By Jessie Foster
September 13-16, 2018
Victoria is a musical hub for everything that funks, jams or walks. What better way to celebrate the beauty of the natural surroundings than gathering a boatload of sound equipment and setting up at dozens of venues around the city for four days of bands, snacks, gatherings and general delight. Celebrating their eleventh year, Rifflandia has continued to thrive and bring people together to frolic around with bubble makers, interactive booths and, of course, a diverse and carefully curated selection of music.
The variety of music was extremely vast, drawing out an audience from toddlers to steam punks and wonky grandfathers. Phillips Brewery had a major role in the festivities, hosting two of the three stages within Electric Avenue, which surrounded their buzzing taproom. They also provided a substantial amount of alcohol for the thirsty patrons of Rifflandia. From acts like the JB’s (The Original James Brown Band), Jessie Reyez, Adventure Club and Current Swell, everybody got a taste of their favourite sounds. Here’s a recap of some of the standout acts that Rifflandia had to offer over the electrifying weekend.
What a complete Canadian stud, Daniel Caesar can make anyone swoon between his soulful renditions of heartbreak, love and the finer things. Caesar has made a habit of being completely sensual and fiercely honest in his songwriting, lyricism and stage presence. Young and old fans alike were yelling at the chance for him to give them a wink or one of his signature smiles.
His gospel background shines through and gives a performance that would give Jesus a run for his money. LeBron James must be on to something, as the night before Rifflandia he hosted Caesar to play a private show in their home for his wife and children. This 23-year-old reined champion for R&B/Soul Recording at the Junos last year and was nominated for several other awards in the recent past. He’s been highly acclaimed by Rolling Stone Magazine and will surely be topping charts and breaking hearts for many years to come.
Might just be the nicest guy in the whole world. Some may have negative stigma about members prescribing to the hardcore genre, but frontman Damian Abraham is the kind of guy who if you bumped into him on the street he would likely give you a bear hug and make sure you walked off happier than before the encounter. Sings like a bat outta hell, acts like a pure saint. Fucked Up performed twice at Rifflandia this year, once for an all-ages crowd at the Royal Athletic Park and then again at the BeatRoute Magazine showcase Friday night at the Capital Ballroom.
There wasn’t an audience member who wasn’t gleaming during their first performance, after Abraham jumped off stage and onto the ground to wrap his microphone cord around his neck, play with the children and their inflatable whales, suction plastic cups to his head and smoke a joint. Definitely one of the most entertaining and all-inclusive shows this year, with everyone from men in business suits to under-aged punks showing up to partake in the bliss.
These guys were completely effortless in their pursuit of rocking the fuck out. Victoria’s own Bad Hoo dripped their sweat-fuelled conviction straight into the audience for a packed BeatRoute showcase at the Capital Ballroom. Relentless fortitude with playful yet kinky riffs and ear-melting assurance made for an evocative performance.
The lead singer’s deranged intensity provoked the crowd into a controlled fury, mashing around and yet somehow politely keeping their shit together. The band launched themselves into public eyes with the album Two Tin Cans and a Lollipop in 2017 and haven’t slowed down with promises of another EP dropping soon.
Many genres come together to represent the pop-inspired quintet of Bridal Party. The phantasmagorical combination of Suzannah Raudaschl and Joseph Leroux make up the front line. Churning together touches of indie, synth pop and pop plastic with just a dollop of punk to make up the melodical fondue. The keyboardists passed back and forth crooked glances. They jumped their way into their second last song, “Attention Whore.”
However, no one claimed that aforementioned title as the band shared the stage presence like a cold milkshake between lovers. Wrapping up the set with their famed single, “Fruitless,” they physically lunged their way into the end of the Bridal Party experience. The trio played off each other as seamlessly as they did their multiple tambourines. The dreamy synths, egg shakers and gold chains are a smash-up of fun you won’t forget.
With their fluidity and on-stage charisma you can always count on Fever Feel to smoothly rock you into the greatest of moods for the rest your the evening. They move like lava slowly taking over the village and infiltrating profoundly into your eardrums.
With everything from organ-esque rhythms to guitar solos reminiscent of an early George Thorogood or even Jim Morrison, these guys will take you back to sepia tones and a softer era. Managing to beautifully blend old style rock ‘n’ roll with the new, you better pity yourself a fool if you even think about missing these fiercely sparkly, yet polished local Victorian gems.