The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Virgin Festival Recap: Day 2

While Day 1 had the stronger lineup of the weekend Sunday was more enjoyable simply due to the weather. Overcast skies hid the sun for the majority of the day which was a nice relief from the oppressive heat of Saturday. We made sure to get to Pimlico bright and early in order to catch Dan Deacon at the Dance Tent who was slated to go on at noon. It's amazing how much this dude has blown up since Pitchfork reviewed his album. The large crowd was a stark contrast to when I saw him at the RNR Hotel where there were no more than 100 people in attendance. Anyway, Deacon's audience participation is what makes his show and once again he did not disappoint. Even though it was at least twenty degrees warmer inside the tent, fans (including myself) were dancing rabidly to Deacon's wacky, electronic sounds during his abridged thirty minute set. Horsy horsy!

Just ten minutes later, Girl Talk made his entrance to the stage looking a little scruffier than the last time we saw him now that he's free from the pressures of the day job. Out of the now three times I've seen Mr. Gillis live, this was probably the most enjoyable set I've been to. First off, it wasn't at Studio B. Secondly, he implemented a vast variety of crowd-pleasing tracks in Sunday's mix which ranged from Tag Team to Earth Wind & Fire. We could have done without "My Lip Gloss is Poppin'" (I cannot stand that song, it is atrocious), but his 40 minute set raised the temperature inside the already absurdly hot tent another five degrees. Hell, there was even crowd-surfing. Oh, and to the girl who decided it would be totally awesome to bring a can of silly spring and spray it all around, I just wanted to say thanks for projecting that shit into my mouth. That was, like, great. Anyway, Girl Talk got his mission accomplished when I left the tent completely drenched with sweat. And that was only hour one of Day Two.

After the craziness that ensued within the Dance Tent, we made our way towards the North Stage to catch Regina Spektor. Initially, this was just a way to secure myself a good spot for Spoon, but having never heard Spektor prior to Sunday, she slowly begun to win me over. For performing solo in front of such a large crowd, she really delivered. Spoon came on a little before 2:30 and, if I call correctly, kicked the show off with "Don't You Evah". We were up front and center for their performance and thought it was a solid set, or at least so I thought. Apparently the band admitted it wasn't up to par with their standards and felt they did a better job a day prior at Lollapalooza. Oh well, they'll have two chances to redeem themselves come October, but I did find it somewhat surprising that "The Underdog" was peculiarly absent from the setlist. Why the group decided to omit the single from their newest album is kind of dumbfounding.

Once Spoon concluded their 50 minute set, we had a chance to walk around the festival grounds and checkout some of the attractions. We visited the free photo booth, took a few swings at the batting cage, and watched a few minutes of Incredibly Strange Wrestling, which in case you're wondering, was slightly strange. Afterwards, we took a stroll towards the grandstand which not only featured air conditioning but also clean restrooms (indoor plumbing!). Oh, and their snack bar featured $4.25 Bud Light Drafts which was a nice find. Even if it was only 16 ounces, it was more economical than spending $8 on a 24oz cup at the festival. We even tried our luck with the horses but dropped $5 after hitting nada on a race at Saratoga. If only I had brought my pick sheets.

We caught the second half of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs set at the North Stage once we acquired our beverages, and despite the fact that I'm personally not a YYYs fan, they, or Karen O I should say, put on an outstanding show. She's the female counterpart of Isaac Brock but to an even higher degree, if such a thing exists. Karen O's stage presence, what with the screams, wardrobe choices, and overall craziness makes her one of the most intriguing musicians I've witnessed as this was the first time I've seen the Yeahs in person. I don't know what it is about their music that I can't get into, but I wholeheartedly applaud the effort they put into their live shows. Going from one extreme to the other, we went back to the South Stage to catch the one and only Wu-Tang Clan. I was there for about two songs but that was more than enough. It what was what I expected it to be: bunch of dudes rapping over each other on top of a beat. The crowd was really into it though and I probably would've appreciated it more if I had come earlier and wasn't watching from the outskirts of the assembled masses.

I decided to leave the Wu early so I could get myself a good spot for Interpol. I later questioned that decision. Seriously, I'm done with seeing these guys live. They bring nothing to the table and I trick myself every time thinking that they'll be better next time I see them in concert. I mean I really enjoy their records but jeez are they boring. I'm not even a fan of Velvet Revolver but even that would've been more exciting than watching Paul Banks and Carols D idly strum away. The only good thing I got out of this hour long set (they were supposed to go on until 8pm but stopped short at around 7:45) was being able to move up front for the headlining Smashing Pumpkins.

The rain began to fall shortly before Interpol wrapped up things and continued throughout the entire break while the Pumpkins were setting up. Fortunately, it was a light rain and didn't really put a damper on things and soon let up a few minutes into the Pumpkins set. I'm not familiar with any of the material from their new album but I got to hear "Today" so that satisfied the 30 minutes I was allotted to see them. We all agreed to leave at 9 (the show was scheduled to end at 10) in order to avoid the exiting catastrophe of last night which was an intelligent decision. Regrettably, I missed MIA at the Dance Tent because of our early departure but here's hoping she'll schedule a club date in the near future. Overall, the weekend was a lot of fun and you couldn't help but feel a little bit of local pride after attending a festival that takes place a stone's throw from where you live. Sure, Pimlico isn't exactly Grant Park but you won't find Old Bay at the food vendor counters at Lollapalooza now, will you? Pics:

Girl Talk:

Regina Spektor:


Wu-Tang Clan:


Smashing Pumpkins:

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