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Virgin Festival 2008, Saturday Evening

12-Sep-2008 05:15 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
The Kooks
Toronto Island Park
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
Virgin Festival 2008, Saturday Evening
The Kooks
Wintersleep, Against Me!
MGMT, Constantines
September 6, 2008
Full Photo Set (29 photos)

A two day festival, in four parts. This is part two: Saturday Evening.

After photographing three songs of Shudder To Think and then standing in the audience listening to a few songs, I realized I better head over to the main stage for the Constantines photo call. Just as I broke free of the TD Music Stage sound barrier, I could hear the thunder of bass coming across the island indicating that the Constantines were already on stage. Ahead of schedule. So I picked up the pace, and managed to get there before the first song ended.

Constantines

My first experience with Constantines was in March 2007, and I was so impressed with the strength and aggression of the show. I described Bryan Webb's lead vocals as "filled with spit and energy". That show took place at Lee's Palace, and there was definitely a high rate of beer consumption that night, both on and off stage. It was one of those shows that left me completely charged. It proved to me that they've got a sound and forcefulness that is made to take advantage of festival-sized sound systems, which is why booking them at V-Fest was such a brilliant move. Big and bold, the band pounded down their tunes just like it was a sweaty beer-soaked night, but all in the late afternoon. I truly enjoy this band.

Constantines
Constantines
Constantines

Constantines
Constantines
Constantines

Info: Constantines | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

MGMT

I think it's fair to say that I tend to shy away from synthesizer-based music, which is why, despite all the hype, I didn't go out of my way to track down and listen to the album Oracular Spectacular by MGMT. But eventually the CD made it's way across my desk and into my iTunes, ultimately proving to me that whatever the generally perceived genre is, it's not nearly as important as the music itself. For me, I hear psychedelic-rock influences and 70's rock melodies wrapped up in a base of electro-originality, all peaking in the 9th track The Handshake. I really wasn't sure how all this would translate to a large-format stage, especially given that the band is effectively just two guys, Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser. But the beautiful part is that they brought a full band to V-Fest, so even the most electro-sounding songs were played with increased fullness and emitted additional soul that I just don't perceive on the album.

MGMT
MGMT

MGMT

MGMT
MGMT

Info: MGMT | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

Against Me!

Out in front of a massive New Wave banner (the album cover of their most recent CD), Against Me! belted out a set full of their well-liked punk in the late day sun. The harshness of the sun somehow worked well with their music and the social-commentary-laced lyrics. I didn't stick around for the full set because I wanted to make sure I made it over to the second stage in time for Wintersleep. As it turned out, I could've hung around for much longer since, after a long wait, I determined the second stage was running about 35 minutes late.

Against Me!
Against Me!
Against Me!

Info: Against Me! | Connect: MySpace

Wintersleep

I experienced Wintersleep for the first time back in January, after having only spent a short time with their album Welcome To The Night Sky. I just didn't know much about them, and I really had no idea what I was in for that night. They caught me completely off-guard when their set starting rolling in big on the drums and the coordinated rocking out took over. But I wasn't caught off-guard this time around, and because of that last show, I made sure my schedule included sticking around and listening to the entire set. It was worth it... they pulled out an excellent version of Archeologists, among many others.

Wintersleep
Wintersleep
Wintersleep

Info: Wintersleep | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

The Kooks

The thing about The Kooks new album, Konk, is that it didn't hook me the first time around. I gave it a listen while working at my computer, thought it sounded pretty good, and then almost forgot it existed. But then one Saturday night while I was in the kitchen, drinking beer and cooking up a tasty meal, my iPod played a tune off the album that just hit me exactly right. Right then, I took my iPod off shuffle and played the full album start to finish again... not at my computer, not sitting in my car, but while I was on my feet. And suddenly the album sounded different. I was hooked, and not just on one song, but nearly the whole album. No, it's not heavily complex, but it is happy brit-pop with catchy guitar riffs, perfect for pre-event beverages or other evening activities. At V-Fest, The Kooks delivered their material in true U.K. style, although with a lot more necktie that I had originally imagined.

The Kooks
The Kooks
The Kooks

The Kooks
The Kooks

Info: The Kooks | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

Foo Fighters

Earlier in the day I had been informed that the number of photographers with permission to shoot Foo Fighters was likely in the single digits, and I heavily doubted that my (mostly) one-man blog would fit the major-media profile the Foos were looking for. Oh well. I saw the Foo Fighters at Arrow Hall a few years back (okay, 5 years back), a show that was recorded on DVD and which I ended up buying. Dave Grohl is a hero. I've been listening to the Foo Fighters since my friend lent me their debut album. That's like 13 years now. But here at V-Fest they were so far away, my camera was packed away, my feet were screaming (much like Dave himself), and the ferry was calling...

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