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Virgin Festival 2008, Sunday Afternoon

13-Sep-2008 04:00 PM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
The Weakerthans

Toronto Island Park
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
Virgin Festival 2008, Sunday Afternoon
The Weakerthans, Arkells
Paper Lions, Spiral Beach
September 7, 2008
Full Photo Set (30 photos)

A two day festival, in four parts. This is part three: Sunday Afternoon.

When I woke up Sunday morning it was raining. Not pouring, just raining at a consistent pace. I could've let it delay me again, and it did slightly, but only because I had to gather together some rain/mud appropriate attire. I still managed to get over to the island well before the music started. I'm glad I worked it out because the rain didn't last all that long, and had I not got there early I would've missed Paper Lions, a band that turned out to be the big surprise of V-Fest for me.

Spiral Beach

Due to the rain, the early ferries over to the island were pretty empty, and the poncho-covered fans that did make it out created a much smaller crowd than would've been there had the weather been more reasonable. I only know one song by Spiral Beach, Made Of Stone, and I really dig the 60's inspired sound and fun mood it projects. With the stage dressed up in Spiral Beach labelled orange pylons, that fun mood I can hear in the song is projected on stage as well, partially by the props, but mostly by the band members, especially Maddy Wilde (vocals, keyboard).

Spiral Beach  Spiral Beach  Spiral Beach

Info: Spiral Beach | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

Paper Lions

After watching Spiral Beach for a while, I headed over to the TD Stage to catch Paper Lions. This is a band based out of P.E.I., but their Canadian indie-rock sound is laced with some brit-pop influences, which made them a perfect fit for this brit-pop heavy festival. As mentioned, Paper Lions were the biggest surprise of the festival for me. They had an early day position in the line-up, but played with skill and stage presence that outstripped much of the evening's main-stage entertainment. Seriously. Strong vocals, amazing guitar, instantly likable melodies, and impressive stage antics that included rotating instruments while playing, all executed brilliantly. Paper Lions will be opening for Cake on Sept. 25th at the Sound Academy.

Paper Lions  Paper Lions  Paper Lions

Paper Lions  Paper Lions  Paper Lions

Info: Paper Lions | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

The Weakerthans

If you've read any album reviews for The Weakerthans, you will likely have seen them referred to as a "Canadian treasure", which I think is a completely justified moniker. John K. Samson (vocals, guitar) is a humble leader who guides the audience through songs about Canadian seasons, activities , and sports, possibly used as metaphors, presented in a story-telling format and emphasized by the guitar licks of Stephen Carroll. It's true that some of their music doesn't get me overly excited, but for the songs I like (which has been increasing in number exponentially with every album release), I just can't seem to get enough.

The Weakerthans  The Weakerthans  The Weakerthans

The Weakerthans  The Weakerthans  The Weakerthans

Info: The Weakerthans | Connect: MySpace, Facebook

Arkells

It should be no secret by now that the Arkells are among my favourite Toronto bands at the moment. I've been overplaying their recently released EP, Deadlines, to the point where it sounds odd to me when they play the songs out of order. This is a band that clearly understands the meaning of the word giv'r and they can be found doing exactly that each and every time they are on stage. At V-Fest, they seemed to push even a little harder than normal, which got the good-sized crowd worked up. They likely made some new fans, but it was obvious there were a few existing fans present since I wasn't the only one up near the front singing along with the songs. (And yes, you'll see more about the Arkells from me coming soon).

Arkells  Arkells  Arkells

Arkells  Arkells  Arkells

Info & Connect: Arkells on MySpace, Facebook

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