Up above Whistler in British Columbia, Pemberton Music Festival triumphantly returns this year for the first time since 2008. This year, the festival features one of the best overall music and comedy lineups of the year, and we are proud to provide coverage through photos and summaries all weekend.
This weekend at Pemberton, we get to see a lot of really phenomenal guitarists. Yesterday, we watched Kim Thayil remind us why Soundgarden helped define a grunge guitar tone deeper and heavier than anything else out there. On Sunday, we’ll watch Annie Clark rip the face off her guitar like nothing else during her St. Vincent set. But today, we get to begin the day on the main stage with one of the best guitarists there ever was: Mr. J Mascis. Dinosaur Jr. got the day started off with on a fantastic note. The band seems to ripen like a fine wine as the years go on, as the interaction between Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow, and drummer Murph just gets more organic with time. I raved above about Mascis’s guitar chops, but really, all three deserve equal credit for mastering the art of their instrument, and nothing shows that off better than Dinosaur Jr. in the live setting. The crowd, which included the likes of Wayne Coyne in the VIPs, was in love with every second - what an incredible to say hello to the sun after a night of rain. Oh, and they played their cover of “Just Like Heaven” - another silver lining on a great day thus far.
Toronto punk band METZ met the wind head on at the Mt. Currie stage, but for as epic as the band’s live set is known to be, there’s no way it hurt. Alex Edkins met the microphone with primal power and like a banshee scream across the grounds. The small crowd that ventured over before start time tripled in size within a minute of their performance. By track three, the totally brutal fan favorite off the 2012 self-titled debut “Negative Space”, a full mosh pit broke out and the true METZ show started. Alex and the band ripped like nobody’s business. At Pemberton, with limited time on stage to share with the world their animalistic charm, they went into full overdrive. METZ proved their prowess in every way Saturday afternoon and are headed to Toronto with a few new fans from the east.
I think TV on the Radio may win this year’s award for biggest crowd swell in a short amount of time. At their 3:30 start time on the main stage, five rough lines or so packed forward to see the Brooklyn band open the evening with “Young Liars”. But by the time the band to their all-time classic “Wolf Like Me”, the majority of main stage space was packed out, complete with a very rambunctious dance pit up front. With their usual slightly awkward warmth with each other on stage, the gratitude was easy to see. Tunde Adebimpe kept the energy going constantly, dancing across the stage and back with grace while Kip Malone quietly ripped the living daylights out of his guitar at stage right. The two have such a weird synergy with each other, but then again, TV on the Radio are far from anything to be described as a one-trick pony. The wide variety of their dance numbers and rock throwdowns pulled Pemberton attendees out of the woodwork to join in the festivities.
TV on the Radio:
While up and coming electronic man of the hour Baauer won’t rock a set until tomorrow. There have been a couple great acts leading up to it that fit perfectly into the context of the current scene. On Friday, we saw Shlohmo rock the bass tent and Schoolboy Q’s DJ play some Baauer in the warm-up set before Q came out to rock. Today, we got an earth-shattering set from LA producer and Fool’s Gold affiliate RL Grime. This year, Baauer and RL Grime collaborated on the brilliant “Infinite Daps“, showcasing individually how the two are shaping the electronic scene going forward from different sides of the country. RL Grime needed no help today - his set was vibrating the ground beneath Pemberton festival from a half mile away. People heading to or away from the dance tent all danced while they walked. RL Grime’s set was a great showcase of his own material as well as remixes and collaborations. It all fits together wonderfully. A great mixture of bass-heavy hip hop with sensual dance texturing - not much to complain about here at all. RL Grime set the bar for dance sets this afternoon. We’ll see if Deadmau5 tonight or Baauer tomorrow can top it.
Irvine, CA rock act Young The Giant took hold of the Mt. Currie stage Saturday afternoon to show off their chops in textbook style. The band’s 2010 eponymous debut put the world in the palm of the band’s hand, with a well-crafted mixture of indie rock ear candy. With their sophomore effort Mind Over Matter, the band continues the shape and evolve going forward, adding layers of complexity to their sound and increasing the potential sound of the live show. That potential turned to pure energy today, as the band ripped out a killer set of tracks both new and old. Young the Giant garnered a sizable crowd that sang along with every word of their hour long set - a welcome addition to a great day.
Young the Giant:
The fun continues tomorrow! See the full set of Saturday photos here and check back to the KEXP blog for more coverage of Pemberton Music Festival 2014!