The Pemberton Music Festival returned to British Columbia this summer bringing back a diverse and talented lineup of artists to provide a full weekend of entertainment. One week later, we relive the best and worst of Pemberton 2014 following up Friday’s review with our thoughts on the second full day of concerts.
Snoop Dogg lead the Pemberton concert-goers in a smoke-out for the ages on Saturday afternoon, picking up where Schoolboy Q had left off the evening before with a blend of stoner-anthems and reggae jams. Dressed in a black ice Henrik Sedin jersey Snoop lead the crowd through his catalogue of hits making for an irie afternoon of rap and reggae. While it was excellent to see Snoop do his thing it was obvious many decades of the sweet leaf have left him a few steps slower than he was in the Doggy Dog era.
Chance The Rapper & Social Experiment Shine
Back in May I jokingly referred to Chance The Rapper as Chance The Hype Boy due to his tendency to shout parts of his raps sporadically rather than rapping cadences through in their entirety. His performance at Sasquatch left a lot to be desired, but the raw talent could be seen in bursts. At Pemberton Chance The Showmen erased my memories of Sasquatch, minimizing his weaknesses while magnifying his strengths with style and ease in a set twice as tight as his time at Sasquatch.
Chance The Rapper’s set on Saturday evening demonstrated a considerable growth in the 21-year old performer since I saw him earlier this summer. Chance followed through on his lyrics more often revealing more of the distinct flow that made Acid Rap such a strong release. In between tracks Chance asked the crowd which song they would like to hear next, eventually conceding the crowd knew all along which song he was about to play. The answer, of course, was always “the best song on the album” however the track to follow would change throughout the night as The Showmen used the device again and again, playing off the crowd’s reaction.
‘Juice’, ‘Cocoa Butter Kisses’, and ‘Chain Smoker’ followed short interludes in which Chance had genuine moments of connection with the crowd. In honour of the band backing him Chance also lead a number of social experiments with the crowd ranging from song selection to chants of “I love you!” and “This my show!” that somehow avoided cliche while strengthening the palpable positive feedback loop between performer and listener. Renditions of ‘Everybody’s Something’, ‘Interlude (That’s Love)’, and ‘Everything’s Good (Good Ass Outro)’ made for a concert atmosphere that was an absolute joy to participate in.
Girl Talk Is A Good Time
It’s amazing how different two concert experiences with the same artists can be. The last time I saw Girl Talk the mash-up DJ extraordinaire was touring on the strength of 2010’s All Day and my reflections on his live show were less than flattering. Fast forward to 2014 and Girl Talk is still working the tired bring-fans-onstage-and-throw-a-toilet-paper-party-while-I-DJ thing, but while the delivery is stuck in 2010 the music has kept up with the times.
The new mixes I heard Girl Talk bust out on Saturday night were topical (R.I.P. Tommy Ramone), featured fellow Pemberton festival artists (Chance The Rapper), and above all else were incredibly catchy. Very few DJs can play a mash-up of mammoth hits like M.I.A.’s ‘Paper Planes’ and Lorde’s ‘Royals’ and get away with it but that is exactly what makes Girl Talk so great (and the name so damn appropriate). He didn’t even create the song, but he certainly knew when to play it.