Virgin Festival Olympic Island, Toronto ON September 6 to 7

Virgin Festival Olympic Island, Toronto ON September 6 to 7
Richard Branson didn’t drop by in his hot air balloon, but this year’s Toronto incarnation of Virgin Festival was still an eventful one. In fact, on day two of the festival there was one visitor that did stop by unexpectedly.

The last act of the weekend, Oasis, managed to go out with a bang — literally. Just when I thought the infamous Manchester lads were sounding great — though looking predictably boring — some lunatic came rushing onto the smoke-filled stage and pushed the lesser of the two Gallagher egos (Noel, in case you’ve been absent for the past decade) face-first into his monitor. The scuffle caused a ten-minute break, but Oasis did manage to finish their set and get "Wonderwall” in for good measure.

Headlining day one, Foo Fighters had a completely different festival experience. And to show how thrilled he was to be there, Dave Grohl got tanked and was damn proud of it. He even talked percussionist Drew Hester into doing a triangle solo after he was introduced. But it wasn’t just that random highlight of their show that made it worth standing to the end of the Foo Fighters’ encore. They were definitely a fan favourite, spanning their career by playing everything from "Everlong” to "The Pretender” with as much exuberance as you can imagine a band having without spontaneously combusting.

But with all the big names playing at Virgin Festival, some of the best acts came from our neck of the woods. Canadian favourites the Constantines were given main stage privileges and they didn’t disappoint. They might be best in a small club where you can feel their contagious energy, but Bryan Webb’s raspy boom of a voice was still a presence that couldn’t be denied.

The Weakerthans were another Canadian staple that made it to the main stage with their usual solid set. The Winnipeg band also spanned their repertoire during their performance too, and there was a lot of chatter after they played from unfamiliar people about how much they loved "that band” they’d never heard of before.

But if there was one disappointment of the two days on the soggy-yet-sunny island it had to be Stereophonics. Granted they did sound fine, these Brits were just plain boring. It seemed like everyone in the crowd was disinterested as they wandered off to the beer gardens. Luckily, no one else made me want to nod off and almost miss the fact that their set was over. I bet Noel Gallagher would’ve preferred an equally tranquil evening.