Hosted by EMBRACE, Time Festival was the place to be this past Saturday. Well known over the years for its diverse pool of talent for music lovers of all kinds, Time Festival lived up to its well-established tradition. Unlike Digital Dreams of VELD this summer, Time Festival did not have the misfortune of dealing with any bad weather. With the sun shining over my head, it was a tell-tale sign that today was going to be awesome.
Time Festival took place at the national historic site Fort York. The venue, known for housing Canada’s largest collection of original buildings and paraphernalia from the war of 1812, was transformed to house some of the world’s leading musical talent. Upon arriving I could quickly hear the driving bass and the pulsing crowd as I inched closer and closer to my destination.
Although I was unable to watch every musician perform, I was able to see Alison Wonderland, Ryan Hemsworth, Freddie Gibbs, BADBADNOTGOOD, Ariel Pink, Mac DeMarco, and most exciting of all, South African hip-hop game-changers: Die Antwoord.
As my friends and I giddily made our way over to the main stage we had to see what the commotion was. Sydney based DJ and producer Alex Scholler (AKA Alison Wonderland) was playing a hype set, including her own productions and crowd favourites like Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’. The energy from this young producer was infectious! I had arrived just as she had began to end her set, so my only complaint was that I didn’t get to listen to her perform more.
Next up on the docket was Canadian born record producer Ryan Hemsworth. Hemsworth played a slew of original productions and remixes that included artists like Frank Ocean, Tinashe, and Cat Power. Reminiscent of Disclosure, Pomo and even Toronto native Harrison, Hemsworth played a rather underwhelming set in contrast to Alison Wonderland. Further interaction with the crowd would have been beneficial.
Frederick Tipton, known all around the world as Freddie Gibbs, is an American rapper straight outta Indiana. Although I had heard a few tracks by him in the past, Freddie Gibbs absolutely blew my expectations away. Unlike many rappers who often act as their own hype-man over a running track (I’m looking at you Keith Ape), Freddie Gibbs gave a true performance. Gibbs performed on a Busta Rhymes level. Perfectly synced and practiced with the accompanying DJ, Gibbs gave a stellar performance that would put Weezy to shame.
Experimental jazz champions BADBADNOTGOOD knew what’s up at Time Festival. A welcome change from the electronic and rap music, these natives of the 6 were able to enrapture the crowd of thousands. Unique in their own right, BADBADNOTGOOD deserves all the recognition they get. After hearing about them for years it was an honour finally getting to see them perform. Bright futures and collaborations I can see for this group of talented musicians.
Ariel Marcus Rosenberg, AKA Ariel Pink, was next on stage. Although he seemed relatively unknown by festival goers, his upbeat, catchy songs set everybody in a good mood. Causing snarky remarks for wearing his too-tight white short shorts and long spangled blonde hair, Ariel Pink reminded me of what it takes to be a true rock-star.
As great as Ariel Pink was, it was time for the crowd to prepare themselves for Canadian indie superstar Mac DeMarco. As I was sitting in the pit watching this man light his cigarette and tuck it under his cap, I was in awe of his stage presence. As soon as the band began to pop and croon, Mac DeMarco took the entire crowd on a magical, nostalgic journey through his Salad Days. 10/10 would pay to see his band play again.
As Mac DeMarco ended his set, I was sad to see him go. However, zef counter-revolutionaries Die Antwoord were about to blow my mind. As the dimmed lights began to burn bright, DJ Hi-Tek began to spin. Ninja, the tall and lanky man decked head to toe in obscene, spontaneous tattoos donned a Pikachu Kigarumi and gallivanted across the Time Festival stage. Yolandi, his queen, made quite the entrance with her high pitched vocals and bodacious dancing. Backed up by an amazing dance crew, lights, and phallic-themed art, Die Antwoord played the best set that I have seen in a while.
Apart from the lack of free water access, a lukewarm set from Hemsworth, $4 water bottles, and the difficulty of finding people in the crowd, Time Festival was much more well organized compared to the year before and overall a phenomenal event!