Wednesday, August 13, 2008

V-Fest Baby!

Baltimore's premier concert event (since the demise of the HFStival several years back) is finally here...The Virgin Mobile Music Festival 2008 came back to Pimlico Race Track for the 2ND year.

Let me start by saying that the weather was AWESOME, especially for an August weekend in B-More!

This years festival had such an artistic flair (can-do graffiti walls, performance artists, patrons in costumes, art work for sale, etc) with a higher ‘green’ awareness as well (bike & solar powered cell phone charging stations, recycling bins, and more…).

(Note: Due to the nature of this festival, I could not catch every act and had to make some tough choices to see once-in-a-lifetime acts.)

Day 1

I started the first day off at the North Stage where Cat Power was performing. Her hypnotizing rhythms and mesmerizing voice drew quite a crowd.

Duffy was up next. This tiny little British package of 'Blondie meets Charo' closed with her hit ‘Mercy’.

Being that ‘Once’ is one of my favorite films of all time…Swell Season was one of the highlights of my weekend. After telling the camera guy to Fook off” because it was only supposed to be the 2 of them on the stage, this newly famous Dublin/Czech duo blew me away when their time was up and they unplugged their equipment and jumped into the crowd to continue playing for their fans. (And yes, that is Glen’s original broken guitar from the film that he still plays with.)

The Offspring brought me back to the ‘rave’ days…those dudes still got it goin on! One of the highlights of the weekend for sure!

Saw very little of Citizen Cope, but what I saw I liked. So poetic & mellow…

But not now…it was time to see Chuck Berry bitches! Chuck was good but oooo he old! He invited ALL the pretty ladies on stage to dance, literally! Security (and I am sure the insurance risk peeps as well!) was not too happy. Then there was no ‘guitar dance’ along with Johnny B Good…but he did manage a little ‘hop’ as he was exiting the stage that the crowd went crazy over.

We ended the evening of Day 1with the Foo Fighters. This was the second time I saw Dave & the boys and just like before…they never disappoint!

Day 2

Paramore was the first band we would see on the second day. This is a young indie-punk band from Tennessee. The lead singer, Hayley, is only 19 and such a powerful force. Her mega-hit single, Misery Business (aka Brag) was the climax of the performance and what a performance it was. I had forgotten that this was the beginning of the day. The energy screamed ‘final act’ as the crowd was on their feet. Looking forward to seeing much more of their playful lyrics and pounding melodies.

I don’t remember much from Taking Back Sunday, except that their vocal mic was way low and there was way too much bass.

Iggy and the Stooges!!! What can I say, I didn’t even know this dude was still alive! (and even after seeing him, I am still not convinced). Iggy was disgusting, raunchy, loaded, vulgar, foul mouthed, stoned, insulting, physically repulsive …IT WAS WONDERFUL! Part of the entertainment & intrigue of Iggy Pop is that you never know what Iggy will do or say. Such beautiful prose flowed from his lips this day…”my idea of having fun is killing every one of you”, I can see all of you” and “I know where the f--k I am” to “Sh-t, F—k, Sh-t, F—k…”, “up your assholes” and many many more Iggyisms.

STP? For real or is this a dream? No, this would be the first time that Stone Temple Pilots would tour in eight years! (And I must say, it was worth the wait!) Scott looked the best he's looked in a few years and they sounded incredible. This would definitely go way up on my list of Favorite Live Performances of All Time. What a memorable performance. My only complaint would be that they didn't get to play all night!

I must say that the biggest disappointment of the weekend would have to be the one performer I have never seen perform live and the reason I bough these tickets in the first place…Bob Dylan. Now I know Bob is older, and I know he is a genius who has various alter-ego personalities, and I know he is a bit of a recluse… I don’t care. I didn’t want to see ‘Jazzy Cool-Cat Bobby’ at the piano with a stage full of musicians. I wanted to see Bob Dylan, singer, songwriter; a man with a guitar and a harmonica. That’s it. Even the encore performance of 'like a rolling stone' was lost in the sea of instruments. No one loves bob more than me…but I felt slighted.

Nine Inch Nails put on an incredible technical show…A feast for all the senses; sights, sounds, (even the nose, if you know what I mean). Their Closer performance brought out the ‘animal’ in all of us.

The final performance of the weekend would be Kanye West. I know this man is a genius at impromptu, improvisational poetry and rap…but this was a real downer. Knowing the man has been through a lot lately, I will cut him a break. I’m just saying it was a lil too political and soap-boxy for me. But I must admit… Gold Digger was the BOMB!

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