festival ∙ Rifflandia 7 2014 · Victoria BC

In photography by webmeister BudLeave a Comment

Once again, the four-day musical Christmas which is Rifflandia descended upon Victoria this past weekend with over 150 artists, 15 downtown venues, and one wristband to rule them all. Here were some of the highlights for me in my most photo-riffic post ever (28 of ’em!).

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0001Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
25 mm · 1/750 s · f/3.5 · ISO 2000

Likely the most unexpected surprise of the festival was Airbourne. They’re a hard rock band (from Australia) who want to be AC/DC so bad, it hurts. It’s also awesome.

They’ve got it all: bare chests, long, curly headbanging hair, pointy metal guitars, and more energy than seems right. Here, lead singer and guitarist Joel O’Keeffe made a four foot leap onto some of the high side stacks to perform the traditional hard rock point-to-the-sky.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0002Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
25 mm · 1/750 s · f/4.5 · ISO 1600

Here, the fastest and most efficient stagehand ever comes running out of the back to clean up the spilled drink of an embarrassed Martina Sorbara of Dragonette.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0003Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
25 mm · 1/1000 s · f/2.8 · ISO 2000

Serena Ryder showed all the love . . .

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0006Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
35 mm · 1/180 s · f/3.5 · ISO 3200

. . . spun all the fringe . . .

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0005Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
35 mm · 1/180 s · f/3.5 · ISO 3200

. . . and was shot by all the YYJ Rocktographers.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0004Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
18 mm · 1/180 s · f/3.5 · ISO 3200

The War Child Lounge at The Atrium was, once again, a true highlight of the festival for me.

A beautifully-lit and fantastic-sounding venue, it usually hosts acoustic, stripped down performances of bands who would otherwise melt your face on a plugged-in stage.

Here, Brittany Willacy looks like a perfect rockstar portrait as her set with Head of the Herd begins. Funny, ’cause she’s also a photographer herself.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0007Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
200 mm · 1/200 s · f/4.5 · ISO 1600

The only downside to shooting the War Child Lounge on Saturday and Sunday mornings is that it overlaps the first couple of acts on the main stages at Royal Athletic Park.

On Saturday, I beetled it back to the park as quickly as I could to catch the last few minutes of one of my favourite artists, Kytami.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0010Canon EOS 70D · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
500 mm · 1/70 s · f/4.5 · ISO 1600

Kytami fuses fiddle music with dubstep and hip hop music, making for a powerful, frenetic show. She had a crew shooting a video during this performance so, while she normally kicks ass performing live, her energy was next-level this time around, making for extra fun, sweat, and hair-whippy-tastic photos.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0008Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
70 mm · 1/2500 s · f/3.2 · ISO 1600

She’s definitely top of my list of artists I’d love to book a promo photo session with. A classically-trained violinist(extremist) with style, power, and attitude.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0009Canon EOS 70D · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
98 mm · 1/500 s · f/4.5 · ISO 1600

Head of the Herd also had to rush back to the park from the War Child Lounge because they had a plugged-in show two hours after their acoustic performance. Here, Neu Mannas and Clayton Frank have had enough of standing.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0011Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
26 mm · 1/1250 s · f/4.5 · ISO 800

Clayton took to the same side stacks Airbourne jumped to earlier, only this time for a harmonica solo.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0012Canon EOS 70D · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
70 mm · 1/1500 s · f/4.5 · ISO 800

Also: their crazy amazing drummer, Matty Carolei. Whoa.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0013Canon EOS 70D · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
130 mm · 1/1500 s · f/4.5 · ISO 800

Pre-Riff, I was given the heads up the type of performance Le Butcherettes would stage by fellow YYJ Rocktographer John Carlow (who you’ll be seeing on this here gallery in short order). Thus, I was prepared for anything.

When singer Teri Gender Bender rocketed onto the stage, the “whoa” began. I was ready, and this was the first frame I shot, seconds into their show.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0014Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
70 mm · 1/1000 s · f/3.5 · ISO 800

Drummer Lia Braswell was equally on fire. On her leg, she has a tattoo of the muppet Animal bursting out of a snare drum. =)

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0015Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
70 mm · 1/1000 s · f/4.5 · ISO 800

Intense is the word I would use to describe Le Butcherettes. However, the reality that this is a performance was brought into sharp focus when I met them backstage: they were both quiet, friendly, and gracious young ladies. Who scream a lot in Mexican and violently pound on their instruments while onstage.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0016Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
135 mm · 1/1250 s · f/4.5 · ISO 800

Lytrix (the team of Lateef the Truthspeaker, left, and Lyrics Born, right) were in perfect sync for their performance and, thankfully, for this one-syllable point to each other, so was I.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0017Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
10 mm · 1/180 s · f/4 · ISO 800

In another rockstar portrait, violinist Anna Bulbrook of The Airborne Toxic Event has my thanks for following the same path along the stage multiple times while performing, giving me the opportunity to shoot her up close on her second pass, seeing as I couldn’t get a good capture the first time ’round due to the sheer number of photographers in the pit.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0018Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
70 mm · 1/800 s · f/4.5 · ISO 800

Ben Gibbard, lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie, sings I Will Possess Your Heart to kick off the final performance with their 17-year guitarist, Chris Walla. It was an emotional end to Saturday night, complete with falling meteor.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0019Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
70 mm · 1/250 s · f/2.8 · ISO 1600

I shot night venues for the first time in a long while, but kept my visits quick to visit as many as I could in short order.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0020Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
18 mm · 1/90 s · f/1.8 · ISO 3200

The night stage highlight for me was Vancouver’s The Ballantynes who played first-time venue the Victoria Public Market. Here, a closeup of Jarrod Odell’s head as he pours his heart into that guitar.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0021Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
18 mm · 1/250 s · f/2 · ISO 6400 (CAN YA TELL?)

For my final rockstar performance portrait, Laura Smith of Rococode at the War Child Lounge Sunday.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0022Canon EOS 70D · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
165 mm · 1/500 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

I’ve been wanting to shoot Danielle McTaggart and Dear Rouge for a while now, having found them on Instagram shortly after, I believe, last year’s Rifflandia. She’s hilarious, and a great performer, and I’m happy I was able to finally get some shots of her doing her thing.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0023Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
35 mm · 1/180 s · f/4.5 · ISO 800

The final performance of Rifflandia 7 was Gregg Gillis, who goes by the stage name Girl Talk. He’s not so much a DJ as a sample-based mashup artist, and his performance was fantastic. The crowd, which was massive, loved it.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0024Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM
19 mm · 1/60 s · f/2.8 · ISO 3200

Now, while Girl Talk was indeed the final performance of this year’s festival, I’ve saved the best for last in terms of this post. That’d be the highly-anticipated-by-me return of Rich Aucoin to the War Child Lounge.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0025Canon EOS 70D · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
70 mm · 1/500 s · f/2.8 · ISO 800

As unstoppable as ever, inexplicably bleeding from the nose the moment his set began didn’t phase him in the least.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0026Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
98 mm · 1/800 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

And, as we all hoped, the preschool parachute made a return trip with Rich. However, damned if it wasn’t TWICE THE SIZE IT WAS LAST TIME.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0027Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
10 mm · 1/350 s · f/3.5 · ISO 800

Ladies and gentlefolk, I give you my shot of the festival, and my shot of the year: Rich Aucoin, GOD.

20140916 - Rifflandia 7-0028Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
10 mm · 1/250 s · f/3.5 · ISO 800

Thanks so much for Riffing with me!

=)

Leave a Comment