Rifflandians awoke Saturday morning to some ugly looking weather. A storm had blown in overnight, with hard rain continuing on through the morning, finally easy up just as the gates at RAP were about to open for day three of the festival.
Overcast skies initially threatened potential further precipitation, but soon the wind picked up and started to get the clouds moving, while early arrivals enjoyed performances from local folk trio Fox Glove and Vancouver blues rock band No Sinner, who really kicked things into gear with powerhouse lead singer Colleen Rennison’s voice booming across the park. By the time the Kootenays electronic folk duo Moontricks finished their set, the wind had cleared the clouds almost completely and we were in for another sunny September day.
Vancouver indie darlings The Zolas and local modern rock quartet Band of Rascals delivered energetic afternoon performances, but it was breakthrough indietronica luminary Coleman Hell who delivered the afternoon’s most raved about performance. After performing at Rifflandia in 2015 at an over-stuffed ANIÁN Yard, the Thunder Bay native hit the main stage at RAP clad in a sequined technicolor dreamcoat and absolutely slayed, bouncing around the stage and at one point asking the audience if they wanted to get “weird” before smashing a what appeared to be a really nice ukulele into smithereens. Suffice to say, things got weird in an amazing way.
Rounding out the remainder of the park’s supporting lineup were Edmonton electronic duo Tennyson, English rockers Band of Skulls, who made their highly anticipated return to Rifflandia following a 2012 debut at the festival, and Queens hip hop duo The Beatnuts, featuring local turntable vet DJ Murge on the ones and twos.
Festival headliners Jurassic 5 lived up to their billing, electrifying the capacity crowd of 7,500 with a full slate of classic J5 tunes. The performance featured the LA-based alternative hip hop group’s full lineup, with MCs Chali 2na, Akil, Zaakir (AKA Soup) and Marc 7, who are known for their signature tightknit vocal harmonies that “make four MCs sound like one”, per the lyrics from their song Improvise. Backed up by two world class turntablists, Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark, the group delivered the high point performance of the festival.
As crowds dispersed from the park and out into the night stages, there were plenty of options to choose from. Those that missed Montreal indie pop band Groenland at Sugar Friday night had a second opportunity to catch their mellow vibes at Alix Goolden Hall, while the Victoria Event Centre proved to be a hotspot, featuring compelling performances from a trio of Vancouver acts – singer/songwriter Kaylee Johnston, freak pop band Fake Shark, and garage rockers JPNSGRLS.
Electric Avenue once again drew large swaths of humanity to catch performances including local 80s-inspired synthpop producer Miami Nights 1984, Nanaimo jazz-rock-reggae outfit Dope Soda, and Canadian hip hop icon Classified.
Late night guests at Studio CMCT at the Mint were treated to an intimate and passionate-as-ever show from Vancouver-based folk rock duo The Wild Romantics to close out the night.
Rifflandia wraps up on Sunday, and it looks like a beautiful day for a stroll in the park.