ReviewsShow Reviews

Free spirits of Rifflandia: the festival highlights


by Irene Lo

Rifflandia is one of those music festivals where families and college kids both go to have a good time. This set-up works well in Victoria as it is the capital of retired hippies and of their hipster offsprings. The line-up is quite varied so as to bring together these audiences with their distinct demands, with up-and-coming electronic acts and tried-and-true indie rock bands. A supporter of Canadian artists, Rifflandia joined forces with BreakOut West to deliver a showcase of more bands than you will have time to see. Temporarily, at least, Victoria’s night reputation was altered from closed after 9 p.m. Day 2 of Rifflandia was a rounded mix of dance, pop and synth as well as reggae, folk and alternative rock music.

Brave ShoresNew synth kids on the block, Brave Shores is Jay and Stefanie McCarrol, a sibling duo from Toronto. It was an interesting choice to have them up on the main stage at Royal Athletic Park, as their performance of their own songs was an A for effort. High-spirited songs like “Never Come Down” or “Dancing Underwater” felt much more spontaneous on record than they did live. Give or take a year, there’s no doubt Brave Shores will do justice to themselves live.  Playing new tracks for the crowd, the infectious quality to their songs is what makes Brave Shores continue to stand out in a sea of synth pop bands, however the overall impact was diluted by repetitious lyrics that didn’t quite hit the mark live.

Sticky FingersThere were a lot of artists playing in Victoria, but Sticky Fingers was a memorably good-looking band. The drummer was wearing jean shorts that left nothing to the imagination, and everyone needed a haircut and shower a week ago – such a look for a reggae band from Australia. Incredibly fun live, Sticky Fingers was a true delight. From love dub tunes like “Gold Snafu” to heavy noise throwdown, this was a warm set. Amusingly enough, on their Facebook description they say, “They’ll hypnotise you into a swaying trance, then punch you in the face for dancing like a hippy.”

The ZolasLocal darlings of Vancouver, The Zolas are an indie rock band with a hip sensibility and polished antics. The lead singer had interesting hand gestures and flips that were as elegant as they were silly. “Strange Girl” was amped, played up for all its worth in all the right ways. Having released the “Molotov Girls” off Light Organ Records earlier this summer, The Zolas have been on tour and plan to release a new album currently titled Swooner in the near future.

Neon IndianLong gone are the days when Neon Indian and chillwave will ever be in the same room again. The intense look in Alan Palomo’s eyes as he danced in serious and nimble fashion to the pop pastiche of his current discography was a blunt reminder of this. Drifting in between electronic genres, weaving synths with disco beats, there was this same dance in Neon Indian’s set that performed classics like “Terminally Chill.” VEGA INTL. Night School, despite a cover that tries too hard to be tacky, appears to be a goodie.

Comments are closed.

Verified by MonsterInsights