The finale of an international headlining tour, Bob Moses joined their family and friends in Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl on Saturday May 21st. The duo took a risk that paid off, as the Vancouver weather gods shone through with sunshine and cloudless skies.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Malkin Bowl, it sits nestled between the tall trees in Stanley Park and is a truly a beautiful stage for bands to play on. Front man Tom Howie spoke about how it was their first time at the Bowl, playing – or otherwise, and that “It feels so good to be home with our Vancouver family.”
The set was an undulating ebb and flow of rock and electronic music..slow and fast. Howie‘s voice proved to be beautifully mellow and sweet, ringing out over the entire crowd in crystal clear clarity.
Spotted around the park grounds, were several parents/family members of the band. Their delight at the sold out show and very friendly crowd was evident as they walked through. At one point during the show, an audience member came and cleared all the discarded cups off the grass, showing just how considerate Bob Moses fans are.
While there wasn’t much talking throughout the concert, Jim Vallance spoke about their new album “The Silence In Between” and how their latest single “Love Brand New” just went number one in the US alternative charts, creating a special moment to find out about it in their hometown amongst family, fans and friends.
Powering into each song, Howie‘s vocals stayed on point the entire performance, receiving great backup vocals from their touring bassist Julio and powerful drum performance from Joe.
During their grammy-nominated song “Tearing Me Up”, Howie invoked audience participation by getting the crowd to sing the final chorus along with him.
While this was an all ages concert, there were only a handful of parents with young children, the majority of audience members being an eclectic mix of “hiking vancouverites” and the subset of “ravers and party goers”.
As the sun set and the park was shrouded in night, the visuals on the LED screens shone through. While simple in design, they were effective and well designed to suit each song. The lighting crew did a great job in basking the band in a warm glow that flashed and danced with each track.
Overall the entire set was an exploration of Prog rock, 80’s synth pop and electronic music. With nods to both Vallance‘s history in trance and techno music as well as Howie‘s rock background.
The final few songs included a cover of Australian band INXS “Need You Tonight” and a shout out to their entire crew and band members that have helped keep them safe while touring.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to see Bob Moses live, we highly recommend it. There was a lot of hometown pride seeing one of our own up on stage and having achieved so much. The support for this duo was obvious from the sold out crowd, and the eagerness to sing along to the songs.
Been a minute since we’ve seen live music in a busy venue and Fruit Bats were the perfect act back. They took down Hollywood Theatre on March 18th, 2022, a mere couple weeks after BC’s mask mandate ended. There were folks aplenty ready to move to their new and older stuff.
Fruit Bats came out to a sold out Hollywood Theatre on an ethereal stage of clouds and suns. Opening with The Bottom of It, the opener off Gold Past Life before moving into My Sweet Midwest off Absolute Loser. Eric said this was actually an internet request.
A few songs following this, including Cazadera, were shouted out as their Canadian debut. They then moved through their catalogue, from older to new and back again. The packed crowd swayed with them. People were dancing, making out (I haven’t seen that in a while), and back at live music. It was a delightful show.
Much as Sometimes a Cloud moves back and forwards through their discography, this show did too. Eric himself said part of the album is the “collection that you buy for your friend that’s Fruit Bats curious” and that part of the album is for longtime fans. I would say the show did that as well, reminding everyone at the Hollywood Theatre what the Fruit Bats can do.
They left they stage for one of the most telegraphed encores we’ve ever seen, which would have been demanded by this crowd no matter what. They saved one of their biggest, Humbug Mountain Song, for the encore and, in more of a surprise, came back again for a second encore. Everybody left satisfied and wanting more.
Going in, I was familiar with their bigger songs, but not the whole catalogue and was quickly drawn in. Will definitely be back next time they are in town.
After a successful inaugural weekend in 2021, Day In Day Out returns for its second edition this August! Taking place at the Fisher Green Pavilion, in the heart of Seattle, this year’s festival features a wide range of acts with genres spanning across the board.
Ritt Momney was my first concert since covid hit. I had been starving for a solid night out with some kickass live music in an intimate venue. This Gen Z band of thrift shop t-shirts and pencil moustaches was just what the doctor ordered.
Set in the ever-iconic Fox Cabaret, the acoustics played out well in the venue. When it was time for Ritt Momney’s set, there were no dimming lights, and no stage changes (other than adding a few instruments). Using the same blue mood lighting and red velvet curtain backdrop as their openers, Ritt Momney and his touring band walked on stage, greeted by a mass cheer and without an introduction got to it, opening with “Paper News” from his 2019 album, Her And All of My Friends.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ritt Momney (aka Jack Rutter); he’s a Salt Lake City-based artist with a lofi-meets-indie-pop/rock sound. Ritt Momney had a major rise in popularity after his sleeper hit cover of Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” went viral on TikTok.
Ritt Momney started the night slow and chilled, silencing the crowd with soft, pull-on-your-heartstrings tunes such as “Not Around”, “Show Runner 99” and “Command V”. Everyone had their hands to their chest swaying in unison as if under a trance. That trance was broken when Jack Rutter brought on a crowd favourite “Escalator”. The intro beat started, Rutter jumped from the keys sending the audience into a frenzy.
Rutter bounced around the stage changing instruments; from piano to lead guitar and just straight vocals. He got the crowd dancing, and incorporated the two opening acts into the set; performing his single “Sometime” ft.Shane T and “Set The Table” with Hannah Jadagu. The band’s chemistry on stage was fun-loving and comfortable. Their energy was contagious, you could feel the comradery and love for performing.
With a decently bare stage set up, a relatively small crowd and the familiarity in which Jack Rutter addressed his audience, it felt like you were at a bumping house party. The energy was high and it appeared nearly every person there was a loving fan, dancing and singing along, giving their full selves to the experience of the show. Even Rutter’s stage banter about losing his bag at the skate park and breaking into private rooftops to get a better view of the mountains was told as if he was chatting right to you.
At the end of the show, Rutter apologized as there was not enough time for an encore. This didn’t seem to bother the crowd, not because one wasn’t wanted, but because they had heard everything they desired.
Ritt Momney was very open and cordial with the audience. When the set was over Jack Rutter took the time to take pictures and chat with fans. Beer in hand, Rutter stayed behind for an hour or two answering questions and shooting the shit with his admirers… me being one of them.
I had heard a few songs by Ritt Momney and wasn’t sure what to expect from him and his band in a live performance, but they blew me away. With an electric stage presence, top tier talent and respect for his fan base, Ritt Momney gives it his all. It’s not a show to be missed.
The action doesn’t stop in between the two weekends. Primavera a la Ciutat will be running from June 5th to 8th; access is included with either of the weekend passes.
There will be live acts at different venues across the city. You’ll find some of the headliners such as Jorja Smith, Interpol, Megan Thee Stallion and Phoenix listed as a part of these events, as well as some acts not featured on either weekend bill, like Disclosure and Jamie XX.
Both weekends are officially sold out, but those hoping to get on the waitlist can do so by clicking here.
The name comes from a song I wrote – it’s about worshiping a person or a thing that turns out to be weaker or more flawed than you originally thought. In our culture, founded on market capitalism, people primarily worship things. You know when you impulse buy a sweet button-down Hawaiian t-shirt from an Instagram ad, but when it arrives all the buttons fall off and it looks less cool than the picture? That’s a paper idol. Or maybe I just have bad luck shopping on Instagram.
Where do you record? Basement? Professional studio?
I mostly record in my small production studio in East LA. It’s in a studio complex near the Mariachi District, so there’s tons of good food and cool music stuff happening around there. My bandmate Adam has a studio only a few minutes away, so sometimes we’ll work at his place. But given that everything happens on my laptop, I can really produce anywhere. Most of “Seen This All Before” was produced at a Starbucks in New York City. Right now, I’m at my childhood home sitting on a picnic-table-turned-music-studio where I’ll be producing material for the next EP.
What instruments do you play, and which digital audio workstations do you use?
I play guitar, bass, drumset, and sing. Adam’s got the synth and piano chops. We both use Ableton Live.
What brings you more joy, writing the lyrics or the music?
The music. It’s what comes naturally. Writing lyrics can be extremely difficult. Sometimes I’ll flow with it and come up with cool lyrics… other times I’m tearing my hair out. If I sit with the song long enough, the words come eventually. Usually.
Regarding “Seen This All Before,” were you trying to recreate the feeling of boredom with your tone and lyrics? Can you say a bit about repetition and boredom?
I’m really glad you caught onto that – most people ask about the anger of the song. The song isn’t angry, it’s lethargic and jaded. Clearly, the character in the song can’t reckon with his emotions and puts on this bored, confident front to protect himself. Or maybe his perspective is warranted? I wrote the song during a relatively bad nervous breakdown; I was feeling things very strongly at the time. But my anxiety is repetitive in nature, there’s an obsessional component that makes it all seems familiar and boring after a while. On top of that, the rest of the world is experiencing the same problems as me, and so have my ancestors, and so will my decedents. The result: my problems are just not that interesting. That’s the absurdity of “Seen This All Before”.
What emotion do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
That feeling when you’re at a party and have a random epiphany about aliens, or a new business idea, which then makes you have way more fun at the party.
And also, how do you feel, or want to feel, when you’re making it?
When I’m deep in a production, I’m meditating. My mind is turned off, I’m not thinking about the time or my headache or my rent payments – I’m focused on the specific track I’m working on. Ableton and I have a great relationship. It took us six long years to get there, but I’m at the point where my ideas can translate pretty fluidly into music. It feels good to make stuff. And Adam is basically a musical extension of myself, we have the same deep understanding of where we want this project to go and what it should sound like. Luckily, we don’t have the exact same taste in music, so he brings some jazz chops and a jam-band mentality to the table. Overall, we’re a happy team.
Regarding the song “Clouds,” is it a love song, a breakup song, or neither?
“Clouds” is about a relationship where my girlfriend broke up with me, then insisted on getting back together, then left me again three weeks later. It’s a love song and a breakup song!
Are you eager to get back to live concerts, or have you been happy doing live streams in the digital space? Do you foresee hybrid concerts in your future, such as your recent EP release party?
Adam and I can’t wait to play live again. We had a few local LA shows in October and are looking to tour soon. I think the hybrid concert model would be great to continue, especially with everything going on. In addition, our fanbase is international, so until our world tour it’s cool to stream the shows online!
What inspired the switch in direction from med school to musician?
Medicine is a family business – both my parents and my sister are doctors, my grandfather was a pharmacist, and my aunts and uncles are in medicine. Growing up, I figured I’d join them. I used to dress up as a doctor for Halloween. I went so far as finishing a pre-med curriculum at Wesleyan University and taking a medical technology job following graduation. Sitting at my desk job, I kept hearing this inner voice that said, “Go!” I ignored it for many months. Then I spent a weekend in LA on business, and met up with buddies from Wesleyan who encouraged me to move there and make music. I figured that’s where “Go!” was telling me to go. So, like many Midwestern hopefuls before me, I quit my job and drove down to LA with lots of music gear and no plan whatsoever.
You describe your music as “Delusional Pop” – did you coin that or was it already established industry jargon?
Adam actually came up with that one! Sums it up good huh?
Does the colour yellow mean something to you, or does it just happen to be your fave?
Neither, actually. After writing “Clouds,” I spent some time thinking about the visual aesthetic, and the first thing that popped in my head was the yellow umbrella. From there, I came up with the album art, and Mania Days became the yellow EP. Something about yellow is dreamy and “open,” it was the perfect color for Mania Days. Paper Idol has always stuck to the three primary colors for the art, so we might choose a new one for the next project…
Will your new Bond movie be called:
James Bond: Paper Never Dies
James Bond: Octopaper
James Bond: GoldenEyedol?
Oh my goodness these are great – I vote Octopaper.
Bud Light Limes or craft beer?
Craft beer. Too many bad high-school hangovers with Bud Light.
The Rio Theatre was absolutely rocked on November 9th by COIN. With the absence of the opening act, Valley, who were unable to get across the border, Chase Lawrence (lead vocals/synths), Ryan Winnen (drums), Joe Memmel (lead guitar/backing vocals), and Matt Martin (bass) came out to a somewhat cool crowd, murmuring with excitement.
The first live sounds of the night came from Memmel‘s Fender Mustang for their song Chapstick, a single they released in early October. The tone of his opening riff cut like a knife through the anticipation of what the night had in store. There were no more questions at this point; we were in for a show.
As the night went on, it became more and more apparent why COIN has experienced the success they have; not only were they all incredible musicians, but they each had a distinct knack for showmanship. Whether it was Lawrence jumping on top of his keyboard mid solo or Memmel becoming a human extension of his guitar and falling to his knees at the strum of a chord, there was always something going on up there that caught your eye. The passion they have for their music was evident and contagious.
I was able to get my hands on their setlist after the show, and this was the order of the songs they played.
Before playing You Are The Traffic, the only song they performed from their most recent album, Rainbow Mixtape, Lawrence mentioned that they wrote 26 new songs in the last year. Which, under normal circumstances, would be basically impossible for a band trying to balance a touring schedule. The feat becomes even more impressive when you consider the quality of the 26 songs that they produced. But, as we all know, time can seem endless during a lockdown; something Lawrence credited as the main reason they were able to write so much.
I was slightly disappointed they didn’t play more of their new songs from their recent albums Rainbow Mixtape and Green Blue + Indigo Violet; the night was primarily focused on their album Dreamland, which they didn’t get a chance to tour in 2020 due to COVID-19. I can’t blame them; it’s a strange position for a band to release an album, then get halted from touring due to a global pandemic, sending them into a writing frenzy that resulted in two new albums in one year. The good news, there is a lot more new music that they will be performing soon.
The night ended off with their most popular song to date, Talk Too Much. Even after seventeen songs, they were able to muster up a powerful performance that had the entire building singing along with them. Lawrence ended the night by simply saying, “see you next time,” with confident assurance in his tone that was well deserved after that performance. He knew, as well as everyone else in that crowd, that we were going to be seeing him again.
Sifat and Samprit are Broun, a dynamic new band out of Jakarta and Toronto, with their roots in Dhaka. After the release of their first single, “Escape the Feeling,” 987’s Mikhail and Torben sat virtually down to talk to Broun about their style, experiences, influences, what gets them outta bed in the morning, and whether they like bud light lime better than craft beer. Read below the results of the experiment.
[Mikhail and Torben:] Hello Broun! Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us… virtually. Can you talk about your musical backgrounds? Do you have any formal training? Did you teach yourselves everything you know?
[Sifat:] My mom was a pop singer in the 80s and as kids, my sister and I were encouraged to learn eastern classical music. I respected it, but never really vibed with it. Fast forward a few years “Everybody” by Backstreet Boys came out. My sister and I were allowed to purchase the cassette and we could sing every song on the album by heart. I always knew I wanted to be a singer, but then I saw a concert by Linkin Park in 2000 on MTV and was mesmerized by Mike Shinoda playing multiple instruments whilst singing and rapping and all my teenage hormones wanted was to be in a band.
[Samprit:] I wanted to play guitar since I heard Eddie Van Halen’s [rip] solo in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” on cassette in the early 90s. In 2004, I finally got a guitar and over the years, took guitar lessons on and off from several capable guitar teachers until about 2009. After a 6 year hiatus from music, in late 2016 I took an interest in electronic music and started to teach myself producing from YouTube tutorials and forums.
[Sifat:] Samprit and I went to the same middle school and were two of the only rock n’ roll kids in a school dominated by hip-hop lovers. We bought the same Ibanez electric guitars, went to the same guitar teacher for lessons and listened to and jammed to a lot of rock and metal music.
I never learned how to sing, I always just could do it naturally. I did, however, learn a lot of breathing techniques and tips online once I started singing live. Samprit was a guitar prodigy in our teens, and while we did go to an amazing teacher for guitar lessons (Saadi Muktafi), he always had a knack for self-learning. In fact, he has learned everything about music production and sound design from Youtube and Twitch streams of famous producers.
[Mikhail and Torben:] You say that you came up making tunes in Dhaka. What kind of music do people make there? How have those styles influenced your music? Are there any Bangladeshi artists or bands that continue to influence you?
[Sifat:] Dhaka is one of the densest cities in the world and thus has a lot of music. Much of the mainstream music there is inspired by modern pop with eastern classical melodies and a noticeable influence from Bollywood music.
However, we started playing music during, what is commonly referred to as, the Bangladesh Underground Rock and Metal movement of the early 2000s—which was basically a group of kids who were tired of listening to what was on TV and wanted to sound edgy and different. We went to concerts in small overcrowded venues on the weekends and would be in the front row to watch bands that played covers of Metallica and Nirvana. By 2007 we had a band with the goal of sounding as different as we could from other artists in the scene, and so we would try to sound like bands like Alter Bridge, Incubus and Porcupine Tree, who at the time were new and fresh for the scene. Bands that continue to influence us from the Dhaka scene are Artcell, Black, Cryptic Fate and Nemesis to name a few. There are hundreds more.
In 2010, we released two rock singles with our band Absent Element which received a fair amount of radio play acclaim from the community, but were slowly discarded as one hit wonders as Samprit permanently moved to Canada and I was away from Dhaka for 6 years being in Canada and the UK till 2016.
The underground scene from Dhaka really influenced us not just musically, but in teaching us that kids of any age or background could come together and create something from nothing. Huh? Oh, why bud light lime of course! Anyways, the scene has now evolved far beyond just rock and metal, but continues to be a spirited generation of creators supporting each other and looking for the next unique sound. In fact more than one third of all of Broun’s listens still come from our old fans in Dhaka.
[Mikhail and Torben:] Sorry to interrupt but, do you prefer bud light lime or craft beer?
[Sifat:] Craft beer haha
[Mikhail and Torben:] Do you still visit Dhaka? Have things changed there since you’ve been abroad?
[Sifat:] Yes, In fact, I was living there between 2016 and 2019. Things have changed massively. The internet has only fuelled the scene’s creativity and diversity. You can find all sorts of genres and listeners there now.
[Mikhail and Torben:] You guys have been ‘virtually’ jamming almost every weekend since May 2020 despite being halfway around the world from each other; do you have any more releases planned for the near future? Singles? EP? Album?
[Sifat:] We’ve been virtually jamming actively since May after we realized we really had nothing to do on the weekends because of Covid. But honestly, I don’t think we ever stopped nerding out on music since 2004. We still talk guitars, some crazy riff or breakdown in a song, our favourite concert videos—you should see our chats. I think Facebook once told me I have exchanged the most number of messages with Samprit amongst all of my connections.
Yes, Broun is a long term project. It is something that we wish to pursue for many years to come. We see this as us finally pursuing our “Freedom to follow our calls” as musicians. (*coughs* teaser from second single *coughs*). We have written about 7-8 songs now that we really like, with 2 in the final stages of production now. This goal is to release one single a month till 2021. If we can get a decent following by then, a sabbatical from work and our first face to face meeting in 10 years is on the cards!
[Mikhail and Torben:] Your song blends elements from a few different genres. It’s the type of music that could really take off. Are you guys working towards the goal of Broun replacing your corporate jobs?
[Sifat:] Glad listeners are picking up on the variety of our influence. Absolutely. Believe it or not, both of us just turned 30. We really think it’s now or never. While we will need to hold on to our jobs for now, if we can really make music at the level that we aspire to, who knows what’s possible.
Right now, we are just trying to be time-management ninjas, and channel the kind of discipline we’ve been able to cultivate in our jobs towards our creative endeavours.
[Mikhail and Torben:] Has Covid affected how you produce music? Did you have any shows or tours that you had to cancel? Are you thinking of ways that you can adapt and continue to connect with people despite being unable to perform live?
[Sifat:] Covid has changed the game for us. It forced us to get rid of our mind-numbing weekend distractions and actually sit at home and give music one more shot. While I did play a few open mics here and there for the last few months, we didn’t even exist as an act—so covid was more of a catalyst than an inconvenience for us. In May, Samprit randomly sent me a synth backing with a beat and in 15 minutes of our first zoom call we had the first verse and chorus of “Escape The Feeling”. Over the next few weeks, we went back and forth on the arrangement, structure and mix of the song. By June, when it was done—it was something we were really proud of and it opened our eyes to the possibilities we had as a duo. We started writing other material in full force while planning how to market ourselves as an act online. Above everything else, we want to make good quality music that people would love to jam to—whether that be at work, the gym or a sold out stadium. However, we live in the age of digital media and thus online content is always going to be an important tool for us to reach our audience.
[Mikhail and Torben:] Did you enjoy producing the music video for “Escape the Feeling”? Would you like to do more videos in the future, and do you see them as an integral piece of modern music production?
[Sifat:] It was the most fun I have had in a very long time, and am really sad Samprit could not be part of it. A little back story. I was lucky enough to randomly come across Wina, a film producer in Jakarta. She liked the song instantly and agreed to assemble a team of 3—Putrisa, Adit and her brother Monty who did everything on the video, starting from concept, direction till the final cut. Along the way I asked my friend Adara to play the eccentric and mysterious girl in the video. Yousuf helped drive us around, took some photos and also featured in a little cameo. It all just came together like magic! Believe it or not, we filmed everything on a Sunday night from 5PM to 5AM. These guys were super supportive and honestly are our very first fans and believers. I have promised to get them backstage passess when we play Tomorrowland haha. We definitely will do more videos in the future, maybe stuff that’s a little easier to shoot. We have been exploring lyric videos as an option too. Online content is the prime way to build engagement with an audience now. I have actually been YouTubing for the past few years, and the skills I have picked up have been insanely useful so far. I even made Samprit do a photoshoot, and he’s the type who hasn’t uploaded a photo in 8 years.
[Mikhail and Torben:] Do you think that metropolitan life and corporate work stifle creativity? Is there any room for creativity in the world of work?
[Sifat:] Not at all. We feel like it gives us a chip on our shoulder to fight for our dreams harder. If we didn’t have our jobs, what would we be trying to escape from? It’s a strange paradox.
The corporate hustle also teaches you to be tough, work with tight deadlines and prioritize ruthlessly. Honestly we’re the type of people who would be lazy bums otherwise. The world of work is extremely dynamic now. Creativity is an essential skill needed to thrive in it. In fact, our colleagues fully know about and support our music.
Life in the city exposes you to a lot of stories. These stories fuel imagination and creativity.
[Mikhail and Torben:] How did you two end up in Toronto and Jakarta? Are your new homes starting to influence your music in different ways?
[Sifat:] Samprit’s family emigrated to Canada in 2010. He studied at UofT, and being the perfect poster boy engineer, found his footing in the tech industry in Toronto. I was more of a confused hopper—after completing university in the UK I was part of a tech startup in Dhaka. The connections I made there brought me to my current gig in Jakarta. I really like Indonesia, and plan to stay here for the next 2 years at least.
[Mikhail and Torben:] Who would you most like to collaborate with?
[Sifat:] The priority right now is to really establish our own unique and recognizable sound. We have exchanged messages with many musicians in Toronto, Dhaka and Jakarta – but for now we’re heads down in work trying to get our craft right.
[Mikhail and Torben:] What is one message you would give to your fans?
[Sifat:] Be honest with us, tell us what you really think.
Feedback is the one thing that will help catapult us to a global stage.
You’re the architects of our dreams as much as we are.
[Mikhail and Torben:]Thanks for chatting with us, Broun!
The last instalment of Rifflandia took place in downtown Victoria from September 13th – 16th, 2018. In its 11th year, it has established itself as an excellent west coast mid-size festival experience. The festival grounds themselves were a manageable and excellent size. The crowds felt busy and excited, but not overwhelming. Even bathroom lines were reasonable; something not every festival can boast.
This festival took place throughout the city. Philips Brewery had stages in their backyard and the main festival grounds were at Royal Athletic Park. However, once the main acts were done for the evening, various bars and clubs throughout the downtown core continued to play Rifflandia events well into the night.
NineEightSeven took the “Tsawwassen –> Swartz Bay” ferry across on Thursday night, and pre-gamed with a BC Burger. Night One started with Adventure Club at the Phillips Backyard. We arrived and found ourselves slightly not in the mental state of the largely UVic crowd who had been partying longer. Realizing our mistake, we set out to remedy this issue and stumbled upon the biggest surprise of the festival:
Diamond Café took the stage at the Capital Ballroom, and is all we’ve been talking about since. The group is young, but the lead singer’s voice is enormous. They have an 80s sound, and a dancey, sensual vibe. The lead singer would frequently carry the room away with a note hitting a higher range or held longer than anyone expected.
NineEightSeven entered Royal Athletic Park for Blitzen Trapper at the RiffTop Tent. Royal Athletic Park had two stages: Rifftop and Main. Given the size of the festival grounds, they essentially alternate. Blitzen Trapper hails from Oregon, and they have a decidedly Pacific Northwest vibe, perfectly at home in the Victoria surrounds.
Royal Athletic Park closed the night with Daniel Caesar. His soulful voice and rarely-flashed heartbreaking smile made the crowd fall in love completely. His voice and sound brought a private show feeling to the Main Stage in Victoria.
NineEightSeven then returned to the Capital Ballroom for a completely contrasting musical experience, Fucked Up. Their sound inspired a (admittedly low key) mosh pit and let audience members release any lingering energy.
There were two acts that NineEightSeven were most amped for going into Rifflandia, and they happened to both be on Saturday (late afternoon/evening).
Before that, though, Sonreal delivered some feel-good sing-along rap. He moves like no one I’ve ever seen. Legs seemingly on springs, microphone nearly parallel to the ground, and then he’s suddenly up and back and sing rapping in a completely different part of the stage.
However, for us, the whole festival had been opening for Bishop Briggs – and she delivered. Moving around the stage like a boxer, one moment sprinting, another ready to fight. Her demon, pixie dream energy somehow directly correlated to the deep, full vocals behind banger after banger. She charged from stage left to stage right, and made us all fall in love. She took moments to address the crowd and her higher, more reserved speaking voice nearly quivered with gratitude and excitement. She belted out high energy, big vocals hits like “White Flag”, “Hallowed Ground”, and “Wild Horses”. She sheepishly apologized for her first love song, “Baby” (about Sir Sly frontman, Landon Jacobs), and warned parents in the audience of some mildly explicit lyrics. And, of course, delivered her biggest hit (so far!), “River”. We love Bishop Briggs.
In the Saturday closer, a different kind of female lead took the stage: Jessie Reyez from Toronto. She’d made cross-Canada radio waves with “Figures” in late 2017. But anyone who thought “Figures” was her whole sound would have been incredibly surprised at the R&B/rap sound she brought to stage. She angrily dismantles sexual harassment in the music industry in “Gatekeeper”; laughs at fuckbois in “Bodycount”; even more angrily yells at fuckbois in her collaboration with Eminem, “Nice Guy”; dances along to the Dua Lipa/Calvin Harris “One Kiss” that she penned; and slows down and opens up in “Apple Juice”. She spoke to the crowd frequently throughout the set, bringing us in and making it more a of a conversation than simply a collection of songs.
It’s clear that, after 11 years of running this annual event, Rifflandia has this whole festival thing down. Can’t wait for the next edition 🙂