Rise & Shine is a smaller festival that literally takes place in a backyard (albeit a large one). The intimate setting lends itself to a unique experience in a world where “the festival” has gone the way of the corporation and can tend to feel like more of a money grab than musical celebration. It also differentiates itself by taking place over one day and having 100% of their proceeds go to Rise & Shine: Captain Camps. Yes, that means that all these RAD artists are volunteering their time for a good cause: #partywithpurpose
Our one-day (and night) began in Vancouver. After eating at one of the Vancouver brunch hot spots while waiting for one of our crew to arrive, we drove to Pemberton where Rise and Shine takes place. Pemberton sits about 30 minutes north of Whistler, in a valley that accumulates residual heat. This effect makes for painful heat later in summer, but allows for nearly perfect conditions in June. Rise and Shine was met with sun that allowed for all festival goers to tent and party all night in total comfort.
Upon arrival at the festival grounds, we were directed to camp virtually wherever we pleased. There are essentially two campgrounds divided by a small ditch (that one member of NineEightSeven would later have trouble navigating). Each camp is a stone’s throw away from the festival stage – leading to an atmosphere that allows any festival music to be heard and felt upon entrance to the property, at the campground, and almost anywhere onsite. One campground came complete with a secondary stage / party scene operating out of a bus (ft. a beach volleyball court). The other campground had to pause partying while a school bus, surfed by one Rise and Shiner, found its spot.
Nine Eight Seven brought disc slam to the fest. We found that there were few who weren’t keen to take a toss or two of the Frisbee when walking by our campsite. The site itself is less camping-à-festival, and more one total experience.
The way the festival (and the acts themselves) is set-up creates a constant supply of beats to lose yourself in. We filtered in and out of the stage area over the course of the afternoon, evening, and night and each time were greeted with something dancey and different. From the more mellow afternoon WMNSTUDIES, to the vocals and drums of DiRTY RADiO, to the violin mastery of Kytami, each act progressed the night in a new way, and R&S founders/duo Average Gypsy throwing down a late set for the ages.
As the sun set and prior to his turn, we found ourselves in line for burgers with Shadi of DiRTY RADiO. Bonded by hunger, we chatted about the venue, and our excitement for the live vocals in their act. As we parted, we promised we wouldn’t miss their set.
DiRTY RADiO delivered, uniting the entire festival with a “commanding vocal performance” (as once described by Pitchfork). But more importantly, delivering the entire festival from the last rays of sunlight into the night.
The rest of the evening is a blur of dancing and music, and bright lights suspended in the stage-side shrubbery.
Can’t wait for this year.
Photos: A handful of rad Rise & Shine volunteers
Review: Alex Jardine
In a world so tirelessly fixated on nostalgia, it can be easy to become cynical towards the current wave of young bands borrowing sounds from the past.
This issue has been a cause for discussion in music media recently because of bands like Greta Van Fleet, who came under fire for sounding too much like their main influence, Led Zeppelin, cashing in on our fondness for familiarity without offering anything new.
Parcels focus on recycling rather than regurgitating by celebrating both past and contemporary sounds. The band are a smorgasbord of 70s funk and disco, and the kind of indie pop regularly featured on Urban Outfitters and Topman playlists. The fact they were discovered by Daft Punk and self-produced their glistening debut which was released on hip electronic music label, Kitsuné, adds a layer of authenticity to their intention as a throwback band.
Parcels performed the 10th consecutive sell-out show of their expansive 2019 world tour at Fortune Sound Club.
Sporting flashy matching jumpsuits, support act, Penthouse Boys, played a set of old school hip-hop influenced synth-pop. Their cheeky lyrics, fun personality, and energetic dad-dance breaks could be a hit for a liquored up and flirty 2am crowd. Unfortunately, in the context of this show, Penthouse Boys felt a little jarring. The performance was overshadowed by overzealous use of that siren sound and a lack of memorable tunes. Like a personal joke between a group of friends that you’ve been left out of, it was difficult to follow the punch line.
The enthusiastic crowd was already chanting “Parcels” long before the lights dimmed. The band launched straight into the first track of their debut album, “Comedown,” pausing dramatically to allow the audience to release a deafening scream before the bass dropped in.
Breaks were few and far between and the set flowed almost seamlessly. This was both a blessing and a curse as their sound is so consistent that it was sometimes hard to distinguish between individual songs until they got to the hooks in the choruses.
Parcels are an extremely talented band that were exhilarating to watch live. The percussive, muted guitar plucks, pounding bass, and tight drumming led a driving rhythm that kept everyone dancing from beginning to end. The four-part harmonies were pitch-perfect and the band members switched lead vocal duties which allowed the unique qualities of each of their voices to shine through. Keyboard duo, Louie Swain and Patrick Hetherington, were the stars of the show, delivering unconventional sounds and impressive displays of talent as they frantically bashed the keys while never missing a note.
Despite their cool and artsy visual aesthetic, Parcels had a playful and charming aura. It was a pleasure to see the band truly enjoying themselves and bouncing off the positive energy in the room. Hetherington was particularly fun to watch as he looked as though he was having the time of his life.
As the band wear their influences on their sleeve, comparisons to acts like The Bee Gees and Chic, as well as tunes off Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” album are a given. But they blend the retro sounds so well and have just enough of a modern twist to feel fresh. Parcels’ live performance felt like a loving tribute and they radiated an infectious sense of joy that left me hoping that this was not just a lightning in a bottle moment.
Photos: Yasmin Hannah
Review: Adam Bouteloup
With a wide and brimming instrumental to simmer against a typically cold Vancouver night, VHS Collection took to the stage at the East Side venue of Fox Cabaret. There was little aplomb as they dove into their first song “One”, throwing out a quick “What’s up Vancouver?” before flinging themselves wholeheartedly into the set.
Frontman James Bohannon delivered an earnest performance around the stage, with a vibrancy that was matched only by his equally enthusiastic vocals and lively melodies. With each song, lighting was timed to match the rhythm, making for a cohesive and moody show.
Hailing from New York, VHS Collection felt like a culmination of a chilled rock band, oozing with cool millennial indifference, only to be surpassed by the energy and movement from the lead singer. The crowd lapped up every moment, the front row bleary eyed with happiness as they sung along to each song and held their hands out to grasp the moment out of the air.
James managed to overlook the phones and hands waved wildly in his face, and used the stage as his own private dance floor, while fans moved along with the building beats and melodies.
With cool vibes and a great stage presence from the entire band, the music felt like the perfect soundtrack to be enjoyed with friends at a lake getaway.
The opening act – Whelming, provided a modern take on what singer/guitarist Erik Severinson describes as “Bohemian Rock”. There was a positivity and a freshness in the performance, making Whelming a great opener for VHS Collection.
The reverb on the vocals and careful licks of the guitar made for a well oiled performance from the Vancouver natives.
Ending on crowd favourites, VHS Collection wrapped up a successful show with their popular songs “Waiting on the Summer” & “Ghost” from their 2016 album Stereo Hype.
A great night, filled with energy and creative music, both VHS Collection and Whelming delivered a sweet set that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Photos: Louis Lay
Review: Melissa Riemer
Playing to a packed crowd at The Vogue, Dan Mangan pulled from 20 years of song writing and performing to deliver a magical night to the local friends and family who filled the theatre. The show kicked off with Lynchpin, off Dan’s latest album More or Less. However, it wasn’t long before he caught everyone off-guard with a funky mid-song transition into Road Regrets, and the crowd couldn’t help themselves but sing along.
There was a moment in the middle of the show where Dan was left on stage by himself. He first took suggestions from the crowd, presenting the option to hear Jeopardy or Leaves, Trees, Forest. He decided “to play them both”. I don’t think we can emphasize enough how involved the crowd was. At times, it felt as if Dan had invited a 1200-piece choir to the show. There was even a moment during Jeopardy where Dan asks, “What time is it?” and someone from the crowd politely yelled out “nine thirty!” (We checked, they were right). The banter even had Dan laughing, struggling to finish the song with a straight face.
Dan took a minute during the show to promote his latest project, Side Door. The platform, developed alongside business partner Laura Simpson, is taking aim at the music industry gate-keepers, connecting musicians with performance spaces. Anyone can become a host as long as you have a space for 30-150 music enthusiasts. With over 700 artists on the platform, Dan was keen to encourage the crowd to sign up. The 987 crew is looking into it, stay tuned for our very own Side Door gig!
Of course, the encore included the hit Robots from his 2009 album Nice, Nice, Very Nice.
The show concluded with Dan stepping down into the crowd, microphone in hand, standing on a metal chair, signing with friends and family. With the lights dimmed, Dan was illuminated by “the hammer” (a mic boom wrapped in LED strip lights) while the band, horns, and La Force played not for the crowd – but with the crowd.
Overall, a fantastic night that reminded the whole crew at 987 why we love supporting our hometown heroes.
Photos: Mikhail Din
Review: Graham Russell