with giant headphones, and the fact that Alex was checking out Grizzly Bear earlier in the day.
Kyle: Up and coming Aussie singer Daniel Merriweather performed on the smaller Virgin Radio stage to a very unfortunate sparse crowd. Daniel was one of my must-see acts for this festival and I’m just sorry for all the folks that don’t know him well enough to want to see him on a secondary stage. They definitely missed out as his performance was incredibly personal, raw and intimate. You are going to be hearing a lot about this guy this year.
Wendy: Daniel’s collaboration with Mark Ronson (“Stop Me”, a Smiths cover) was a top 3 jam for me in 2008, so he was on my must-see list as well. Must be weird for him to play for a tiny audience, since he’s kind of a big deal in the UK. Gotta say, the man’s got this effortless raw sex appeal and a voice to match, and if he blows up here, I’m gonna be like, “you jerks missed him up close and personal”. I feel like he’s Amy Winehouse in her Frank stage, and in a year and a half he’ll be staggering around the streets of Camden with a cigarette dangling out his mouth. Unless he’s smart and avoids that whole phase. I believe in you Danny.
Kyle: Fans were definitely loving the Pixies. Just looking back at the crowd you could see their hardcore following screaming out lyrics. I personally don’t know a whole lot about them but they were very cool and very good. A lot harder than I thought they’d be.
Alica: An oldie, but a goldie. Clearly one of the highlights for the Saturday line-up for a lot of people… the band knows how to bring it, and they still look young doing it too.
Ben Harper & Relentless7:
Kyle: Who? Whaaa? And why are they headlining for Saturday? Needless to say – we left before they started.
Alica: Ben Harper & the audience who left relentlessly: end scene.
Wendy: Don’t wanna be a hater, but shouldn’t Ben be a 4 o’clocker? I’m sure he’s a very nice boy.