This year marked the 2nd Annual Virgin Mobile Festival, and while I wasn’t at the first, I think it’s pretty safe to say that this year’s topped last year’s. V-Fest 2008 was expanded to two full days with over 40 bands and DJs performing in 2 different locations. Hot indie acts, superstars and living legends all played the 2-day festival held at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course.
PopWreckoning photog Ajay Malghan attended last year and accompanied me this time around. Saturday morning proved to be very directionally challenged, so we didn’t show up at Pimlico Race Course until halfway through the Swell Season’s set, but check out what the day had in store:
Cat Power – 12:00 -12:50 // North Stage
KT Tunstall – 12:15-1:00 // South Stage
Duffy – 1:00-1:55 // North Stage
Gogol Bordello – 1:20-2:10 // South Stage
Due to some bad directions from a gas station attendant who clearly hated her job, Ajay and I missed
The Swell Season – 2:15-3:05 // North Stage
No pictures are available of The Swell Season’s set, but they played beautifully to an eager crowd.
Lupe Fiasco – 2:30-3:25 // South Stage
One of the main reasons I headed down to Virgin Mobile Festival was to see Lupe Fiasco and it was not short of absolutely worth my time and effort. He opened up his set with the energtic “Kick/Push” and played other favorites off last year’s The Cool including “Hip Hop Saved My Life” and the super infectious “Go Go Gadget Flow.” On the latter, Fiasco’s guitarist played with his teeth, which was quite impressive.
Halfway through the set, Fiasco experienced problems with the monitors, but hardly let the issue affect his hyper energy and resumed the set with hit single “Super Star” once the matter was resolved. Lupe got the crowd riled asking, “Can I get an ‘Amen!’ Can I get a ‘Shalom!'” before performing tracks from his debut Food & Liquor, most notably the drawn out “Daydream.” Definitely a must see.
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – 3:25-4:15 // North Stage
I’d seen Ms. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings at The Roots Picnic in June and there was no way I was missing their set at VFest. Jones was her sassy self, shakin’ it on stage and constantly telling the Dap Kings to kick it up. At one point, she brought a young man on stage and sauntered up to him telling him that she was going to teach him how to love his girlfriend “slow and easy.” In addition to her cheeky demeanor, Jones can sing! Don’t miss out on seeing Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.
Bloc Party – 3:45-4:35 // South Stage
No pictures are available for Bloc Party’s set, but rest assured that their set was both crazy and fantastic.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela – 4:35-5:25 // North Stage
This duo played a beautiful acoustic set with a welcomed exotic tinge.
Wilco – 7:00-8:15 // North Stage
Wilco is just amazing and not much else needs to be said on how wonderful their set was.
The Silver Beats / Chuck Berry – 6:30-7:30 // South Stage
From the way the line-up was arranged, it was assumed that Chuck Berry’s backing band would be the Silver Beats, a Japanese Beatles‘ cover band. This, however, was not the case. The Silver Beats played a half hour set of meticulously well-played Beatles songs including “Daytripper” and “Hey Jude” which, though unexpected was rather enjoyable, before legend Chuck Berry hit the stage in a red sequined shirt, bolero and sailor hat.
Despite fashion choices I would neither make for myself nor suggest to others, the 82 year old Berry totally owned the stage and showed every other guitarist at the festival just how the guitar should be played. It was nothing short of an honor to be able to watch Chuck Berry perform, even for just a half hour.
Foo Fighters – 8:15-10:00 // South Stage
Pictures for the Foo Fighters are unavailable, but they were hands down the most impressive act of the night. They owned the festival as the crowed rocked hard and cheered along as Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and a handful of tour performers powered through their hits [think of a Foo song on the radio, yeah they played it] and some randos. Grohl is hilarious on stage and his banter/mocking is reason enough to attend the Foo concert nearest you.
An overzealous fan threw his car keys on stage during a particularly rowdy song and Grohl picked them up saying, “Who’s the jackass who threw his keys on stage?” He then went into how the keys and car (an assumed Toyota Celica) were Grohl’s 2008 bonus. He also informed the crowd that drummer Taylor Hawkins’ real first name is Oliver and proceeded to call him ‘Oliver’ and ‘Ollie’ for the remainder of the night.
Having never seen the Foo Fighters before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I can now honestly say that it’s got to be one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
Jack Johnson – 8:45-10:00 // North Stage
I wasn’t missing a second of Foo Fighters, especially as Ajay and I worked our way as close to the front as possible, so I missed this set. The thing about Jack Johnson, though, is if you’ve heard one song, you’ve really heard them all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but I’m just sayin’.
Photos: all photos provided by Virgin Mobile USA Media
Filed under: concerts | Tagged: bloc party, cat power, chuck berry, duffy, foo fighters, gogol bordello, jack johnson, kt tunstall, lupe fiasco, rodrigo y gabriela, sharon jones & the dap kings, the silver beats, the swell season, virgin mobile festival, wilco |