Pemberton Festival 2008 Day 3Photos by Alex Ramon
Day 3 probably had the most ridiculous line-up, what with Jay-Z and Coldplay ending the night off. To be frank, I expected them to kick some major ass on stage and I wasn’t disappointed. But they get enough exposure as it is. Com’on, it’s the Jigga man for crying out loud! As much as I want to write about them, I think I’ll leave it up to the others to praise Coldplay for having an outstanding set. All I have to say is, it takes a band of outstanding calibre to come to the back of the audience and play a few acoustic songs. But on to some of the bands you most likely have heard of, but not enough of!
Well we’re back on the Lillooet Stage to watch some more up and comers, but before I could even get a glimpse of what they were like on stage, I got to have a sit down with all the band members. To be honest, most of the interviews I do are usually one on one and much less intimidating, but the guys and gal of The Airborne Toxic Event (TATE… have you guys caught on yet that I like to acronym everything) were super nice and they made it feel like talking to friends. The interview will have to wait for another article, so on to their set!
Remember those sound problems for the Low vs Diamond set. Well that happened to TATE as well. I don’t know what it is about that stage, but they sure do want to screw over those up-and-comers. But these fine musicians took it in stride and shrug off the big clang every time they jumped in the air. The sound problems only lasted for the first song, so everyone was able to focus on TATE’s true musicianship. With Mikel Jollett on vocals and guitar, this 5 piece band brings everything you can imagine on stage. Anna Bulbrook played her violin so seductively that I couldn’t help but stop and wipe the drool off my face. Steven Chen was equally as brilliant with his various solo riffs, while Daren Taylor rocked out so hard on drums that I thought his moustache would have flown off. His moustache is real by the way. What impressed me the most was Noah Harmon who not only played his electric bass the normal way, but also pulled out the whole Jimmy Page-esque violin bow bass solo. With a band of this musical calibre, I’m glad I caught them on the smaller Lillooet stage before they make it on to the main stage, meaning it would be impossible to get anywhere near them.
Now I’m not the biggest Pharrell Williams fan, and when I heard N.E.R.D. was playing at Pemberton, I wasn’t getting too excited. To make matters worse, they were 40 minutes late getting on stage (which I later found out was because of traffic congestion along the one single lane road that led into the festival grounds. You would think they would private helicopter this guy in!). But he finally did make it on to the stage and the crowd went absolutely nuts. I guess all that waiting in anticipation made people scream that much more, but I wasn’t impressed yet. That is until they started playing. Pharrell has some real showmanship and played with the crowd the entire time he was on stage. Of course the organizers wanted to cut his set short because of the delay, but being the big shot that he is, he kept playing for much longer, thus pushing the schedule back a few hours. But that really didn’t matter because the entire band behind him played an onslaught of music. It did, however, seem like a second-class version of The Roots, but I guess that’s why they had two drummers to match ?uestlove. I do apologize because I have no idea what their names are, but when these two drummers battled it out on their drum solo’s, I was actually impressed. Well not ?ueslove impressed, but a very close second. I wasn’t able to catch their entire set, but from the reaction of the swarm of screaming fans, I think the wait was worth it.
Considering N.E.R.D. came on late, I assumed that Wintersleep would come on just a tad bit later. Boy was I wrong. When Alex, photographer extraordinaire, came back from taking pictures of Wintersleep and asked why I was still watching N.E.R.D., I ran full speed to catch these Nova Scotian boys, who by the way specifically flew in from their tour to play at Pemberton. Every time they stroll into Vancouver, I seem to miss them, but not this time! I did catch the tail end of their set and I’m glad I did. Up front in the audience was a man waving a huge Nova Scotia flag, and rightly so. I would have pride in my Province too if that means Wintersleep was our biggest musical export. Nothing would stop them from playing at Pemberton, even with their gear stolen after their show at Spanish Moon with Wolf Parade in Louisiana, they still managed to come all the way to B.C. and borrow gear to play an amazing set. What I enjoyed the most was when they played “Oblivion,” and I think everyone did as well, as they all seemed to be jumping that much more. Sure it created a lot more dust, but how can you stand still when such a great band is playing to a backdrop of a gorgeous mountain?
Now I want your honest answer here. How many of you learned about Death Cab from The O.C. because I sure did. I’m not afraid to admit it, because it was a good show. It was like 90210 all over again. If it weren’t for the emo-esque dork known as Seth Cohen, Death Cab would not have been playing at Pemberton. That would have been a shame, and I’m really glad I caught these guys live. Ben Gibbard, vocals and guitar, provided that nice melancholy atmosphere with a nice touch of romantic poetry. And it was the perfect time of day for this kind of music, with the sun setting and everyone just relaxing from all the hard drinking they had that weekend, while drinking a beer of course. Everyone just seemed to be a little bit happier during this set, and people just stopped and listened to the music, rather than bustling around trying to get places. It was a nice change in pace from all the hectic activities that were happening, but don’t get me wrong, when Death Cab rocked out to a few up-beat tunes, everyone was into it and screaming, dancing, and hollering all at the same time. Yes I said holler, they did that too.
So this is my recap of all that happened at Pemberton, or all that I can remember anyways. It was a great event, and even though there were some major problems with line-ups, overall the festival was a success. Arrests were even lower than expected, so give your drunken self a pat on the back. But when it does come back next year, the organizers will be that much more prepared and hopefully we’ll be having many more of these festivals in the future.