OK, the guilt is really setting in. It’s been two months and I still have to report on two more days of the Rifflandia festival. Stupid work and life getting in the way. Anyways, here goes:

Day 2 of the Rifflandia festival started off early by checking out Treelines at the Victoria Events Centre. Their new EP Young Man received some heavy play on my stereo this summer, so this was one of the sets I was most looking forward to at Rifflandia. The first song I caught from them, Summer Song, had just that morning been awarded the title of the CBC Radio 3 Song of Summer for 2010. The fool that I am, I showed up a few minutes into the set and ended up missing my favourite song, Ghost Towns. That’s just one more reason for Treelines to make a quick return to Victoria I guess. This was actually the first show I had been to at the Victoria Events Centre, and let me just say that this venue has really got some potential. It was a pretty good space to see music, with some good sightlines, and it had a bar even though it was an all ages venue (a double win!). Back to the music though. Treelines put on one rocking set chock-full of energy. I think the almost full venue of people would have agreed with me on that. The band did not disappoint my high expectations for this show; I can’t wait to see Treelines again.

Treelines at the Victoria Events Centre

Up next at the Victoria Events Centre was a local band, The Wicks, who played some laid back country. It was nice to hear a local band I hadn’t heard before, but after that rocking set by Treelines I couldn’t sit down and give the Wicks the attention they deserved so I decided to move on. I did pick up their EP before I left though, so I’m looking forward to giving it a listen through.

The Wicks at the Victoria Events Centre

At this point I moved over to see another local band, Maurice, at Market Square. This was clearly where the party was going on, with the beer garden lineup growing by the second. The whole set culminated with one unforgettable moment of the festival in which the bass player Mark leaped off a stack of speakers. The next day it was revealed that he sprained his ankle – ouch! As proof, the band posted some photos up on their Facebook page of a pretty bruised and swollen foot.

Yukon Blonde were up next at Market Square and to put it bluntly, they rocked the joint. I was impressed that the band’s great harmonies transferred so well from the album to the stage. At this point Market Square was almost at capacity, and everyone seemed really into the show. I would not be surprised if Yukon Blonde walked away with more than a few new fans that night. Near the end of the set Aidan Knight and the boys of We Are the City joined the band on stage for a song.

with Aidan Knight and We Are The City

Yukon Blonde at Market Square

At this point the night was in full swing and I went from one capacity crowd to another to see Aidan Knight at the Metro. Even with my media pass I got stuck waiting out in the hall for this massively popular show. Luckily I was able to make it in partway through first song so all worked out. For this set Aidan and his band played a mix of  old songs, new songs, and songs from his most recent release Versicolour. After catching him a few times this summer with the Malahat Revue it was nice to see him play such a well rounded collection of material. Partway through the set Aidan asked how many of us saw him at last year’s Rifflandia festival. Considering this was such a breakout performance for him, I was surprised that the answering applause was so quiet. I guess this just goes to show how the love for Aidan Knight has spread so much in the past year. This evening Aidan was joined by a five piece band which was a nice expansion from his solo set at last year’s Rifflandia festival. The band grew even more for the song Knitting Something Nice For You when they were joined by the boys of We Are The City and by Matt Kelly of Treelines. The crowd leaped to their feet for this number, and they even got the clapping part of the song down without any prompting. To finish off the night Aidan asked the crowd to have a seat, at which point he expressed how genuinely happy he is to just be playing music. He also gave the Rifflandia organizers a heartfelt thanks for bringing something so great to our city, and mentioned some of the amazing shows he had seen so far. The band finished the night off with Jasper, and though the crowd started off sitting it didn’t last long. By the end of the song everyone was on their feet singing along, and Aidan finished the whole thing off from somewhere in the middle of the crowd.

Aidan Knight at the Metro

When I left the Metro there was a long line to see Men Without Hats. I grossly underestimated how popular that show would be and I’m quite interested to hear how that it went. Since I was in the area I decided to make a quick stop at the Alix Goolden Hall for Great Lake Swimmers. There was a long, long lineup to get in. Before the show the crowd was a little on the rowdy, restless side which made me think this show would be a disaster, but everyone quieted down as soon as the band took the stage. Unfortunately, things were running about 15 minutes late so I decided to only stay for two songs: She Comes To Me In Dreams and Everything Is Moving So Fast. If I had to hear only two songs from the Great Lake Swimmers, those are two pretty good choices.

Great Lake Swimmers at the Alix Goolden

To finish off the night I headed over to Sugar to catch the last half of Shout Out Out Out Out’s set. Once I got inside the club I was greeted with one sweaty dance party that was well underway. The whole crowd was basically jumping up and down for the entire show. Somehow or another I managed to navigate through the mass of people to get up to the front row where my friends were camped out. This was such a great way to wrap up the evening and get out all my extra energy from seeing so many hours of amazing music this weekend. Shout Out Out Out Out’s show was another one of my most anticipated sets of the festival and with two drummers and three bass players (insert double rainbow joke here), you can surely imagine that they did not let me down. In fact, the band said that it was probably their best show in Victoria so far. The crowd was so riled up by the end when they demanded an encore that the band decided to play Forever Indebted, a song that they claimed to have not played in a long time. This is one of my favourites from them, and it was such a great way to end the night.

Shout Out Out Out Out at Sugar

Now, I know this is supposed to be a music review, but after the show we wandered down to West Coast Waffles on Broad Street. I only found out that weekend that they have late night hours. They served up some amazing after show food that was such a nice change from the old standby of pizza, and they even had a mix CD of Rifflandia artists on the stereo! En route to West Coast Waffles my group ran into Zach from the Zolas and members of Treelines. I must say, it’s been a real treat so have so many musicians in town, and to have them hang around after their shows are over without needing to rush for the ferry, giving us the chance to chat with them while wandering the streets. Also spotted throughout the weekend were members of We Are the City and Aidan Knight.

Shout Out Out Out Out at Sugar

Up next in Day 3: Rich Aucoin, Diamond Rings, (a failed attempt to see) Times Neue Roman, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Hey Rosetta, The Dodos.

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