Night two of Rifflandia 2013 offered a diversity of musical options. As a Love-charged crowd dispersed from Royal Athletic Park and wound their way downtown, a vast network of migratory patterns was established. Some, tired from a beer-drenched day in the sun, took solace in Alix Gooldin Hall’s padded pews for a down-tempo evening filled with the likes of Lynx, Cold Specks and Beth Orton. More energetic souls headed to Market Square to dance some more in the cool night air, while others met at Metro for a feast of talent including local darling Aidan Knight. I chose to head over to Sugar Nightclub in hopes of expanding my musical palette a bit; I am very glad I did.
Sugar’s fly-trap dance floor was about half full by the time I arrived. Patrons ascended the nightclub’s wide stairway to the beat of The Righteous Rainbows of Togetherness’ strange, electric drum, soon to be entranced by the Rainbows’ updated version of early techno. The local duo, clad in Zulu-reminiscent garb and sci-fi sorcerer hats, faced each other from the adjacent helms of their respective table tops, each of which over-flowed with a veritable museum of vintage EDM machines: there wasn’t a laptop in sight — silicone, abandoned for machine. Mischievous grins were plastered upon the faces of all who dared to venture onto the packed dancefloor, but nobody was having more fun than the Rainbows themselves, who danced barefoot, with tremendous gusto while seamlessly building techno, house and acid tunes from the ground up. I’ve been listening to the Rainbows on Soundcloud all morning: they’re that good.
The Righteous Rainbows of Togetherness’ air-tight performance perfectly set the tone for Holy Fuck. As the Toronto band quickly assembled their instruments to the crowd’s increasingly desperate invocation of a name that’s all too fun to scream aloud whilst hoisting a fast-evaporating beer, any trace semblance of inhibition quickly dissipated. A searing, seismic sound soon descended upon those gathered in front of the stage as Holy Fuck transformed everything within their collective reach into an instrument, playing found objects such as 35mm film synchronizers, dime-store keyboards and cheap microphones with tremendous ease.
Holy Fuck’s musical virtuosity is akin to that of jazz musicians. Many times throughout their long set, things seemed to go wrong, but Holy Fuck turned mistakes into opportunities for experimentation, weaving unanticipated shrieks of feedback into the dense, frantic texture of their song. A symbiotic relationship quickly developed between Holy Fuck and Sugar patrons: vast amounts of energy flowed between performers and audience, pushing the evening to increasing heights of intoxicated delight — a perfect microcosmic glimpse into a musically saturated Rifflandia weekend.
By Nick Lyons