Royal Athletic Park entered into the equation for Rifflandia’s second week of shows on Friday, with everything from a legendary punk-metal outfit to an improvisational electronic musician on the schedule.
The annual festival got underway last week at Electric Avenue, with nighttime sets by Paris Hilton and Run the Jewels. This year marked the first time since its inception in 2008 the festival was split into two weekends, and the results were more than favourable.
According to organizers, 7,000 people were on site for the first day of daytime programming at the Park, which runs through Sunday. Headliners on Friday included looping dynamo Marc Rebillet, crossover thrash pioneers Suicidal Tendencies, indie rockers Two Feet and punk icon Iggy Pop.
Rifflandia traditionally has the benefit of late summer sun, and during the 6 p.m. set by Suicidal Tendencies, the warm temperatures gave some oomph to the band’s buzzsaw attack. Longtime frontman Mike Muir was a beacon of positivity, and referred to the set as “the church of Suicidal.”
Faced with one of the first mosh pits at an instalment of Rifflandia, Muir bellowed “Do you believe?!” as his fans revelled in the chaos.
Rebillet, Texas-born and New York-based, was a curiosity more than anything else. He performed on the main stage, but would have been a better fit for the side stage as his antics, x-rated at times, were more experimental than entertaining.
He was completely improvisational, using a rubber ducky for sounds at one point, but his set split the crowd. Many were visibly entertained, but jeers were also heard. He wore a Rifflandia-embroidered housecoat, which gave way to Rifflandia-emblazoned underwear. By the end of his set, he was half-naked, but the results were half-realized.
Two Feet were impressive, to the point where it was evident the American indie rock band should have plied its craft on the main stage. Heavy on lights and technical accents, the band was impressive. A return to Victoria in the future would net substantial results.
And then, Iggy Pop. The rock and roll legend, and former frontman for Detroit garage rock kings Stooges, was all star power and high-wattage swagger, the type of performer who is in short supply these days. He had the crowd in fits, and kicked off Rifflandia 2023 in fine style.
His Victoria debut was all-world.
The festival continues today with performances from Mavis Staples, Diplo and Salt-N-Pepa.
Tickets are available at Rifflandia.com.
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