Photo of Tokyo Police Club by Conway L.
It’s baaack! The two-day island explosion of rock ‘n’ roll that is the second annual Virgin Festival will be taking place this coming Saturday and Sunday at Toronto Island Park, bringing huge names and talented locals alike to Centre Island for a whole bucket-ton of music-making. “Great!”, you say. “But I am sorrowed, for I know not who to watch at this great veritable cornucopia of spectacular spectacularness!” Fear not, gentle friend. Torontoist is here with our personal picks of the festival, letting you know who’s worth checking out that you might otherwise miss while watching, you know…M.I.A. or Interpol or Arctic Monkeys or Mute Math or something.
First, there’s Princess Superstar (4:50 p.m., B-Live Stage). She’s not just for The Office’s Stephen Merchant, but jaded indie rockers, too! Why the brilliant mind behind “Bad Babysitter” is relegated the B Stage is beyond us, but rest assured that her self-described flip-flip style will be a whole lot dirtier than anything Bjork does on stage.
Then there’s Noah’s Arkweld(1:40 p.m., Budweiser Stage). Remember hHead? You probably do! Noah Mintz once dazzled campus radio with his songwriting partner Brendan Canning, and now he dazzles your ears by mastering most of the records you own! His solo project offers the same appeal of his past work, albeit stripped down, and is well-worth checking out.
The other shining light of Day One is Clothes Make The Man (@ 4:10 p.m., Budweiser Stage). Not only does one dude in this band have a sick beard, but their songs, an aggressive mix of mid-90s Toronto-sounding indie rock and some countrified twang, are almost as sick. As the beard.
On the Virgin Mobile Stage: Björk (@ 9 p.m.), Interpol (@ 7:30 p.m.), Arctic Monkeys (@ 6:10 p.m.), M.I.A. (@ 3:55 p.m.), K-OS (@ 3:05 p.m.), Paolo Nutini (@ 2:15 p.m.), The Vincent Black Shadow (@ 1:25 p.m.).
On the Future Shop Stage: Mute Math (@ 8:00 p.m.), Voxtrot (@ 6:50 p.m.), Matt Costa (@ 5:30 p.m.), Enter Shikari (@ 4:40 p.m.), The Most Serene Republic (@ 3:50 p.m.), The Wildbirds (@ 3:10 p.m.), Dragonette (@ 2:10 p.m.), Jon Levine Band (@ 1:20 p.m.), and more!
See the full schedule of Day One!
Boasting a way better selection of local indie fare than Day One, the Budweiser Stage seems to be the place to be on Sunday.
The day kicks off with The Postage Stamps (1:40 p.m., Budweiser Stage). A indie institution in Toronto, Keith Hamilton and co. have been kicking out dreamy indie rock with a prog edge to it for years, and their dedication shows in their always-solid live show.
They’ll be followed by noisy post-punks DD/MM/YYYY (@ 2:30 p.m., Budwieser Stage). Still rocking the visceral insanity of their recent full-length, Are They Masks?, it will be interesting to see how the band’s freak-outs translate onto a sunny day on the island.
Then there’s The Museum Pieces (@ 4:10 p.m., Budweiser Stage). One of the raddest little bands currently making the rounds in their hometown of Halifax, their energetic rock ‘n’ roll should qualify as a must-see for anyone who likes… music.
Departing briefly from the Budweiser Stage, there’s Biffy Clyro (@ 3:00 p.m., Future Shop Stage). While this Scottish band will probably never be as famous as they should be, do yourself a favour and check out their passionate mid-day performance.
Then, of course, drag yourself back towards you-know-where for the Carps (@ 5:00 p.m., Budweiser Stage). Playing the kind of music that really annoying hipsters with three different colours of scarves listen to, the Carps somehow manage to be totally awesome. Maybe it’s because they listen to actual R&B, not just its watered-down, ironic-hipster incarnation.
On the Virgin Mobile Stage: Smashing Pumpkins (@ 9:10 p.m.), The Killers (@ 7:15 p.m.), Metric (@ 6 3p.m.), Stars (@ 5 p.m.), Tokyo Police Club (@ 4:05 p.m.), Jamie T (@ 3:15 p.m.), Louis XIV (@ 2:20 p.m.), Earl Greyhound (@ 1:30 p.m.).
On the Future Shop Stage: Editors (@ 8 p.m.), Explosions in the Sky (@ 6:45 p.m.), Constantines (@ 5:30 p.m.), Blonde Redhead (@ 4:40 p.m.), The Clientele (@ 5:30 p.m.), Honeycut (@ 2:20 p.m.), Justin Nozuka (@ 1:10 p.m.), and more!
See the full schedule of day two!
And for anyone unable to fork out the forty seven blagillion dollars to get to the island this Saturday and Sunday, MuchAXS will be streaming the whole thing live.