While not as popular as its bigger cousin Big Day Out, V Festival always manages to sign on the big names, this year being no exception. While the day didn’t start out spectacularly (it seems one of the promoters forgot to pass the door list I was on over to Ticketek), the show itself went off with nary a hitch.
The day started with the winner of the Garage2V competition, Villains of Wilhelm. They proved themselves quite the entertainers, the lead singer winning over the small crowd quickly with his forays off the stage and down to the audience. Their music rocked, I shall certainly be keeping an eye out for them in the future.
Unfortunately, the next couple of acts weren’t so great. Tame Impalaspent more time guitar soloing than singing. This is okay if you’re John Butler or Slash, but it doesn’t work so well on a crowd that doesn’t know your music. Duffy was small. And squeaky. She reminded me of the character Annabeth Schott, from The West Wing. She did have one cute gimmick, her backing singers were identical twins.
Fortunately, we had Louis XIV to move onto. They rocked the main stage with great success, the crowd were certainly into it.
Next up, Elbow. Unfortunately, I only managed to see half of their set, but what I saw convinced me that I need to see them again.
Elbow were interrupted to see The Temper Trap. If you’re after an up and coming Australian band to keep an eye on, these 4 guys from Melbourne are it. Their previous single Sweet Disposition got a fair bit of airplay on alternative stations last year (and sent the crowd off), and their new single Science of Fear is sounding good, too.
As it turns out, Vanilla Ice was quite popular. I had the good fortune to not see him, but not for lack of trying on the part of the rest of the crowd. He was on immediately after The Temper Trap, a lot of people wanted to see him, and it seems the Wisdom of Crowds doesn’t extend to the Laws of Physics. Two solid bodies cannot pass through each other, no matter how hard they push in opposite directions. Luckily, I did manage to escape, though I’m not sure which is worse: that people still like Vanilla Ice, or that they might like him ironically.
I don’t know what sort of unholy fire it is that keeps Madness rocking, but rock they did. One of the driving forces between Ska’s second wave, they still have what it takes today. A combination of talented musicians (who doesn’t love a rockin’ brass section?) and brilliant stage showmanship easily made Madness the non-headline performance of the day.
Speaking of, we come to the first of the two headlines I got to see, Kaiser Chiefs. There’s no doubt that we were watching Kaiser Chiefs. Definitely Kaiser Chiefs. Frontman, Ricky Wilson, took the opportunity to remind us at just about every possible moment. And to buy their new album. Did you know they have a new album out? Everyone should buy their new album, even if they already have it. Lame banter aside, they put on a brilliant performance, with Ricky stretching the boundaries of stage to include climbing nearby scaffolding in order to serenade himself on the big screen, and climbing on top of trucks parked beside the stage.
For the final act, there was no way anyone could surpass The Killers. You may be able to take the band out of Vegas, but there’s no way to take Vegas out of the band. Thank you to everyone who participated in Earth Hour last week, you successfully negated the power usage of The Killer’s light show. They were definitely a class above the rest of the acts, with an impressive light and pyrotechnic show. Sadly, their popularity meant I had to miss out on Snow Patrol in order to get a good spot, whom I’m reliably told were also very good.
Bonus: “Shakycam” video of The Killers performing Read My Mind.
Interestingly, V Festival didn’t sell out, making it about the only major festival in the country that doesn’t. It has some stiff competition from Big Day Out, I suspect that people just don’t see it as great value for money. To compare, BDO cost $130, V cost $140. BDO went from 11am-11pm, V went from 1pm-10pm. BDO has 6 stages, V has 4. While I still found it to be great value, it just isn’t able to compete with Big Day Out at this point in time. But, I’m all for more festivals, so I’m happy to encourage them to keep bringing out big name bands.