Rifflandia 2012 Royal Athletic Park review

Three days of music, art, beer and fun at Royal Athletic Park during Rifflandia V

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips



As Monday rolled around and people got back to work, the afterglow of the Rifflandia 2012 festival resonated.  It was a glorious weekend, one which showed once again that Victoria hosts one of the best music festivals in the province.  Oh, and the music was phenomenal.

Everlast striding on stage, grey beard and all, singing some of the most sombre, truthful  lyrics out of anyone in the whole festival, a man who has seen some things.  The Ends and another song dedicated to “the hard working folk” had us all feeling it, a Johnny Cash type figure, almost brought to full reincarnation when he busted out with Folsom Prison by the great legend.   Mr. Whitey Ford told us stories in a raspy voice and ripped some wicked blues guitar to go along with it.  He honoured us, exalting our awesome “BC green” and saying how he needed a couple of whiskies just to get fired up for going on stage!

Sloan rolled in like a fashionably sweatered fog from the east coast, playing their entire Twice Removed album, essentially dictating that everyone just chill the F out.  The Haligonians played with the style and grace of the 20 year rockers which they are, the drummer even having a 70s style mahogany coloured coat rack next to his place of work, where he hung up his day coat before starting to play.  Their set was like sitting on a cool east coast beach watching the sun occasionally pierce through the fog bank offshore and the slow but powerful, full waves hit the beach softly.

Hey Ocean!  and Current Swell both played enthusiastic sets filled with energy, love and beautiful good times.  Like a true mermaid, the lead singer of Hey Ocean!, Ashleigh Ball sang about touring across the country and getting lonely for the sea around the Winnipeg part of the trip.  She and her band mates sang ballads of islands and water, honouring their coastal homes.  Current Swell rocked their hits, a spicy, soothing blend of surf folk rock mixed with some hearty blues, complete some most awesome slide guitar!  When little Owen breakdanced on stage with Hey Ocean!  it just resonated the power of family and community.  The crowd literally loved it, especially when Ball declared the little man officially part of the band.

Despite the wealth of talented acts at Riff 2012, it was undoubtedly the Friday, Saturday and Sunday night closing acts which stole the show.  The Flaming Lips, Cake and Mother Mother simply rocked Royal Athletic Park with authority.  The Lips’ visual circus extravaganza was mesmerizing and beautiful, waves of green seaweed coloured 3D lights visible through the “double rainbow” glasses, giant balls bouncing and floating through the air, and a man in an inflatable rubber ball walking across the crowd.  What more can one say?

Cake took it, however; these California rockers simply preached good times and good humanity.  They were the complete package, lead singer John McCrea, playing his signature magical percussion device, the name of which escapes the writer’s definition,  captivating the crowd with a hypnotic ability.  Cake was a virtuosity of self-actualization, releasing their latest album Showroom of Compassion on their own label and simply being messiahs on stage, appropriately ridiculing the crowd for the constant tweeting and facebooking during the show, telling everyone to just “enjoy the moment”!  For it may be all we have.  Every song this band played was clear and to the tune the crowd expected-it was like listening directly to one of their albums.  The crowd loved the sound, pumping their fists and dancing the night away (especially on War Pigs!), all the while feeling slightly more in tune with how the world was turning.  Cake most assuredly vibed with the Victorians on a very mutual level.

Watching Mother Mother close out the festival was like watching your child, all grown up — and it was the perfect way to bring Victoria back home.  The entire park packed the main stage grounds and bounced to the progressive and excellent guitar rifts of lead singer Ryan Guldemond and the crooning voices and tickling ivories of his beautiful sister Molly and the fiery Jasmin Parkin.  The band’s sheer diversity of sound and emotion was, and always is, phenomenal, possibly attributable to the lovely masculine-feminine composition of the group.  Songs like Simply Simple and Let’s Fall In Love pulled at one’s heart strings, while the bass and guitar driven, siren shrieking sounds of The Stand and Hayloft sent the crowd into a bouncing, crowd surfing frenzy.  Mother Mother is quickly mastering their sonic spectrum and will undoubtedly continue rising to the top of the Canadian and International music scene.  The Body of Years which we have seen this terrific band rise have been truly enjoyable and have possibly cemented Mother Mother into Victoria’s soul.

Royal Athletic Park just scratched the surface of what Rifflandia brought to the city this year. The night venues put on their own mini festivals and rocked some serious stages.  Of note, the hip hop show at Club 9ONE9 on Thursday night was definitely most assuredly tight.

Rifflandia 2012 was just a little bit better than the year before, and the year before that.  More people seemed to be checking out the festival from abroad, showing once again that us Victorians know how to rock it best, drink it best, and hey you know the rest. M

 

Review by Matthew R. Taccogna

arts@mondaymag.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Saanich author Hannalora Leavitt hopes her new book, This Disability Experience, helps to dispel the ‘otherness’ that often surrounds people with disabilities. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Vancouver Island author demystifying disability and dismantling otherness

Hannalora Leavitt, who lives with a visual impairment, wants to change how people look at disability

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

Most Read