Live Review: V Festival!
Virgin does it again for the third year in Australia with bands including The Killers, Snow Patrol, Kaiser Chiefs, and The Madness rocking out on a perfect Sydney day.
How would one describe V Festival? Well, if we were to compare to earthly pleasures of the other sort, this festival would not be your run of the mill missionary position, instead, it should be likened to something a bit more risqué. V Festival was chill, stimulating and ended with a big explosion and lots of incessant screaming that goes with such a climax. It’s enough to leave a big smile on your face, to say the least.
The metaphor works because this is one Festival that doesn’t necessarily follow the now-tired formula of forty minutes sets, multitude of clashing acts, and the thousands of fluro-clad munters that are regularly associated with such events. V Fest let artists play their full shows and allowed bands to bring in all sorts of spectaculars – including pyro, cool lighting and theatrics. The other major difference? The V Fest line-up showcased small indie acts (Children’s Collide, Louie XIV, Jackson Jackson) who played alongside bands of the past (Madness, Vanilla Ice) and today’s best acts (The Killers, Snow Patrol, Duffy).
Duffy started in the early afternoon showcasing her strong husky voice and soulful tunes, while The Madness brought us back to our childhood or reminded us of insurance and nappy ads, playing classics like 'Our House' and 'It Must Be Love' and the Jagermeister tent ensured punters with itchy feet had a place to jump around and party as if they were in, um, a really fun Jagerermeister commercial.
But with so many awesome bands on the bill, this reviewer had to be biased and pick his favorites. The highlights came in the form of the Kaiser-Chiefs, Snow Patrol and The Killers. It was a tad frustrating that three of the biggest acts on the bill actually had their sets clash for 20 minutes; lucky for us they played over an hour long set.
The Kaiser Chiefs, fresh off a killer performance at the Vodafone MTV Australia Awards 2009, brought the crowd to its feet as the sun set on Centennial Park. The five-piece indie act rocked out with the high energy one would expect of the band that bought us songs like 'Never Miss a Beat' and 'Oh My God'. Front man Rick Wilson moved with his music at times seemingly desperate to stage dive into the pumped out crowd. The one complaint one might have is that after a while, many of their songs blend into one due to their consistent sound. The band got its biggest reaction to its perfectly executed 'Ruby' and with good reason.
Snow Patrol took to the stage on the other side of festival. Detractors may lament that this one-time struggling indie-act has defaced its own street cred of late - primarily due 'Chasing Cars' featuring in cheesy medical drama ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and a huge surge in popularity. Despite that, this is a band is still consistently delivering elegant tracks, with poignant lyrics, while continuously evolving the sound that the indie kids loved so much in their early album 'Final Straw'.
Their live show is amazing, lead singer Gary Lightbody truly knows how to engage an audience with self depreciating humour, genuine enthusiasm and flawless delivery of the band’s melodic music. Their set included a plethora of songs from their last three albums including 'Chasing Cars', 'Open Your Eyes', 'Chocolate' and 'Take Back This City'. There were enough 'Grey’s Anatomy' moments to make straight guys uncomfortable, peaking when the band performs their first song hit single 'Run'. The awkwardness is no doubt highlighted by the light show and flashing images taking place behind the band (think snow flakes and other images that evoke tears). That being said, the set looked amazing and one cannot doubt the talent displayed by this five-some; we’re sure many couples had their own very special chick flick moment.
The Killers brought their Las Vegas style spectacle to the festival playing a set of the best songs from their albums 'Hot Fuss', 'Sam’s Town' and their latest effort 'Day and Age', ending the day with a big bang.
The band opened with 'Spaceman' which immediately demanded the large crowd to respond by going absolutely ape-shit.
Having seen the Killers eight times previously, I was unsure they were going to give me something I haven’t seen before. I was wrong. The band has evolved to a point where the have enough epic anthems, showmanship and diverse ranging songs to give the audience a complete music experience. Add this to Brandon Flowers antics, cool backdrop (with palm trees and fairy lights in toe) with sporadic pyro and some the best tracks to come out this decade ('Mr Brightside', 'All These Things That I Have Done') you have one of the best festival performances Australia has seen this year. Hands down this set shows the Killers at their best.
The band played anthems such as 'Jenny Was a Friend of Mine' and 'Somebody Told Me' as well as their criminally underplayed 'Shadowplay' (a Joy Division cover) ensured the show turned into a one and half hour sing along. New tracks like 'Human' actually translates better live with a light show than it does on the ipod.
The band’s Las Vegas style theatrics was further highlighted as the set came to a climax with 'When We Were Young'. The fire balls, a pyro waterfall and random explosions were seemingly visual representation of the amped up audiences reaction to this track.
Ultimately V Festival is fast becoming one of my favorite festivals and this year, it ended with an explosion, a literal one thanks to The Killers, and a metaphorical one (emotional explosion?) thanks to the musical depth demonstrated by many of the V Fest bands.
Thanks for the memories... We look forward to coming … um…I mean visiting again next year.
For more information on V Festival, get to the Tours page by clicking here