Oasis @ Virgin Festival (September 7, 2008)
Day 2 of the festival started out rainy, contributing to dawdling on my part in leaving home on time, and resulting in me missing Spiral Beach's opening set on the Main Stage. My day began at the third stage (sponsored by Oh! Henry) with local electro-rock act Opopo rocking out for the respectable sized crowd on hand. I'm sure I've seen these guys open a show at The Opera House I'd been to - I wasn't particularly feeling them the first time, though this time (and maybe it just the good vibes of the festival atmosphere) I appreciated Opopo more for what they really are which is just a fun party band.
Before I'd got to the Oh! Henry Stage I had passed the TD Stage where they were still setting up for Sebastian Granger and The Mountains. There wasn't many people at the TD Stage though after Opopo ended their set it seems a lot of people headed over to check out Sebastian Granger and The Mountains at the TD stage. The band's vibrant power pop seemed to help the sun peek out from behind the clouds at times. I dug the songs at times, and they do deserve a second listen on my part. With Saddle Creek snatching the band up to distribute their music in the States, I mean, there must be something, right?
Day 2 of the festival was a lot more walking between stages, and continuing that threaded I march back on over to the main stage to see The Weakerthans. Surprisingly, while The Weakerthans seemed to be as mellow on stage as The Cons were the previous day, The Weakerthans' more direct approach with pop melodies made their set connect better with me.
Back on over the foot stage to check out Matt Costa though his set was more of an afterthough because I'd primarily went over to grab a free eco-friendly messenger bag from the Motorola tent. Since I was already there, I decided to head over to the TD stage where a large crowd was on hand watching Matt Costa who was in the midst of finishing his set. Largely of the acoustic, folky variety, Matt Costa performed a few pleasant(nothing more, nothing less) sounding songs.
I went back to the mainstage for a pick-me-up in the form of Silversun Pickups whose melodic rock songs reminded me of 90's alternative rock (thankfully more Smashing Pumpkins than Stone Temple Pilots).
I stuck around at the main stage for UK's Stereophonics but only for a few songs as I wanted to make it over to the TD stage for the start of Sons and Daughters' set. Surprisingly popular with the crowd it seems, Stereophonics went for the gold from the start playing basically a greatest hits set("A Thousand Trees". "Have A Nice Day"), at least from the several songs I'd heard.
Off to the TD Stage it was for me but while over there at that side of the island I strolled over to the Oh! Henry stage where buzzed(and deservedly so) about rapper Shad was finishing off his set which a little unfortunate for me since I'd hope to catch more of it but Shad did come back for a brief "encore" which really was just him doing some casual freestyling.
Back to the TD stage I went for Scotland's Sons and Daughters, one of my favourite acts over the last several years. There glammy, rebel rock is undeniably a kick in the pants in comparison to the most of the rest of the acts of the day. Like Spiritualized the day before, it was a little strange seeing Sons and Daughters in daylight, rather than the last couple of times I saw them at Lee's Palace (which guitarist/vocalist Scott Patterson mentioned was a venue he loved to play). Unfortunately original bassist Ailidh Lennon wasn't there, and here duties were taken over by some gent, though adequately so.
Another act that I can cross out now from my wishlist is Paul Weller who was the penultimate set of the main stage this day. Playing favourites like the sublime dub-beat of "Wild Wood", the terrific Style Council tune "Shout To The Top" and exhilirating versions of Jam classics "A Town Called Malice" and "Eton Rifles" plus a bevy of tunes that ranged from great to jammy, I thoroughly enjoyed the set and was as much relieved that he seemed (well at least part of the set) to go over well with the younger kids.
And of course we all know what happened with Oasis and the Gallagher brothers. The guy who had pushed Noel and tried to take a swing at Liam before being tackled by security has turned out to be 47-year-old Pickering man, Daniel Sullivan, who was charged with assault and will appear in court next month. I wonder what the fuck he was thinking. I have to give credit to the the Gallaghers and the rest of the band for coming back and finishing off the set albeit what turned out to be a shortened one, and no official encore. Is the Toronto Virgin Festival cursed or what? The festival's inaugural year had Massive Attack cancel at the last minute and had headliners The Flaming Lips forced to play a shortened set due to curfew laws and the band starting their set late. The second year of the festival had the scorchingly hot Amy Winehouse cancel her appearance. Unfortunate incident aside, I'm glad Oasis were able to play as much as they did. "Morning Glory" (at least until that now infamous incident happened) was truly euphoric while Noel's subsequent solo rendition of "Don't Look Back In Anger" just truly tugged at the heart. Glorious, indeed.
Photos: Virgin Festival @ Toronto Islands (September 7, 2008)