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Virgin Festival '09 Ontario - Saturday (Photos and Reviews)

03-Sep-2009 08:00 pm Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews

When Virgin Festival first announced it was moving to Orillia, basically requiring an overnight stay in the form of camping, I was disappointed since it was going to be the first year since the festival's inception that I wouldn't be attending. For the past three years, Virgin Festival has been a mixture of different kinds of good experiences: In 2006 I went as an attendee, in 2007 I had an excellent, but mostly irresponsible, time with an All-Access wristband, and in 2008 I finally attended as media for the first time, which resulted in having a great time and four articles worth of stuff (one, two, three, and four). So when I learned that V-Fest Ontario was being moved to Toronto, I jumped on it as quick as I could, and despite the threat of bad weather, was really happy I was going to be there again.

For Saturday, the weather turned out pretty much ideal. Although there was some rain early in the morning, it had cleared and dried up by the time I set out to the festival, and we had sunny, warm weather for the rest of the day, and clear skies in the evening. Due to morning plans, I missed seeing Mates Of State as well as the unbelievably adorable Lights, but I did manage to get there earlier than expected... just in time for Grizzly Bear.

Grizzly Bear

I saw Grizzly Bear perform a couple of years ago now, and learned that their somewhat brooding and atmospheric sound was a little too soothing for me. Their music and live performances are well loved by many, possibly due to their combined technical abilities. They played to a fairly sparse early-day crowd, and while I sat on the lawn with a breeze rushing over my face, I felt much the same as I did when I last saw them.

Grizzly Bear  Grizzly Bear  Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear  Grizzly Bear

Info: Grizzly Bear | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Cheerleader (mp3), On a Neck, On a Spit (mp3)


With Chris Murphy's left collarbone being broken from being struck on his bike by a hit-and-run driver, he was unable to play his usual bass and drums, so the band brought along a few friends to fill in for the parts he was unable to play. The result was that the set turned into a sort of Sloan And Friends show. Given the situation, it seemed like a really great way to work around the problem, and I actually really liked how it played out. The extra people on stage were the inspiration for some additional interaction, and even though the string of our beloved Sloan songs weren't nearly as tight as I've seen in the past, there was a certain amount of casual fun that seemed appropriate for the time of day and the still fairly small crowd size.

Sloan  Sloan

Sloan  Sloan

Sloan  Sloan  Sloan

Sloan  Sloan

Info: Sloan | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Believe In Me (video)

Down With Webster

The one and only reason that I made my way over to the Virgin 99.9 Stage all weekend was for Down With Webster, a band that has the ability to put an inane grin on my face. Consistent with the main stage, the number of people waiting to see the band wasn't as full as I had hoped, but the young fans up at the stage barrier were clearly not Down With Webster virgins... uh, that is to say, they were obviously pre-existing fans of the band. I still can't get over how great these guys are to watch and listen to, and will once again go out on a limb to state that if they take advantage of the right opportunities, they will be playing stadiums. I was there to photograph the first three songs, and then watched two more (with that grin on my face) from the audience, before heading back over to the main stage.

Down With Webster  Down With Webster  Down With Webster

Down With Webster  Down With Webster  Down With Webster

Info: Down With Webster | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter

Paolo Nutini

Perhaps I should've stayed over at the Virgin 99.9 Stage for the rest of the Down With Webster set, but I have to admit photographing Paolo Nutini was a bit of an experience. Even in the world of musicians where just about anything goes, his style of being hunched over his microphone with squinted eyes, stands out as a bit freakish. It was definitely a challenge getting a photo of him where he didn't look completely stoned.

Paolo Nutini  Paolo Nutini

Paolo Nutini  Paolo Nutini  Paolo Nutini

Info: Paolo Nutini | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter

Franz Ferdinand

Before each set, I stood in area near the stage known as "the pit" waiting to photograph the bands. It's relaxing, just standing there. Waiting. So when a band takes the stage and is able to give me a head full of music buzz in the short time we're provided to photograph them, it's a good feeling. And next up was the Scottish band Franz Ferdinand, purveyors of fine indie rock hits, who managed to pull that off in just over one song. They were both energetically and musically tight, and not only managed to excite the photographers and reviewers nearby me, but also managed to work the general admission crowd at the front into a bit of a frenzy. Even though lots of people arrived before and during their set, large portions of the reserved seating were still empty. However, if you scanned the crowd, you could see pockets where nearby individuals had grouped together in their common enjoyment of the set. Best set of the day.

Franz Ferdinand  Franz Ferdinand  Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand  Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand  Franz Ferdinand  Franz Ferdinand

Info: Franz Ferdinand | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Ulysses (video)

Iglu & Hartly

As I was wandering around after Franz Ferdinand, I noticed a crowd forming at the Boardwalk Stage while Iglu & Hartly, a band I had never heard of before, completed setting up. As far as I can tell, Iglu & Hartly is just a band name, it doesn't refer to any two specific members of the band. They are from L.A., but in 2008 they were signed to Mercury Records in the U.K. and have since made the charts on that side of the Atlantic. If ever there was a band that fit the adjective "frenetic", Iglu & Hartly is it. On first listen, it was like a hyper-active version of MGMT meets Phoenix. I'll have to check out some of their recorded music to determine if that is actually true, but either way, it was wild stuff.

Iglu & Hartly  Iglu & Hartly

Info: Iglu & Hartly | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter


Although I was unable to photograph the Pixies due to restrictions, they were still one of the main reasons I wanted to be there this year. I don't own a lot of their recordings, so I'm not as connected to the music as a large portion of the audience seemed to be, but I really like listening to their authorized bootleg Live in Minneapolis, MN - 04.13.04 double album. There's a feel to their live material that makes it sound like a good show, and getting to experience that was something I wanted to be a part of. For a while, I sat in one of the seats reserved for media, but it didn't feel close enough to the action, so I moved around to get a better view and a little closer to the stage. By this point of the night, both the seats and lawn had filled in quite a bit for their set, and the band pulled out a number of older songs that had the crowd cheering wildly. Good, loud, and it was definitely a great way to end the first day.

Info: Pixies | Connect: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter
Media: Debaser (video), Where Is My Mind? (unofficial video), Bone Machine (concert video)


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Virgin Festival '09 Ontario - Saturday (Photos and Reviews)
Authored by: Anonymous on 27-Jan-2011 04:21 pm
I was there too. You guys were AMAZING!!!! Cant wait too see you guys again love you guys xo xo xo xo xo ! jennifer convertibles