With the summer winding down, and winter just around the corner, we decided to head over to Vancouver Island for the Rifflandia Music Festival in Victoria. We left Squamish in a hurry thursday afternoon, hoping to make the 3 o'clock ferry out of Tsawassen, which didn't happen. Part of our plan for the weekend was to park at a friend's house just outside of the downtown area for free, and skate around the city, so our first skate session was at the ferry terminal while we waited for the 5 o'clock ferry. Chris had brought his old school Zellers skateboard, fully equipped with truck guards, rat rails, nose/tail bumpers and even a birdie over the rear kingpin, but the Zellers trucks and wheels were pretty well unskateable, so we swapped out the wheels from his longboard and tightened down the kingpin as much as we could and ripped that stick up and down the line-ups of ferry traffic, in and out of cars and up and down the sidewalks dodging pedestrians. Maybe it was the rum or maybe the medicated cookies but this weekend was starting to get fun already, and the festival hadn't started yet. The ferry ride over was somewhat uneventful with no whale sightings or anything of that nature, but there are always endless photo opportunities to make up for it.
After checking into our hotel room at the Fairmont Empress, we headed to the Phillips Brewery where most of the festivals hip-hop acts were going to be. The first act we saw was Danny Brown, who we had seen not so long ago at the Squamish Valley Music Festival, and again he ripped it. Throwing up the horns and wagging his tongue at the screaming girls, he performed bangers like kush coma, dip and dope song. He has an unforgettable giggle when he introduces himself to the crowd as "Daniel", which always gets laughs and cheers from the crowd.
After Danny Brown we headed to the next venue where Zeds Dead was performing, unfortunately everybody else in the city apparently had the same plans, and therefor we did not get in to see that show. But we were definitely entertained by the madness that ensued when they closed the gates to Market Square and people were told they were not going to gain entry.
Friday morning we woke up and ordered breakfast to the room and went for a quick swim before heading across the bridge to skate Vic West. If you have not had the chance to skate here, I advise making the trip. It's a great park for all skill levels, and features 2 bowls, the smaller of the two is the original part of the skate park which was built in 1991, and is old enough to be in some of the first skate videos I ever saw, and the larger bowl is a seven-foot capsule with one corner cut out into a roll-in from the street course. The park was so cruisy I didn't skate anything other than Chris' old schooler with zero concave. Right next to the skate park is a basketball court that has a plastic sheeting over the concrete. The sheeting is full of holes and the idea is that you can still play basketball in the rain, but it also means you can power slide like a badman on your skate, lot's of fun! The only things I weren't too pumped on were the amount of bikers and scooter kids, the absolute lack of graffiti, and the 10:30pm park curfew, which states if you are caught with any kind of skate equipment in the park after 10:30pm it will be confiscated and you will be fined. LAME!
After a lengthy skate we headed back to the hotel for curry buffet and a few drinks, before meeting up with my old buddy Simon Fraser. Simon is responsible for me getting into skateboarding and moving to the mountains, and for that I salute you my friend! Simon would also be our guide to the festival, and again we were off to Phillips Backyard, this time we were going to see the Beatnuts, Del, and Kool Keith. This time when we walked in I headed straight for the front row as the crowd was still somewhat sparse, but that would change drastically as soon as JuJu and Psycho Les of The Beatnuts took to the stage. It was a bit surprising how many white kids could speak spanish, or atleast what they thought was spanish as they rapped along to the likes of Se Acabo (it's over), it also never fails to amaze me how many people shout at the performers like they are old homies or some shit. "YOOOOOO, Psycho Les, Psycho Leeeesssss, YOOOOOO....." Really? Like these entertainers/rappers are going to pull every single person that shouts at them on stage to get smoked out or to get a piece of groupie ass. As you can probably tell I wasn't overly impressed with the guy standing behind me, standing is an interesting way to put it, because it was like the guy was trying to mount me throughout the entire show. The girl that was with the crop-duster behind me even tried to knock my phone out of my hand while i was taking pictures of Del, and then proceeded to tell me that I should give her my spot in the front row, because she wanted it and I was merely filming with my phone... The look I gave her pretty much summed it all up, although there was a concert going on all she could here were crickets. Anyway, back to the World Famous Beatnuts, the show was hype, at one point Psycho Les cracked a bottle of Hennessy and proceeded to pour it into the many red cups of the first row people, he was even assisted by one of the security guards. At this point I had expected all these people who have been screaming Psycho Les' name repeatedly hoping for some attention would have at some point in their deep hip-hop backgrounds tasted some Hennessy... Not so much, the faces that these kids were making were priceless, absolute disgust.
As the Beatnuts were finishing up their set I noticed someone skating backstage that looked vaguely familiar, and 10 minutes later it was clear why this skater looked familiar. The guy skating backstage was Del and he brought his skate out on stage with him and commenced rapping. What a show! Del was definitely a funky homo-sapien and he played so many classics from Mr. Dobalina to the Mastermind and even threw down the Gorillaz track Clint Eastwood. By the time Del was finished rocking the mic, I was so worked up by the people/crop-dusters behind me I decided I was going to watch the next show from the back. I have been to a ridiculous amount of shows/concerts over the years, mostly hip-hop, and I have noticed something over the last 5 years or so, young men (18-25) have some kind of draw to other mens backsides when they are at a concert. At what point do you decide that you want to be so close to the performer on stage that you are going to use your wiener as a bumper on the guy in front of you?! It's not cool to do to girls, and it's 100 times less cool to do it to guys. I have even had to tell guys "hey buddy i'm not a chick, stop grinding on me" and they said "sorry mate, it's all good" but that's the point I'm trying to make... IT IS NOT ALL GOOD, EVERYTHING ISN'T AWESOME! Take a step back and give yourself some fucking space if you want to jump around like an epileptic, and while your at it, put on some fucking deodorant, not everybody wants to smell you, actually I would bet dollars to dimes that nobody wants to smell you or have your sweaty shirtless body knocking them over all night.
Next up was Kool Keith, and to be totally honest I don't know too much of Kool Keith's music, I did know a couple tracks, but for the most part I knew none of it and it seemed as if his DJ knew more of his music than he did. I was happy to hear Halfsharkalligatorhalfman and so was the guy beside me as he had painted a picture of this above mentioned creature and was trying so hard the whole time to get Kool Keith's attention which eventually did pay off when Kool Keith took the painting and showed it off to the crowd. After the show we found our way back to the Empress and crashed out early.
Saturday we woke up and headed straight back to Vic West, skated for a couple hours and then went in search of alcohol. Our search landed us at the Mexican Cafe where the food and drinks were average and the waitresses were definitely above average. While draining pitchers of margarita down or thirsty throats, Matty decided he wanted to wear his on his lap, hence his nick name for the rest of the weekend, Margarita Dick Matty. Once we had finished laughing at Matty, and were in need of cheaper alcohol, we headed back to the hotel to drink our own booze. Before long we were drunk and back out on the streets of Victoria headed for Phillip's backyard, where we would see Zion I and the Hilltop Hoodz, neither of which I had ever seen live. Hilltop was pretty well exactly what I expected, as my friend Kieren would say, "Best show eva mate!" Zion I took me by surprise, first of all, I had never heard Zion I which is strange as I have been a hip-hop head since I started listening to music and have been to countless live shows, and they were amazing! At first I was like, ok, what's with the mexican hype man with the crazy braids, then he started kicking freestyle after freestyle, the shit was hyped! Both members of Zion I, along with Lateef from Latyrx kicked crazy freestyles for about an hour, it was so good! After the show we headed back towards the harbour where we found Pita Pit and the rickshaw girls. Now we were only a 2 minute walk from the hotel but these rickshaw girls were hot and said they would give us a ride, so I hopped aboard the rickshaw being driven by the much more attractive of the two girls, and away we went. This girl was amazing, not only highly attractive but, she was more than happy to let us finish our safety meeting on board, and explained to us how hard she had to pedal in her tight little catsuit , and how well it worked in her favour when it came time to tips, which we agreed with 100%. Since it was our last night on the island we decided to grab our skateboards and go for a skate around the parliament buildings, which I don't suggest doing during daylight hours. The security followed us around the buildings and even turned the fountain on while we were sitting around the edge of the fountain to scare us away, then they came and had words with us just to let us know they were watching us and this was a no trick zone.
Sunday morning we checked out of the hotel and headed towards the Sitka store, where I found a re-print Caballero board, I had to buy it, it was so sick and had to be mine! After making a few purchases downtown it was time to make tracks and head back to our car, so we could get back to the mainland. The ferry ride was pretty uneventful again but as always gave us some nice photo opps.
Can't wait until next year Rifflandia 2015!