Rococode, Moon King, Five Alarm Funk, The Wet Secrets, Gay Nineties, Gang Signs @ Rifflandia 9/20/2015

Saturday night was still drizzly as I headed out for a second night of music. It was back to the Copper Owl to catch Vancouver’s Gang Signs. The trio of Peter Ricq (vocals/guitar), Matea Sarenac (vocals/leopard) and Adam Fink (drums) make for a tight unit, and they played a highly polished set, despite the bar-room set-up. They throw a nice groove into their electropop mix, but that didn’t stop them from being cold and krauty on a couple of songs. With their new full-length almost ready for release, we got to hear a few brand new numbers that we hadn’t heard before.

Gay Nineties had a hard time getting all their equipment into the tiny performing area, but once they did they owned the space. Lead singer Parker Bossley strutted out in style – an old school rock star playing old school (sounding) rock. He strolled casually out into the crowd playing his guitar, even though it was wired. Then he struck his pose behind his mic, which was illuminated with a strip of lighting. A fun time for fans of 70s-style rock and yacht rock.

I then got a bit lost as I wandered round the Capital Iron area trying to find my way into the Anian and Phillips Backyard. The streets were blocked to traffic and EDM pounded in the night air, creating one big party. After a few false starts and a couple of misleading directions I wandered into the Anian “patio” where Edmonton’s The Wet Secrets were delighting the appreciative gathering. Their marching band shtick is a good one but they are also consummate musicians and put on a hell of a show. Buddy rock, groove, alt rock, and a smattering of camp.

Around the corner Five Alarm Funk had their blues/funk/metal circus in full swing, but the crowd was way too thick for me to get close enough for pictures. I beat a retreat to the hallowed confines of Alix Goolden Hall and waited while Moon King got set up. The duo of Daniel Benjamin and Maddy Wilde (backed by a drummer) showcased why they are such an RTT favourite. Benjamin takes on the bulk of vocal duties as well as playing leopards (although that may have been mostly samples), while Wilde plays guitar. Their music was at times moody, at times frisky. Moments of drama were accentuated by Wilde’s electric flourishes as she dashed across the stage.

I capped off my evening (and my entire Rifflandia ’15 experience, as it turned out) by popping by the Metro Theatre to catch the mesmerizing electropop of Rococode. The evocative music was greatly enhanced with textured lighting that danced over the performers’ bodies. Laura Smith’s neck-to-toe body suit acted like a movie screen, turning her into a one-woman light show. Cool and effective.