Marathon Runner at V-Fest – Caleb

I got the opportunity to go to the Virgin Mobile Festival this weekend, which I considered to be one of the better, and certainly more eclectic festival lineups 2008 had to offer. From rock legends like Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan to rappers Lil Wayne and Kanye West, there was truly something for all festival goers to be excited for. I was planning on doing a top ten list like other marathon runners had done in the past, but since this was only a two day festival, ten would be more than half of the acts I saw. So instead, I’ll be doing an act by act run down in the same style as my Bonnaroo post.

DAY ONE

KT Tunstall – This show was a great way to start the festival. The Scottish-born songstress was not too high energy to where you upped your expectations for the rest of the festival, but did enough to get the crowd into a good music mood for the rest of the day. Her most memorable contribution was an awkward half cover of Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.

Gogol Bordello – This set did not live up to the hype I had built for it, but then again, they did have one of, if not the most memorable set of my two Bonnaroo experiences, playing for 30 minutes over their set time. The length was about the only let down, as they ended about 5 minutes before they had to, but with the time they did contribute, they transformed a nearly full crowd who had never heard of them before into believers. Overall, a good show.

Lupe Fiasco – My least favorite of the 3 Hip Hop/Rap artists, Lupe still put on a show that got the crowd energized in a different way than Gogol could or anybody else the rest of the day for that matter.

Bloc Party – I’d previously been warned of a slightly lame live effort from Bloc Party, but I thought they brought good intensity. Too many crowdsurfers constantly going over my head, but unfortunately this seemed to be a theme for the next few hours.

The Offspring – For a band that’s been considered a bit of a alt rock one hit wonder, they certainly carry a big following in the way of crowdsurfers. They played a few new songs, which have a favorable sound much like their more familiar stuff.

Chuck Berry/The Silver Beats – Chuck Berry and the Silver Beats were listed for an hour set time, so I assumed the Silver Beats were probably his backing band. Instead, The Silver Beats, a Japanese Beatles cover band, “opened” for Chuck and played for 40 minutes. They were fun, but not what I was there for. After they were done, Chuck finally came on and played for 45 minutes, thus shortening my time to see Wilco, but I’m still appreciative I got the chance to see one of the creators of Rock N Roll. For someone in his mid 80’s, he still rocked pretty hard, but not quite at the level everyone knows from Chuck.

Wilco – I loved what I saw and my only complaint is that I wish I could have seen more of their set.

Jack Johnson – Probably the most easy going show of the day, I enjoyed Jack’s mix of electric Sleep Through The Static songs with older, acoustic numbers. Jack was the only act on the day to have an encore and he did not disappoint, sending the crowd home in a dreamlike state after playing some old acoustic favorites.

Day 2

After sleeping in my car in a Wal Mart parking lot, I decided to go inside and get some supplies for the day. When I did this, I guess I decided I wouldn’t need my keys for the rest of the day, so I locked them in my car. When I realized I might need them later in the day, I purchased a set of hangars, some car tire wedges which I used to wedge open the door enough to put hangars in, and some gloves to be able to wedge the door open in the first place. After about a 25 minute struggle, I succeeded and now would be comfortable doing it again should any of you lock your keys in your car.

On to the music…

Chromeo – I arrived about 5 minutes late, but even a late arrival couldn’t upset my joyousness with my favorite electro funk band. After weaving in between their first two albums flawlessly, they went to their well known 80’s medley of Journey and Outfield songs, putting a modern electronic touch on some 80’s classics. Afterwards, I got to talk to Dave and he joked that we’d be seeing him at Lil Wayne.

Andrew Bird – This is one of the shows where the crowd showed their true colors. Never known to put on a thrilling, adventurous show, Andrew Bird excelled with the early time slot on the South Stage, while the fans grew restless because they couldn’t crowdsurf/because he wasn’t a hit making rapper. Unfortunate, because had they just listened to the music, they would have realized what a talented creative bunch they were given the gift of seeing, as well as the best whistler on the planet.

She and Him – Another fine example of crowd stupidity. As Zooey Deschanel took the stage, multiple people around me remarked about how she looked like someone famous, perhaps looking a little bit like the girl from Elf, or Hitchhikers Guide, or even the M. Night Shyamalan flop The Happening. After the crowd quieted down about this, M. Ward and Zooey and crew treated the crowd to a 60’s folk country hour that possibly, just for a few minutes, made people forget they were there just to be getting a good spot for Weezy baby. In addition to this, Zooey captivated me with the mere sight of her impossibly blue eyes. I think she could have just stood there with her eyes open for an hour and I would have been fine with it. Alas, she did not. Instead, she showed she was more than just a voice, playing the keys on more than a few tracks.

Lil Wayne – After angering the crowd with a 30 minutes late start, Lil Wayne won them back with one of the best shows of V-Fest, even from this man’s eyes. If I had to list a tp 25 types of music, rap probably would not make my list, but even to someone like myself who isn’t a rap efficianado, Lil Wayne gained my respect from the show he put on, stopping multiple times to thank those in the crowd who support him and buy his cds and all. The highlight of this show was Kanye West’s cameo for Lollipop remix, which was the only guest spot of the festival unfortunately, as that is one of my favorite things about Bonnaroo when musicians hop on stage with their friends for impromptu sessions. To top it all off, Weezy ended with “I Will Always Love You”, perhaps the cheesiest 80’s love ballad of all time. Hats off Weezy.

The Black Keys – Being sandwiched in between one of the biggest rappers of our time and a music god can’t be easy, especially when Lil Wayne was still playing by the time they should have been starting. Given their abbreviated time, The Black Keys might have established themselves as the top two piece rock band out there.

Bob Dylan – Poor song selection plagues his set from the eyes of the mostly Kanye West supportive crowd. After opening with Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35, it was a while before most people in the crowd recognized anything else by Mr. Zimmerman. The highlight of the set in my mind was Ballad of a Thin Man, which given how much his voice has deteriorated, was the closest thing to classic Bob all night.

Kanye West – I unfortunately bought into the anti Kanye propaganda from Bonnaroo, but Kanye still won me over here, playing what I consider the set of the festival. The show wasn’t full Glow In The Dark, so no Jane or any goofy stuff like that, and he interacted with the crowd better than probably any other artist I saw at the festival except maybe Chromeo. From freestyles about Pimlico Park and Baltimore, Maryland to one about not beating his sister like Christian Bale, this show was great from start to finish. Kanye, unlike most rappers had a full band for the show, including three drummers, a guitar and bass player, among others. Kanye and Chromeo tie for Show of the Festival in my book and I look forward to seeing both and other artist again.

V-Fest gets a 8.5 out of 10 and would have been a 9 had the crowd been better. The time in between sets was much more manageable at 20 to 25 minutes than ACL and Bonnaroo have been in the past. This coupled with the weather, and extremely nice security people push this over the top as my festival of 2008!

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15 responses to “Marathon Runner at V-Fest – Caleb

  1. Sounds like you had alot of fun at the festival! Unfortunately, you really gotta watch what you say and make sure you are not absolutely horribly wrong before you say it. you said in reference to The Offspring: “a band that’s been considered a bit of a alt rock one hit wonder.” The Offspring is a Punk band not an alt-rock band, and on top of that, one hit wonder is pretty much the opposite of them. They have had 4 platinum selling albums, and Smash is the best-selling independent label album of all time. “Come Out and Play,” “Self Esteem,” “Gotta Get Away,” “All I Want,” “Gone Away,” “Cool To Hate,” “Meaning of Life,” “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” “Why Don’t You Get a Job?,” “She’s Got Issues,” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Original Prankster,” “Hit That,” “(Can’t Get My) Head Around You,” “Hammerhead,” and “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” were all billboard top 40 singles. The Offspring is a 90’s punk rock legend, and certainly not an “alt rock one hit wonder,” I think you’re the only person to have ever said that so I don’t know who you were talking to that “[considered]” them so. I am super jealous that you got to see The Black Keys and Andrew Bird again, though!

  2. Punk, I apologize. But of those songs, I’d say Pretty Fly and Why Don’t You Get A Job are hits. Everything else may be popular within their fan base, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider them hits. Just my thoughts. Yeah, it was really frustrating that The Black Keys got shafted like they did.

  3. Self Esteem and Come Out and Play are WAY bigger hits than those, its just that they came out and were popular in 94 when you were 5, Pretty Fly and Why Dont You Get a Job, are both off Americana which was much later 90’s maybe even 2000’s, I don’t remember, thats why you think they were bigger, they were during your generation. And the billboard charts are for mainstream popularity thats what they are designed to reflect, for example one of the billboard charts they frequented was the “Mainstream Rock Tracks” chart (on which Come Out and Play, and Gone Away both hit number one, Pretty Fly and Why don’t you get a job only hit 4 and 5). Song like Pretty Fly are actually decried by their more die-hard fanbase because of thier clear attempt at leaning to a more mainstream pop-punk, and not going with thier political punk roots. I would say either Self Esteem or Come Out and Play are thier biggest hits ( both off the monster of an album Smash), but they are a huge band, probably one of the 5 most influential/popular/successful punk bands of the 90’s.

  4. oh by the way im even more super jealous of you getting to see The Offspring.

  5. More your area of expertise. I’m perfectly okay with that. Side note, The Offspring’s bass player looks so absolutely old.

  6. One of the guitarists name is Noodles.

  7. There was only one guitarist…

  8. then something was awry. were all four of them not there?

  9. Maybe I’m just forgetting him. It’s possible. The lead singer had a fan blowing his hair back the entire time he looked retarded.

  10. he was also playing guitar wasn’t he?

  11. wow, just looked at lineup info for them, and the bassist you saw was actually filling in for Greg K. who was busy having a baby. the guy you saw is the bassist for Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s, he’s also the lead guitarist for the Foo Fighters brother.

  12. yeah, the lead singer was playing guitar, and I won’t put it out of the question for there to have been another guitarist. Goofy, goofy bass player though.

  13. Short set from Bob. For me, that would have been a disappointing set list (largely because Modern Times was a promising album that turned out to be a disappointment…like a lot of Dylan albums really…).

    Do you think Deschanel’s eyes are really that color? I can’t decide. I do know that Nat and I are on board if She & Him heads to Texas any time soon.

    Can’t imagine Berry at 81. Not sure I want to.

  14. Do you have a recording of Bob’s set? If you want one…I can probably get it…if not, I’m sure it’s up at Dime.

  15. No recording yet, maybe some handsome YOUNG stud could help me with that. Zooey’s eyes are definitely that color. I’m not taking no for an answer.

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