Friday night was mostly about one major choice. Do you see watch Tragically Hip’s front man Gord Downie perform music from his solo work? Or do you go see the first Men Without Hats show in Victoria in 20 years? I chose the former. So with that, I parked myself at Market Square all night.

At 7:30 were The Zolas…. They’re one of those bands that I really knew nothing about but friends of mine know people in the band. Their performance was very good, but honestly I can’t really think of any really memorable moments from their set. But having their typically difficult task of being the very first act of the night they succeeded with flying colours. There was a very nice crowd enjoying the show

Second up was Maurice. I’ve seen lead singer Jean-Paul Maurice perform acoustically a couple times and really like his music. This is the first time I’ve seen him with the rest of his band and it was awesome. Just being able to see him rock out a little more was fun to watch. It was so good that I was a complete idiot and somehow accidentally hit stop on my audio record of the set. I have fantastic video, but no clean audio to match it with. I blame the Phillips Rifflandabrau I had just prior to their set on that mistake. On a funny note the video screens they had in Market Square showing a static wide shot of the stage to the beer garden made J.P. look like he wasn’t wearing any pants. haha

Next was Yukon Blonde. Another of those bands that I’ve never really heard of but came away super impressed. During their set I ran into Vince Vaccaro and he highly recommends buying their album. After watching that set, I can see why. Unfortunately I didn’t shoot any video mainly because I only have 8 batteries for my little camera and 2 were reserved for Maurice, 4 were reserved for recording as much of Gord Downie as possible… and the other 2 were reserved for the next band up.

I’ve liked Jets Overhead since their Special Guests Days. This nights show felt better than their Coachella performance, and that set was great… Maybe it’s because this was an evening show and not in a tent in 40 degree heat. I also attended an acoustic performance with them earlier in the day which was fun. I love hearing music that’s normally performed with electric instruments and heavily produced simplified to just basic core sounds. I shot a few songs of their evening set… For now here’s ‘I Should Be Born’

Finally it was time for Gord Downie. One thing really great I’ve found with Rifflandia is that you can get so close with very little effort. How often can you just walk right up and be within 10 feet of Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip??? The banter between him and The Country of Miracles was super entertaining… and the typical stage presence of Gord is always engaging. Even when the power cut out on the stage in the middle of ‘Vancouver Divorce,’ Gord still had the crowd electrified. I shot pretty much the ENTIRE set minus some of the chatter between songs. Here is ‘The East Wind’ (note the weird timing issue at one point… someone wasn’t playing on time… and yet no one care. haha)

More video from Night Two of Rifflandia 3 will go up at our YouTube Channel in the days and weeks to come