festival · Rifflandia 8 · Victoria BC

In photography by webmeister Bud

2015 was a very unique year for the Rifflandia music festival. It was held a week later to run in tandem with BreakOut West, a yearly music industry conference. Plenty of bands, plenty of networking, plenty of knowledge all around our fine city.

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0001Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM · 10 mm · 1/90 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

What better way to celebrate the 2015 festing season finalé with a post full of superlatives?

Favourite performance: Big Data

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0009 (Big Data)L: Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 78 mm · 1/4000 s · f/2.8 · ISO 1600
R: Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 31 mm · 1/2000 s · f/2.8 · ISO 1600

Overall, this was the show I enjoyed the most, from the Siri-like computer assistant voice guiding the audience through their enjoyment of the show to the fact that they both opened and closed their set with “Dangerous.”

How’d they do that, you might ask? By opening with the Oliver remix (my favourite) live.

Probably sick of me: The Wet Secrets

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0007 (The Wet Secrets)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 18 mm · 1/350 s · f/1.8 · ISO 1600

I deadheaded these six talented folks to three gigs in three days, more than I saw any other band.

The first performance was, by far, the best lit and most well-received, at Wood Hall on Friday night. What was particularly gratifying was knowing that probably a third of the audience present were there based on hype from me and Rocktographers.

It seems that Lyle from the band recognized that, and gave us a really nice shout out off the top of the show. AND THE NEXT ONE. ❤️‍

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0013 (The Wet Secrets)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 155 mm · 1/750 s · f/2.8 · ISO 3200

Saturday night saw them all squished under a 10×10′ tent in the rain (tarps aplenty) at surf shop Anián.

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0017 (The Wet Secrets)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 70 mm · 1/180 s · f/2.8 · ISO 200

And finally, they performed at the Western Canadian Music Awards, which followed the end of Riff.

Nicest new friend: SAVVIE

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She was actually the first act I saw during the fest proper, on Thursday night at Copper Owl.

But then, I kept bumping in to her: at the park, at other night venues, and at the WCMAs. But at the WCMAs, she was wearing a walkie. See, she’s not only talented, she’s important, in the ranks of Music BC, who helped put on the show.

Newest musical addiction: The Dears

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0004 (The Dears)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 93 mm · 1/750 s · f/2.8 · ISO 400

There’s just something huge about the music from Montreal’s The Dears, such that I wore out the play button on I Used to Pray for the Heavens to Fall. I’m totally buying the album when it drops on Friday I totally bought the album when it dropped on Friday.

Most creative shot: Mike Edel

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0002 (Mike Edel)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 35 mm · 1/500 s · f/1.8 · ISO 800

Mike performed at the BreakOut West launch presser Thursday morning. It was at the Delta, where I’ve shot weddings before. I figured that, since the balcony is very handy for wedding party shots, why wouldn’t it be for an artist?

Turns out I was right. Mike looked up for a split second and I caught this shot, which he later shared with the caption, “When I caught God snapping my picture.”

Hardest working: Jesse Roper

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0018 (Jesse Roper)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 200 mm · 1/250 s · f/2.8 · ISO 2000

This year, Jesse will play, or has played, Victoria, Colwood, Brentwood Bay, Metchosin, Cobble Hill, Nanaimo, Tofino, Cumberland, Burnaby, Vancouver, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Driftpile AB (no, me neither), Red Deer, Water Valley, Rimbey, Rocky Mtn House, Olds, Lundbreck, Lethbridge, Eastend, Okotoks, Whitehorse, and Kansas City.

That’s FORTY-FOUR SHOWS in 2015. This dude and his band deserves a nap for all of 2016.

Most difficult: Julian Casablancas

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0015 (Julian Casablancas + The Voidz)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 115 mm · 1/350 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

This is my one good shot of Julian, whose voice you may recognize from The Strokes. He spent most of the first three songs bent over, singing sideways to the mic, in red light.

Thankfully, calculating angles and exercising patience netted me this shot.

Biggest surprise: Kiesza

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0010 (Kiesza)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · L: 28 mm · R: 18mm · L: 1/750 s R: 1/350 s · f/2.8 · ISO 1600

Holy cats. This is one seriously talented Calgarian. Not only did she dance in perfect sync with her backups each song, while hitting all of her notes, there was a point toward the end of her show (I was in a food lineup too far away to capture it) where she nailed a handstand, then HANDWALKED ACROSS THE STAGE.

Most local-tastic: Towers and Trees, Isobel Trigger, Kytami

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0014 (Towers and Trees)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 70 mm · 1/500 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

My lovely friends in Towers and Trees are finally set to launch their album, The West Coast, and it’s available for preorder now. I heard a preview of the album three months ago, and have been eagerly waiting to hear it again (on repeat) since!

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0011 (Isobel Trigger)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 18 mm · 1/180 s · f/1.8 · ISO 3200

I can’t say enough about Isobel Trigger, and how much they give in their shows. The raw talent there just flows from the stage, and I enjoy every show I see. After missing a bunch of live performances due to various instances of the universe working against me, I’m on a roll with actually catching them, and saw them twice during the fest.

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0012 (Kytami)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 18 mm · 1/500 s · f/1.8 · ISO 3200

Kytami is one of these brilliant performers I follow as closely as I can, because I fear that The Big Time™ will just snap her up one day, and I’ll never get to catch her live again. Hopefully, though, her Victoria roots are deep, and I’ll be able to continue rocking out to her crazy amazing brand of EDM violin madness.

Deepest soul-stare: Young Empires

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Can’t type. Must stare back.

Most frightening moment: Jazz Cartier

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0005 (Jazz Cartier)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM · 10 mm · 1/350 s · f/3.5 · ISO 800

Wait, Jazz Cartier! There’s a pit full of photographers with expensive gear right below you, and you’re flinging around bottles of water all ov— EGADS!

Coolest lighting direction: Arkells / Mother Mother (tie)

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0006 (Arkells)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM · 18 mm · 1/250 s · f/2.8 · ISO 3200

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0016 (Mother Mother)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM · 10 mm · 1/125 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

Most legendary: Nomeansno

20150923 - Rifflandia 8 + BreakOut West-0019 (Nomeansno)Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 · 70 mm · 1/125 s · f/2.8 · ISO 2000

I was one of a very small number of people in the McPherson Playhouse to witness a once-in-a-lifetime performance. Punk royalty Nomeansno were inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and performed a completely unique acoustic medley of some of their great songs.

The live stream which was supposed to carry the show to the world crapped out and, thus, wasn’t available for reply.

THANK THE STARS for Adam Lee of Victoria Music Scene, who captured it beautifully. Please watch and respect how much this band has done for music.


Coming next week: Rifflandia Expandia. More words and photos from Riff 8 and BreakOut West, including a surprise for my boss, Caturday, and some new hardware I’m sporting.

I’ll meet ya back here then. Deal? Deal.