Friday, September 8th, 2006
Long Distance Call
I was going to start this Virgin Festival preview off with a focus on Phoenix, but I guess the big news is the bad news that Massive Attack have pulled out of their Sunday night headlining slot because they were unable to secure their US visas in time. The fact that they’ve cancelled their Canadian dates because they can’t get into the US is a rather irksome, but I’m sure it makes sense to them. Even though I’m not really a Massive Attack fan, I’m disappointed because I expected they’d put on an amazing show whether you’re a devotee or not – alas. The last-minute replacement act will be Broken Social Scene and while that’s not a c-list substitution by any means, it’s not terribly exciting either. The hometown boys just don’t offer the international grandeur and mystique to the bill that Massive Attack did – and the V Fest lineup just became that much more identical to last month’s Lollapalooza. Oh well, what can you do besides read eye’s interview with Massive Attack and wait for the promised rescheduled dates.
Anyways. Phoenix. For the longest time, and even now, they’re ingrained in my head as that band with that song that I always heard at the indie dance nights that sounded so familiar and yet which I could never place. That song was “Too Young” off of their debut album United and as deliciously hooky as that song was, it didn’t smell of a terribly long shelf life and so I wrote them off as a one-hit wonder (without an actual quantifiable hit) and that was that.
But they didn’t go away. I didn’t hear much about their second album Alphabetical but their latest, It’s Never Been Like That, has been getting some serious praise from many quarters and with the number of familiar acts peppering the Virgin Festival lineup, I’m hoping they cover the pleasant surprise quotient of the festival. In addition to their afternoon slot on day one, they’re playing an invite-only gig at the Mod Club that doubles as the official V Fest launch party. Not that that information really does anyone any good. Ahem.
The fact that The Toronto Star, eye and NOW all ran interviews and features on the band this week indicates that I’m not the only one who thinks that they might be one of the sleeper bands on a pretty heavyweight lineup. Or maybe they all just found the French accents amusing.
Stream: Phoenix – “Consolation Prizes” (Windows Media)
Stream: Phoenix – “Rally” (Windows Media)
Video: Phoenix – “Consolation Prizes” (MOV)
Video: Phoenix – “Long Distance Call” (MOV)
Another band at the fest who I’ve not paid much attention to in the past but who I am perfectly open to being impressed by are Montreal’s Dears, also on the day one schedule. Their new one Gang Of Losers came out in Canada last week and will be out in the US on October 3 (on Arts & Crafts, the label that incidentally is handling Phoenix’s record in Canada). The Toronto Star and eye talk to head Dear Murray Lightburn about the new record.
Headliners on day one will be The Flaming Lips, who will be re-releasing their latest album At War With The Mystics in deluxe CD/DVD format on October 24. Hey, ammo for those confetti guns ain’t cheap.
And The Toronto Star is maintaining a special hub page dedicated to V Fest, including some pieces on performers, organizers and a quickie overview of everyone in the lineup. I assume it will be updated regularly over the course of the weekend. MuchMusic will also be webcasting live from the festival.
And tangentially – Doug Martsch of Built To Spill bemoans the corporatization of music festivals like Lollapalooza to City Pages. I thought the in-your-face sponsorship at Lolla was pretty subdued considering the scale of the event, but it’s probably a good thing BTS aren’t playing V Fest then. I’m expecting to be inundated with Virgin Mobile and Future Shop gewgaws this weekend.
Tonight kicks off what will be a mad, mad, mad fortnight for me – I am literally going to be pummelled over the head with culture. Over the next thirteen days, I’ve got 10 concerts (including the two V Fest days) and two Film Fest movies to hit, to say nothing of the fact that my day job (yes, I have one of those) is about to go critical mass with work and deadlines. FUN. I’ve been doing my best in the relative lull leading up to this to get a lot of pre-emptive groundwork done to make the workload over the duration easier, but it’s going to be pretty exhausting. How will I get through it? Two words: TRUCKER SPEED.