Gear up for Pemberton Music Festival 

Pique picks the can't-miss sets of the weekend

click to flip through (9) PHOTO SUBMITTED - Friday, July 18: Pemberton Stage. 1:30 p.m  -  Minus the Bear
  • photo submitted
  • Friday, July 18: Pemberton Stage. 1:30 p.m - Minus the Bear
Part of the beauty of major music festivals is the childlike wonder of discovering new bands. We know you're probably already familiar with the headliners at this weekend's loaded Pemberton Music Festival, so here's a primer to Pique's picks for the best of the rest. n


Pemberton Stage. 1:30 p.m

Minus the Bear

Bursting onto the scene in 2002 with their debut LP, Highly Refined Pirates, this indie Seattle alt-rock band became known among casual fans for their hilariously named song titles (Case in point: "Thanks for the Killer Game of Crisco Twister").

But that irreverence belies their immense talent for crafting sonically complex yet ear-catching prog-rock that appeals to the guitar nerd and populist indie fan alike.

Mt. Currie Stage. 5 p.m.

Tyler, the Creator

Whatever your opinion of the man himself — attention-seeking brat or button-pushing satirist? — rapper and producer Tyler, the Creator sure knows how to amp a crowd. Sometimes at the expense of the audience's well-being, like in March when he was arrested for allegedly inciting a riot at Austin's South By Southwest.

Mixing teeth-rattling lo-fi beats, obscenity-laced lyrics and the DIY aesthetic of Cali skate culture, Tyler, the Creator's live show is something you can't ignore.

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Laugh Camp Stage. 8:15 p.m.

Norm Macdonald

If you're a Canadian over the age of 25, it is your civic duty to know and love Norm Macdonald's brand of every-man humour.

The SNL alum is the textbook definition of a comic's comic, spinning seemingly off-the-cuff yarns that are made all the better by his precise timing and flawless delivery.

Oh, and he's also pushing to replace the soon-to-retire Craig Ferguson on CBS's The Late Late Show, and we fully support his mission.

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Saturday, July 19

Bass Camp Stage. 8 p.m.

Chance the Rapper

Chicago rap wunderkind Chance the Rapper is one of hip-hop's hottest commodities right now, and deservedly so.

The 21-year-old is a breath of fresh air in a genre that prides itself on innovation. Eschewing traditional trunk-shaking beats for more electronic and jazz-infused production, Chance playfully messes with typical hip-hop song structure, delivering catchy sing-song verses that exude charisma and add a much-needed buoyancy to the rap game.

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Whistler Stage. 3:30 p.m.

Violent Femmes

Discovered playing outside a Milwaukee club in 1981 by none other than The Pretenders, the Violent Femmes would go onto become one of the best-selling alternative acts of the '80s.

Their raw sound and brutally honest lyrics struck a chord with the disaffected youth of the era, and served as a major influence to countless future rockstars.

Backed by a constantly rotating mishmash of amateur and pro players known as the Horns of Dilemma, the Violent Femmes will send you on a trip down memory lane 30 years after their classic debut LP.

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Sunday, July 20

Pemberton Stage. 6:30 p.m.

Flying Lotus

One of IDM's most eclectic producers, L.A.'s Flying Lotus has the Midas Touch, crafting head-nodding, mind-f*cking remixes for a diverse cast that ranges from Radiohead to Mac Miller, and the Adult Swim Network to avant-garde arthouse films.

You don't so much listen to FlyLo's cosmic soundscapes as become enveloped by them.

The future is now.

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Whistler Stage. 6:30 p.m.

Randy Newman

All Family Guy skewering aside, Randy Newman is a friggin' legend. The guy has more hardware on his shelf than a RONA superstore, having earned half-a-dozen Grammys, three Emmys and a pair of Oscars to boot.

One of the most prolific songwriters of the last half century, Newman's still at it at the tender age of 70, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.

If you've never seen him banging away at his piano before, do yourself a favour and catch one of the most distinct voices of his generation live.

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Pemberton Stage. 6:30 p.m.

Frank Ocean

You'd be hard-pressed to find another album more universally acclaimed than Frank Ocean's studio debut, Channel Orange.

A silly smooth vocalist, the New Orleans native turned the music world on its head last year with his unconventional melodies, production style fusing soul and hip hop and lyrics exploring themes of alienation and social discord not usually addressed in R&B.

Quite simply, Frank Ocean is a revelation.

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Blackcomb Stage. 8 p.m.

St. Vincent

St. Vincent is the rare artist whose supreme talent matches the immense hype surrounding her.

Her records have become events unto themselves, with the latest, her eponymous concept album, hailed a triumph almost immediately upon its release. Self-described as "a party record you could play at a funeral," St. Vincent makes pain a pleasure with her twisting, danceable beats fronted by inventive and ambitious songwriting that bares all.

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