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Rifflandia 2023 Introduced Star Energy and Synergy to Victoria Specific Occasions

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As initially printed by Alan Ranta on Exclaim!

After final yr’s victorious return, the 2023 version of Rifflandia inevitably felt extra low stakes, capable of breathe with out the burden of constructing a mission-cementing comeback. Nonetheless, the fest felt simply as thrilling and whirlwind because it ever does, with names huge and small feeding their legend or making their mark. Exclaim! was there, and these are one of the best issues we noticed. 

September 15

Sports activities Crew 

There is a love factor happening between Sports activities Crew and the town of Victoria. After performing breakthrough single “The Drop” mid-set, frontperson Alex Rice defined his principle that the one purpose they obtained booked to play in Victoria once more so rapidly after enjoying a headline present at Wicket Corridor some six months earlier was by a mix-up on the ferry to Vancouver Island. They have been on their method to the gig when rhythm guitarist Rob Knaggs ended up entering into the flawed van with an alarmed household that he didn’t know — the van’s proprietor turned out to be the booker for Rifflandia.

Holding to their said aesthetic, drummer Alex Greenwood donned a lime inexperienced Manchester United soccer jersey adorned with the identify and variety of famed goalkeeper Mary Earps, whereas the remainder of her crew seemed like they might have been in a yacht rock band versus one of the crucial incendiary various rock acts round.

Rice gave an impressed efficiency out entrance, hamming it up as if solely Iggy Pop was watching him. He did a backwards somersault throughout “R Leisure,” then obtained up trying coolly dazed and chicken-kicked for your complete first verse of “Dig!” He gave the viewers a transparent and engaging invitation to affix of their model of mayhem.

Ready for his or her finale “Stanton” to take off, Rice sat on the steps on the entrance of the expansive fundamental stage, making it really feel a bit extra intimate as his gang constructed up the swell behind him. They painted the silence with sounds evoking Pulp, Arctic Monkey, and early Supergrass, and left an impression in their very own picture.

U.S. Ladies

Placing U.S. Ladies on the modest Rifftop Stage — downwind of Splifflandia’s authorized weed dispensary at 4:20 — was impressed reserving on paper, however the expertise was maybe a bit extra intense than hoped. Performing within the ever-warming solar, Meg Remy was compelled to put on a black sweat towel as a makeshift veil for many of her set to lend herself a gentle barrier towards the devastating rays. But, relatively than cloaking her, she made the protecting towel a playful a part of her efficiency, like a baby enjoying peekaboo as she grooved away on her catalogue of cerebral artwork pop.

Within the midst of a world tour supporting 2023’s good Bless This Mess, she and her drummerless band demonstrated the admirable depth and number of her inventive imaginative and prescient. Their flawless rendition of “Futures Guess,” full with its Hendrix-like nationwide anthem intro nod, highlighted how the attractive, soulful pop dirge would match splendidly among the many extra progressive works of Tremendous Younger Cannibals. After it was completed, she jokingly mentioned it wasn’t that sizzling up there, earlier than noting, “It could actually at all times get hotter. That is the factor.”

Sadly, following a stable rendition of “Rosebud” from 2018’s In a Poem Limitless, they tried to launch into “L-Over” when your complete PA system shut down resulting from an influence problem, forcing the sound console to be rebooted. In close to silence, the band performed on, giving it their all regardless of solely being audible inside a spitting radius. The sound man finally obtained the whole lot again on-line close to the tip of the track, at which level Remy whipped off her towel and projected bigger than ever. Afterward, she famous her disappointment within the sound drop, as “L-Over” is her favourite track to carry out. In order that they went forward and performed it another time for all of our sake.

Placing her towel again on, Remy thanked safety guards who had to hang around within the solar all day earlier than launching into the disco hotshot of “4 American {Dollars},” transitioning so easily right into a scorching cowl of Curtis Mayfield’s “Be Grateful for What You Bought” that it was barely perceptible. Afterward, Remy mentioned, “I am grateful for this warmth, for this black stage burning my toes,” earlier than expressing gratitude for her keyboardist Geordie Gordon, pianist Edwin de Goeij, percussionist Ed Squires and her companion/guitarist Max “Slim Twig” Turnbull. Their children have been additionally in attendance, finishing the household affair.

The loving vibes have been obvious from one facet of the stage to the opposite because the band jelled behind Remy’s voice stronger than ever. All indications are that Remy and her coterie of ne’er-do-wells are getting older like wonderful cheese. They’re simply getting stronger.

Iggy Pop

iggy pop rifflandia 2023 jash
They are saying do not meet your idols, and this has confirmed to be comparatively true. Anybody who has seen Bob Dylan or Brian Wilson carry out over the previous thirty years can attest to the distinction between the picture of the performer inbuilt our minds and the chilly actuality of seeing somebody carry out years after their most influential recordings have been made. Expectations have to be tempered.

Nonetheless, it is uncertain that anybody walked away from seeing Iggy Pop on Rifflandia’s fundamental stage feeling like they did not see him in all his glory at 76 years previous.

Principally performing in his signature shirtless model, the wrinkles and scars on his torso portray a street map of a life lived to the fullest, Pop and his band took the stage in close to darkness with a creepy, droning intro just like the opening of a John Carpenter movie whereas grainy black and white footage of Iggy performed slowly on the screens. Iggy rapidly misplaced his black vest after the canines began barking, and the band launched into “5 Foot One” from his 1979 album New Values.

A collection of Pop’s biggest hits blanketed the set record, from basic Stooges proto-punk numbers like “Uncooked Energy” and a sped-up tackle “TV Eye” to his good solo work in “Lust for Life” and “The Passenger.” But he by no means made it really feel like he was doing us a favour or going by the motions by delivering what we wished to listen to.

Importantly, he inserted new materials in there to maintain it contemporary, like “Fashionable Day Ripoff” from this yr’s Each Loser. He is saved the fireplace burning longer than many of the viewers had been alive, and he nonetheless showcased all of his legendary bodily and vocal presence.

There is a hitch in his giddy-up, however giddy he upped, working all components of the stage and crowd. He used the mic like a needle to inject himself throughout “Uncooked Energy,” grabbed the mic like a crooner for “Gimme Hazard,” and coaxed the gang to sing the David Bowie-influenced refrain of “The Passenger.” Arguably the band’s most spectacular second got here of their prolonged rendition of “I am Sick of You,” when Pop sat on a monitor centre stage to emote whereas its mangled guitar tone and mariachi trumpet curled behind him into an otherworldly snake-charming incantation of “The Finish” by the Doorways.

Throughout “I Wanna Be Your Canine,” Iggy went flat on his again, and it seemed like a great distance again as much as the residing, however he beat his chest triumphantly like King Kong after he arose. Iggy Pop is a king of types. After waving to the gang, taking a couple of bows, and limping off the stage, having left most of himself on it, he got here again out rapidly to nail three extra songs for his encore. 

Marc Rebillet

mark ribellet rifflandia 2023 jash
This mind-bludgeoning set began with a respectful and acknowledgement, after which a bit woman launched Marc Rebillet by yelling, “Get the fuck off the bed, bitch! Go!” Following her command by stomping out onto the primary stage like a Mad Lebowski in a black housecoat, weird-ass American loop daddy Rebillet was positively bizarre, and finally confirmed his ass.

Following within the nice custom of onstage eccentrics like Reggie Watts and Beardyman, Rebillet would not actually have a plan when he hits the stage. He simply pops off, loops issues and by some means music occurs. It is spectacular to behold.

Constructing his first loop out of lippy raspberries and a scream that appeared like a tough system reboot, he stuttered out a ludicrously easy, sparse keyboard melody, added in a bit banana shaker, layered on percussion and began enjoying with a sci-fi synth lead till the bass kicked in nearly ten minutes into his set. 

He saved screaming “make approach” till it will definitely morphed into “make approach for the vibe,” the air cannons exploded, and the entire thing took off in a special course. In fact, he dropped the sound out of nowhere once more to ask a man within the crowd particularly if he was bringing the vibe, and it’s unclear if he was. This vignette would truly be one of many extra lucid moments of Marc’s set as he labored a sluggish burn all through his efficiency, which was truly considerably detrimental to his general momentum.

At one level he noodled out a heartstring-plucking piano solo that might be used as an summary intro to Bruce Hornsby’s “The Approach It Is.” This second bled right into a sentimental downtempo instrumental with a Minimal Wave really feel, and as that labored its approach all the way down to a pure lull, he put the mic on a Phillips beer as he opened it and advised individuals they’ll do regardless of the fuck they need to as a result of it is their life.

Rebillet later placed on a bra in a single fluid movement and crowd-surfed whereas spraying a bottle of champagne like a successful Method-1 driver. After being by chance dropped by the gang, he finally went again to his laptop computer, introduced that he wished to fuck, and confetti cannons blew paper all around the crowd. Yowzah!

September 16

Chet Faker
chet faker rifflandia 2023 jash
Chet Faker nestled himself into fairly the comfortable nook on Rifflandia’s huge fundamental stage. Sandwiched between two keyboard stations and 4 huge octo-speaker banks with a couple of extra screens on the bottom, Faker seemed like he was grooving away in his personal cozy sound cocoon, inviting us in to observe.

Beginning off with “Oh Me Oh My,” the opening monitor from 2021’s Lodge Give up, his was considered one of Saturday’s most satisfying units. Sadly, about ten minutes in, his vocals dropped out whereas he was making an attempt to sing “Really feel Good.” It wasn’t the one time the pageant had energy points, so there have been some exasperated gasps of annoyance, however this problem was mounted approach faster than the dropout throughout U.S. Ladies’ set on the Rifftop stage the day before today.

After the sound got here again on, Murphy sang a bit extra, then performed a jaunty piano melody that extremely morphed right into a synth melody over a beat as he picked up a white guitar, went again to the mic, and continued the graceful transition from “Really feel Good” into “No matter Tomorrow.” 

He would later have a slight mic stand malfunction, requiring exterior help, however all issues thought-about, Faker crushed it. Because the twilight descended, the stage’s lighting splendour actually got here into focus. As Murphy performed the funky electrical piano of “Get Excessive,” a large highlight briefly looked for him within the darkness till heavenly blue skies with little fluffy clouds appeared on the large display behind him, his picture on the keys mirrored in complimentary blue and white on the screens subsequent to the stage. Time slowed down, and the whole lot on the earth appeared alright for a second.

Mavis Staples 

mavis staples rifflandia 2023 jash
At 84 years previous, Mavis was led out to Rifflandia’s fundamental stage mic with the help of a dapper man in a go well with, and it was quickly obvious that, for all of her astounding gumption, she would wish to tempo herself. Surrounded by a guitarist, rhythm part and a few backing singers, she had a bit piano bench in entrance of the drummer the place she would perch each track or so to have a sip of tea and let the band steep.

She obtained up when she might, although. Her voice frayed from years of commanding the satan to maintain on stepping outta right here, Staples gave it the whole lot she had in service of the larger good. When her singers began chanting “I am going to fly away” for his or her funky model of the title lower from 1974’s Metropolis within the Sky, it felt like the entire ballpark would possibly achieve this.

She did combine in newer choices like “Who Advised You That” from the Tweedy-produced 2017 effort If All I Was Was Black and “Eyes on the Prize” from 2007’s Ry Cooder-assisted We’ll By no means Flip Again, but she appeared to dig deeper the farther she went again. She appeared well-supported throughout her well-known renditions of Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That,” which gave her backing singers every an opportunity to shine, in addition to the Speaking Heads’ “Slippery Individuals” and Steven Stills’ “For What It is Value.” Most touchingly, she appeared visibly stirred throughout their model of “Friendship,” choking again a couple of tears as she put a bit of her coronary heart into one of many final songs recorded by her father Pops Staples earlier than he handed.

Naturally, the setlist was stuffed and bookended with choices from the Staples Singers. Beginning off with “If You are Prepared (Come Go together with Me),” they closed with their first hit for Stax, 1971’s “Heavy Makes You Joyful (Sha-Na-Increase-Increase),” sandwiching the seminal “Respect Your self” someplace in between.

Throughout their efficiency of “Respect Your self,” the guitarist took the primary verse and allowed Mavis to affix the choir whereas she regained her bearings after a tea break. It was a wise method to construction the set, maintaining the present going easily whereas permitting the marvellous Mrs. Mavis to shine by when she might. A grasp who nonetheless twinkles within the twilight of her profession. Respect.


For an hour or so on a cool fall night, Diplo made Victoria really feel way more like Florida than Florida. The Park felt twice as packed )and twice as drunk) because it had the night time earlier than for the legendary Iggy Pop, with errant beer cans blanketing the grounds and little respect for private area anyplace close to the stage. Diplo got here out with good vitality, introduced himself by saying, “My identify is Diplo. Are you guys able to rave tonight?”

For a couple of tracks, it appeared like he was going to do exactly that. His opening monitor was manic, constructing to a loopy laborious techno drop, and he carried on that momentum for one more track or two, going laborious and deep till settling in to what the set would principally include — questionable shows of predictable Prime 40 membership tracks like “Say My Identify” by Future’s Little one, “Do not Cease Believin'” by Journey, “Roxanne” by the Police, and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from the Soiled Dancing soundtrack. Truthfully, Diplo’s taste-level bordered on offensive at instances.
Diplo’s set additionally included a blatant ode to Gary Glitter within the type of an excellent cool edit of “Rock ‘n’ Roll (Half 2).” They used to play the unique “na-na na-na na-na na-na na-na na-na, hey” track at each hockey recreation till Glitter was convicted of kid porn in 1999, earlier than being convicted of pedophilia in 2006 and once more in 2015. Why anybody would give fundamental stage prime time publicity to the mediocre glam rock of a person as sick as Glitter is difficult to know.

Exacerbating the dwindling returns offered by Diplo’s monitor choice, the packed crowd was so belligerent that being anyplace in it was an elbow therapeutic massage. Comparatively early within the night, individuals arriving late to phases determined that your private area was truly theirs and took it, forming a rolling sea of aimless wanderers like some horrible human automotive wash torture from a protracted forgotten fraternity hazing ritual. 

Altogether, Diplo’s set wasn’t all that distinguishable from the one which Paris Hilton pretended to carry out at Electrical Avenue the week earlier than. One can solely think about how a lot Run the Jewels would have killed in that point slot, having destroyed the comparatively smaller stage at Rifflandia’s Electrical Avenue the week earlier than.

saltnpepa rifflandia 2023 jash
It is simple to see components of Salt-N-Pepa’s legacy residing on within the spirit of Princess Nokia, Leikeli47, Noname, Tierra Whack, and, briefly, Awkwafina, however no one has ever completed it fairly like Salt-N-Pepa.

At Rifflandia, dazzling rappers Salt and Pepa have been joined by DJ ShadowReD, who did his greatest to exploit the gang’s ’90s nostalgia. They hit the stage operating, jamming by the majority of their booty-shaking biggest hits, and left simply as rapidly. Popping out to their Grammy-winning sex-positive single “None of Your Enterprise” from Very Mandatory, in addition to the soundtracks to Barb Wire (1996) and Miss Congeniality (2000), they raised the roof additional with “R U Prepared” earlier than blowing us up with the “Love Rollercoaster” beat of “Champagne.”

If their diamond encrusted mics, fabulously pink and daring apparel, and no-fucks-given perspective wasn’t sufficient, the duo’s antics have been enhanced by a pair of Salt-N-Pepa shakers for the booty anthem “Shake Your Thang” from 1988’s A Salt with a Lethal Pepa. Sadly, simply as issues appeared to be settling into a real expertise, the present was paused for a prolonged interlude from DJ ShadowReD. Salt and Pepa left the stage, letting their beat supplier slap out a snippet of one of the best half from the most important mainstream radio hits of the ’80s and ’90s.

The break stretched out to over ten minutes, like the most important barroom karaoke session in Victoria historical past, belting out the refrain to “You Give Love A Dangerous Identify,” “Bounce Round,” and “Whoomp! (There It Is).” Fortunately, the women’ return made him lower off a complicated collection of DJ Khaled’s vapid hip-pop product “All I Do Is Win.”

From that time on, Salt-N-Pepa churned out their greatest bangers, from “Let’s Speak About Intercourse,” “Push It,” and “Shoop.” It appeared like they have been going to squeeze yet another track into their 50 minute set, however they obtained chased off stage by the laborious curfew, leaving us wanting extra, as ever.

September 17


This was Kahdijah Payne’s first time performing in Victoria as DijahSB. Dijah is a nationwide treasure, one of many biggest voices this nation has ever produced, and this was a second to acknowledge.

With their blushing self-deprecation in thoughts, their set began with the graceful, assured “Frontin’ Like Pharrell” earlier than transferring on to the much less assured “Broke Boi Anthem.” Already, of their first two selections, they wore their neuroses on their sleeves, as they do of their rhymes and on their social media accounts, at the least those that Elon Musk hasn’t suspended them from but.

Earlier than gliding into “Throw That Again” from 2021’s Head Above the Waters, they led the gang in a chant of “the whole lot goes to be okay.” This turned a kind of mantra for his or her tragically brief set, a phrase they might return to a couple instances, repeating that the whole lot can be okay… for his or her checking account or life basically.

Following the soulful shuffle of “New Steadiness” from their 2021 mini-LP Tasty Raps, Vol. 1, DijahSB requested individuals to observe them on Instagram due to their current Twitter suspension. They preserve eggs of their pocket simply in case they occur to run into Elmo. Apparently, they have been studying Portuguese with all of the spare time they’ve now that X is their ex.

That mentioned, apart from a bit disdain for Musk, Dijah was heartwarming to behold. Earlier than a model of the veggi collaboration “Distinctive,” they pleaded, “Issues are extraordinarily tough proper now, like very tough, so please have some grace for yourselves, okay? The world is already beating us up. I want y’all to not be part of on that in relation to yourselves.”

Begging for all of the vitality the gang might muster on the finish of their teasingly temporary half-hour set, DijahSB closed with a rendition of “Management,” which appeared on Nill’s 2021 album BLU. Few although they have been, if all these bangers and thinkers did not flip the gang into DijahSB followers, it is uncertain something will.

Mel C

mel c rifflandia 2023 jash
This set could have been probably the most stunning of the weekend, even to Mel herself. There had been a thriller visitor introduced for the ultimate day of Rifflandia, and amidst the same old pageant kerfuffle they finally discovered a time slot for a solo set from Melanie Chisholm, in any other case often called Sporty Spice. Holding true to her picture from the great previous days, Chisholm got here out on the primary stage in sequin fitness center shorts and a heat up jacket, the latter of which she rapidly ditched to disclose her signature sports activities bra.

Her head buried in her Pioneer headphones for many of her set, Chisholm delivered probably the greatest DJ units of your complete fest. Twiddling knobs on a mixer between two digital decks, her work was made evident by one temporary mistake when she both bumped one thing she should not have or forgot to change on one thing she ought to. However both approach, she was truly doing one thing up there, which is changing into tougher to discern as know-how improves over time. Mel C is old style.

In considered one of her extra outstanding moments, she blended the Spice Ladies’ “Who Do You Assume You Are” into “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, after which mashed them up in an unforgettable, shockingly complimentary style. Mixing in a wonderful collection of model new membership bangers like “My Payments” by Riton, “U Okay?” by PARISI, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso, and the unique acid tweakin’ funk-esque “Pump” by Chris Lorenzo, Chisholm injected sufficient nostalgia to acknowledge her followers with out feeling like a stale homage or a money seize. I doubt anybody was anticipating her to spin in a style of “Chop Suey!” by System of a Down, however she did, and it was one of the crucial pleasantly surprising issues I’ve ever witnessed.

Close to the tip of her set, Chisholm had the gang within the palm of her hand for “Tremendous Day Anthem” by Skrillex and Boys Noize when the sound began powering down, as if somebody hit cease on a report participant. She performed up a faux-shocked expression earlier than hitting play on “When You are Gone,” her locally-loved 1998 collaboration with Bryan Adams. The group sang alongside together with her as she waved and acquired their love, grabbing a mic solely to say that she would not come to Canada with out enjoying that track. Nuts to the King. God save Mel C!

Stephen Marley 

Okay, so perhaps “Stephen” is not the primary identify that involves thoughts when anybody hears the identify Marley. However not solely was Stephen Marley value staying for, he compelled me to remain till the safety guards requested us to go away — any hesitation was rapidly put to relaxation by his aura, and his band.

Joined by keyboardist Llamar “Riff Raff” Brown, guitarist Ranoy Gordon, sideburn’d bassist Kawain Williamson, and flautist Kateri Farrell, they did not have a drum set to pound the beat into us. As an alternative, all of them carried out sitting in chairs, stress-free round Marley as he generated good vibrations on the mic whereas enjoying binghi drums, shaker and a bit guitar. The sound was very pure, acoustic and understated — nearly a revolutionary assertion in itself on this age of redlining producers and over-compressed masterings.

With the anticipated clouds of hashish smoke curling within the night time breeze, the vibe was unbelievably chill all through his set. It was the exact opposite of the obnoxious mayhem Diplo had unfurled the earlier night time. This was good music for good individuals. In fact, with a giant banner of his father’s beautiful face on stage, there have been heavy doses of Bob on this Marley set. In addition they faithfully interpreted classics like “Three Little Birds” — the place Farrell’s flute virtually turned a fowl singing a lullaby — “Jamming” and “May You Be Cherished,” all belted out by the gang.

It wasn’t all about Bob, although. The youthful Marley additionally performed unique compositions, just like the light acoustic title monitor of this yr’s Outdated Soul. His rendition of the dancehall ganja ode “Site visitors Jam” from 2007’s Thoughts Management hit the candy spot too. I hope Rifflandia books extra Marleys sooner or later.

Herbie Hancock

herbie hancock rifflandia 2023 jash
The freshman to Mavis Staples’ junior, Herbie Hancock landed on Rifflandia’s fundamental stage on the age of 83. The legendary American jazz keyboardist appeared to be holding up pretty effectively for somebody who’s been persistently energetic because the early ’60s. 

“Good day, Vancouver,” Hancock said with fading confidence earlier than finally persevering with, “Island! Island.”

It was a pleasant save on a basic introduction error, however he promised to maintain his speaking to a minimal after that, extra so as a result of temporary nature of his afternoon timeslot than his grasp on native geography. With the main target positioned on his efficiency, and that of his all-star band, his music did his speaking for him. It spoke volumes.

Earlier than enjoying, Hancock declared his intent to start out off with one thing unusual, and appeared stunned by the gang’s enthusiastic response to the concept. In flip, the viewers appeared a bit unprepared for the evolving onslaught of his opening overture, which touched on varied mid-career items together with a component of “Rockit,” the monitor that helped convey scratching to the mainstream in 1983.

Hancock highlighted trumpeter Terence Blanchard by mentioning his dozens of movie scores earlier than speaking up mercurial guitarist Lionel Loueke and going poetic on James Genus, saying he had the center of a bassist and the sweetness of dessert and mainly inserting the way forward for jazz within the palms of younger drummer Jaylen Petinaud. None of it was hyperbole on Hancock’s half. Loueke made his guitar sound like three totally different individuals enjoying three totally different devices, Blanchard layered in haunting whirlwinds, Genus had all of the crackle of Thundercat, and Petinaud was giving critical Makaya McCraven vibes on drums.

For the nearer, Hancock picked up a keytar and launched into the funky riff from “Chameleon,” the opening monitor from 1973’s Head Hunters. It could have been a contact chunky in execution, nevertheless it’s spectacular that an 83 yr previous can stand with and play a keytar with out help. I damage my wrist getting off the bed this morning, and I am half his age.

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