Alright. Here it is. I’ve finally written up my last post on the Rifflandia festival. And it only took me a good four months to get it done. Sigh…

Here’s the sight I came upon when I got to Market Square for the last big night of Rifflandia:

Rich Aucoin in Market Square

This pretty much lived up to everything I had heard about Rich Aucoin’s live show: video projections, audience participation, beach balls, parachutes (think along the lines of those parachutes from elementary school gym class), and music that can really only be described as “fun”. Oh, and there was a keytar! Go read any other review out there on Rich’s live shows. I guarantee you, they are in no way hyperbolizing how great they are. You have no idea how much I kicked myself for showing up late and only catching the last two songs. My only complaint for this set was the ridiculously early time slot. I’m sure the place would have been packed to the rafters had it been later in the evening. The crowd that did show up didn’t care though. They called and called for an encore. Unfortunately there was not enough time to spare before the next set of the night, so there was no encore for us.

Rich Aucoin at Market Square

After Rich Aucoin’s set I headed over to Club 9ONE9 to catch an artist who had been getting a lot of hype: Diamond Rings. I’m often skeptical when an artist receives so much press without even releasing a full album. I can tell you though, the hype for Diamond Rings is well deserved. (Of course, now that a few months have passed and the album Special Affections has been released, I can very surely say that he deserves every bit of praise he gets.) OK, maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised at how good Diamond Rings was. After all, John O’Regan is no stranger to the stage, what with being the lead singer of the D’Urbervilles and all.

Diamond Rings at Club 9ONE9

The dance floor for this show was packed, with lots of people singing along to songs. As was all too often an occurrence at this year’s Rifflandia, the crowd called for an encore to no result. I chatted briefly with John O. after his set, and am happy to report that he is really friendly and approachable. Your next chance to catch Diamond Rings in Victoria is Saturday March 12th at Sugar along with PS I Love You.

rainbow unicorn keyboard - what does it mean??

Diamond Rings at Club 9ONE9

Now it was time for my failed attempt to see Times Neue Roman. I showed up at the Upstairs Cabaret just ten minutes into what should have been their set and I was greeted with an empty stage. Hoping that things were just a few minutes behind schedule, I stuck around. Unfortunately it seemed that things were way ahead of schedule and I had missed out on seeing the band. (Has this ever, in the history of all concerts, happened??)

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald was next to take the stage at Upstairs. Since I was already there, I stayed for a couple of songs. I loved the fact that he had a horn section. His style of music reminds me of something I can’t quite put my finger on. If you’re interested in hearing some of his songs, my recommended listening is Maxine, Movie Life, and Brand New Spaces. Your next chance to see him in Victoria is this Tuesday February 8th at Lucky Bar.

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald at Upstairs Cabaret

I had just enough time to rush back to Market Square to see a bit of Hey Rosetta’s set. Last year at Rifflandia I had to listen to them while stuck in the line outside Market Square on Johnson Street. This year I was able to walk right in to the venue, not a single person was waiting in line. Success! …Or so I thought. To fit with the running theme of this night of Rifflandia, I was greeted by a stage not running on time. I don’t know what happened during the last two sets at Market Square but the set times were a good 20 to 30 minutes late at this point. Now I had a real decision to make. Do I stick around for one or two songs, or do I head over to Sugar to meet up with friends and rock out with Hollerado? Having already seen Hollerado twice in the past few months, I decided to gamble and stick around for Hey Rosetta. I made the wrong choice. The soundcheck took another 10 or 15 minutes and by the time Hey Rosetta took the stage I had to run to catch the last band of the night I wanted to see. After two misses two years in a row, I am so looking forward to seeing a regular non-festival style set from Hey Rosetta. They will be in town on Monday March 7th at Sugar in support of their new album, Seeds, which is out on February 15th. If you haven’t already heard it, you should check out their first single Welcome.

Hey Rosetta (not Hot Hot Heat) at Market Square

Well, I finally made it to the end. The Dodos were the last band I saw at Rifflandia. Walking into Sugar for this show it would be hard to tell that the crowd had been partying for the last three days straight. They had the same level of energy as the crowds on day one of the festival. It was amazing. The downpour of rain outside didn’t even dampen their spirits. Going into the show I didn’t know much about the Dodos. I knew that they had recently opened up for the New Pornographers on their tour, and I knew that one of the guys in the band played the vibraphone with a bow. That was enough to get me to the show. In writing this post I looked back on my tweets from the festival to make sure I didn’t miss anything. What I wrote about this show was “The Dodos: three guys, lots of percussion”. For only having three members with an instrumentation consisting only of guitar, drums, and a vibraphone, it’s amazing the sound that these guys can get. This set went a long way to turning around the foul mood I was in after missing out on so many sets earlier this night.

The Dodos at Sugar

The highlight of the set for me was the encore of Fables. It’s an incredibly catchy song. If you haven’t heard it, check out the video on the link I posted.

The encore came after the crowd started up the enthusiastic chant of “Ten more songs! Ten more songs!”. No one was ready to call it a night and no one was ready to call it an end to the amazing weekend that was the Rifflandia festival.

The Dodos at Sugar

To wrap this all up (since I spread it out over so many months) here’s the rest of my coverage on Rifflandia 2010:

Rifflandia Recap: Day 1

Finally!… Rifflandia Recap: Day 2

Photos Day 1

Photos Day 2

Photos Day 3

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