Rifflandia 2009 Day 3

Photos by Aretha Munro

Day 3 of the Rifflandia music festival brought a wide range of performances from an incredibly varied group of artists. Acts on the bill for the evening included local Vancouver favourites like Sex with Strangers and Laura Smith, to out-of-towners like the acclaimed Holy Fuck, Buck 65, and K-os. No matter what would happen, it was bound to be another memorable Rifflandia evening.

Starting out at the Metro theatre we had the pleasure to catch Laura Smith, accompanied by Andrew Braun and drummer Johnny Andrews (also in town to play with Tegan and Sara). Without a bassist for the evening, Laura and her crew opted for re-arranged versions of her favourite tunes, including “Such A Long Way To Go,” “Can’t Stop,” and the title track of her album “Sea of Stars.” The new arrangements had great effect, with impressive performances on guitar and percussion brought to the forefront. Laura also took the opportunity to showcase a couple new songs, which has an edgier, sharper sound than what we have seen in her previous tunes. With the intimate atmosphere at the Metro Theatre, Laura’s performance was fresh, and a definite success.

Char2D2Following Laura Smith, Vancouver local and past member of indie pop favourites Bella Charla McCutcheon took to the stage at the Metro with her latest endeavour in the indie pop realm – an act titled Char2d2. Consisting of McCutcheon and drummer Eric Breitenbach, Char2d2 produces catchy and somewhat laid-back indie pop tunes with ease. Playing a modest set of tracks from their debut EP “Small Vampires,” which was produced by Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara, Char2d2 managed to find a very comfortable balance between the exaggerated style of Eric’s percussion with Charla’s stillness whilst providing vocals and guitar. Overall the performance was catchy and very intriguing – Char2d2 is definitely an act to look out for.

While Jon-Rae Fletcher finished up an impressive evening at the Metro Theatre, Toronto-based experimental electronica-rock group Holy Fuck took the stage at Element Nightclub and proceeded to put forward a jaw-dropping performance that had audience members muttering the words “holy fuck” for a whole other reason. Consisting of Brian Borcherdt, Graham Walsh, Matt McQuaid, and Matt Schulz Holy Fuck creates music, sound – whatever you may call it – that challenges the realm of possibility. Undeniably original, with bass, percussion and a soundboard leading the way, Holy Fuck creates multi-layered psychedelic techno pop with a touch of rock that has the potential to blow your mind. A highlight of the show included their hit tune “Lovely Allen,” that includes a catchy melody and endlessly optimistic beat. No wonder NME magazine hailed the group as one of the top performances at a past Glastonbury festival – Holy Fuck is definitely an act everyone must find the time to see live at least once.

Holy FuckAfter leaving Element Nightclub with our heads barely intact we set our sights in the direction of Market Square, where Jordan Klassen had just finished a performance to an enthused crowd and Jon and Roy were about to take the stage. Based out of Victoria, Jon and Roy consists of Jon Middleton on guitar and vocals, Roy Vizer on percussion, and Ryan Toneli on bass. With a very northwest feel, Jon and Roy performed a delightful set of folk-rock tunes to the packed audience at the outdoor venue to overwhelmingly positive response.

Following Jon and Roy fellow Victoria locals Jets Overhead took to the stage to perform an impressive list of tunes including hits such as “Heading for Nowhere” and “George Harrison.” While Jets Overhead’s performance was a good one, it was the performance following by east-coasters Hey Rosetta! that managed to steal the evening at Market Square. The group, which hails from St. John’s, consists of members Tim Baker, Adam Hogan, Josh Ward, Phil Malony, Erin Aurich, and Romesh Thavanathan. Performing a great repertoire of songs including “I’ve been asleep for a long long time” and “There’s an arc,” the group proved that they could truly rock out. With an undeniable energy on stage the band played a tight show, advertizing impressive vocals and a fine balance between their upbeat and slower tunes. By the end of their set the consensus was that Hey Rosetta! blew it out of the water and proved that they are an act not to be missed.

If the nights performances so far weren’t enough, we had the treat of topping it all off with the one and only Buck 65, who closed out the evening’s performances at Market Square. With the square at capacity, fans and festival goers danced and applauded the Canadian hip hop artist as he rolled through a fantastic set that included Talking Heads and Fugazi covers, in addition to a welcome list of original beats. With fellow Canadian hip-hop artist K-Os briefly jumping on stage for a dance (of sorts) it was clear why Buck 65 has the great reputation that he does within the Canadian music industry. A true performer, he was the perfect cherry on top of another successful evening at Rifflandia 2009.