Advantages Jem, Franz Ferdinand, Scissor Sisters
Disadvantages Maroon 5
|Booze and nosh|
|Variety of music||Good|
|Accessibility to various stages||Excellent|
|Facilities (campsite, toilets, creche, etc.)||Excellent|
|Sound quality/rigging of stages||Excellent|
|Value for money||Excellent|
So summer is drawing to a close but that doesn't mean that the festival season is over yet.....Nope, there was still one other event I had to go to and that was Vital 05.Vital is a music festival that has been held over the past five or so years in Botanic Gardens, Belfast. Spread over two days, this is a festival run by Tennent's Lager (the same dudes who organise T in The Park) the only difference being that this is a non-camping festival. Over the years they have managed to bag themselves some pretty big artists and bands to play and this year was no exception. With limited funds available my friends and I had to settle for going to just one of the days. The first day headliners were Franz Ferdinand and Scissor Sisters and the second day had Kings Of Leon and Faithless. After much deliberating we plumped to see Franz Ferdinand and Scissor Sisters on 23rd August 2005. The tickets were only £35, quite good value.
As usual Vital was held at Botanic Gardens Belfast. Botanic Gardens is a massive park in South Belfast, not far from the City Centre. The only entrance I knew of to the park was the one close to Queens University but the tickets indicated that there was another entrance on the Stranmillis Embankment. As I live in Belfast I knew that this place was easy enough to get to. The roads were well sign posted with the usual yellow AA signs. Being the lazy sods that we are, we got a taxi which only cost us £6. The best form of transport to get to Vital would have been taxi or your own car. There didn't seem to be any sign of public transport that had been organised for the event. Typical. Traffic going to the event was pretty light, but maybe because we opted to leave my house at 4pm (the time the gates opened) so arriving after the main rush.Arriving a little later than we hoped, we missed the first act on stage who are called Leya. Leya are an indie/rock band from Northern Ireland. They haven't made it that big and currently tour the length and breadth of Ireland. They are one of those who might be destined to stay on the local club circuit but then again one lucky break and they could be the next big thing. So we weren't that downhearted that we missed them. Between each act there was a gap of about fifteen to thirty minutes, so we took this oppurtunity to explore the festival area a bit more.
The festival area was quite compact. The stage itself was very big, like the type you see at Glastonbury and Oxegen festivals. There was a merchandise stall selling official band t-shirts and blow up scissor sisters symbols. Finding food was no problem at all. The food stalls were all lined up in a row beside each others; selling the usual burgers and chips through to baguettes and paninis. A hop, skip and jump away from the food stalls was the bar. It was a huge, long cover tent, with crowd control barriers ensuring everyone queued up orderly. Naturally as this was a Tennents event that was the only beer available. At £3 a pint, it's not that expensive for a festival. If aren't a beer monster then there was vodka and the usual range of mixers available. And if you are tee-total then you could buy water, sprite, coke etc etc.Now for the low down on the toilets.....this is something us girls always get into a fret over at festivals. There were loads and loads of portaloos all clumped together in one easy to find spot. For the men there was a urinal area, that you entered through what looked to be a metal maze. But that stopped them from clogging up the already massive queues of girls waiting for the toilets. These portaloos, when finally got to one, were absolutely spotless...even to the end to the concert. Woohoo!
The only major downside was the good old Northern Irish weather. Of course it just had to rain!The first act we got to see at Vital05 was Jem. Jem has made her name being hailed as the new "Dido". The english girl made it big in the US featuring the OC. Before hitting the big time back home. Well this performance proved she has a lot more get up and go than Dido. Working through most of songs off her album "Finally Woken" that her 30 minute slot would allow. Her live band nailed most of the songs while she danced about the stage. Her soft sounds very good live but we were just hoping she would take some more risks and push her voice a bit harder. As her on stage confidence grew a little more she began to hit higher notes and really get into the performance. Jem interacted with the crowd as best she could and the response she got was excellent for her big hits. "They" and "Just A Ride" got the whole crowd singing and dancing away. Her new single "Wish I" (theme tune from Celebrity Love Island) was the best, her smooth soft tones sounded perfect for this summer, feel good tune even if it was drizzling. To round off her performance she sang "24" off her album. At beginning she was a bit iffy but by the end she was perfect. They should have given her longer than 30minutes.
Growing anticipation for Maroon 5 meant that crowd around the stage swelled. Maroon5 seemed to take a life time to get themselves on stage but when they finally did it was to a very warm Belfast welcome. I've never really had anything against Maroon 5 but they always struck me as a bit boring, a bit safe and their appearance at Vital05 didn't really do anything to change that. Obviously the band can play reasonably well and lead singer Adam Levigne sounds decent enough live, it just took him a couple of songs to get the right tune and key! I did enjoy some parts of their set. "This Love" got everyone around me singing along and belting the tune out, I imagine we sounded pretty damn good. "Sunday Morning" and "Must Get Out" have always been my favourite of their songs and these were my highlights of their set. As the set progressed and the rain began to pour a little harder, Adam Levigne did little to try and lift the crowd. The rest of their performance was average with only the most die hard fans really getting into it. Even their cover of an old Oasis song couldn't save them.Finally Maroon5 exited the stage. Now that they had gone, there was a real buzz in the air, everyone was getting very excited for the return of Franz Ferdinand to Belfast. Still riding high after the massive success of their first album and the imminent release of new single "Do You Want to" Franz Ferdiand entered the stage to the most massive cheer of the day so far. Their set included the new single "Do You Want To" it was great to hear it played live with the usual vigour, most people knew the words already. The whole band were on top form rolling out some new material as well as all the classics off the debut album.
Each song was mass of clapping and feet stomping, everyone really got into their performance. Alex (lead singer) as always engaged well with the crowd. Now after playing so many live dates he seems at ease talking to a crowd of well over 15,000. Twice he introduces the band throughout the set with Nick (guitarist) introducing Alex as "the man with the heavenly voice". When you see Franz Ferdinand live (and this was my third time) it's always so hard to pick a favourite song or highlight. Obviously the crowd went mental for "Take Me Out" and "Matinee". "Jacqueline" gets a massive response because it was used on TV commcercials to advertise Vital05; with everyone singing "it's always better on holiday" it was a magical moment. "40"" rounded off the storming set leaving everyone feeling fantastic and full of beans even though the night was creeping in and rain getting a bit heavier.The Scissor Sister's took a good while getting themselves out on stage but their stage set up was very elaborate. So some feel good dance tunes such as "Good Life" by Inner City were blasted over the sound system to keep people dancing and spirits high. Eventually the lights dimmed......and a blast of light and the Scissor Sisters entered. Launching straight into "Laura" everyone went absolutely wild. Jake's vocals were spot on and the stage set up was awesome. A huge arch rose above the stage with loads of lights spelling out Scissor Sisters; this was very impressive. Having seen them before, this time Mr Jake Shears (lead singer) seemed to take a back seat and let Ana Matronic do all the talking to the crowd. She's a natural entertainer, telling everyone "Belfast is the most important meal of the day" and praising the Franz Ferdinand boys. After a while she even takes off her high heels declaring "they aren't for today" and during "Tits On the Radio" she cuts her leg and shouts this is how much they put into their performance and attempts to move us. Like Franz Ferdinand their set features a lot of old and some new material from the forthcoming album.
The grooving and dancing continues as they play "Comfortably Numb" in which everyone in the crowd tries to imitate Jake's high pitch "ha ha ha feeling comfortably numb". Babydaddy and Del Marquis are on top form on both acoustic and electric guitar. Amidst all the crazy dancing Jake decides it's time for a slow song. Everyone knows it's going to be "Mary" but first he has to read out a note that someone had left backstage....a marriage proposal! So I guess "Mary" had extra meaning that night for the girl it was meant for. After the slow, reflective mood of "Mary" it's time to party again. Ana starts asking "are there any sluts in the audience?", "any tarts?" and so and so on. This is all part of that gay cabaret circus that is Scissor Sisters....this signals the huge hit that was "Filthy/Gorgeous". Ana and Jake dance about the stage like wild things, their costumes sparkling under the lights and belting the tune out for all it's worth. "Music is the Victim" ensues as does some new material. One song was particularly fantastic "Hellbaby".Their whole on stage performance is fantastic with giant scissors and other costumed freaks joining them towards the end. Ana's stage presence coupled with Jake's unique vocals make for one hell of a performance. Rounding off the performance they sing "Return To Oz" a ballad supposedly about the "Emerald Isle". The piano solo at end of the song just sparkles on this rainy August night and there seemed to be a real connection with the crowd. And if their new material is anything to go by then the next album should be just as fantastic as the first.
And so the rain pelted down, harder and harder. But nobody seemed to care. We had danced and sang along all day and night. Rain was the last thing to bother us.
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment