Pemberton Fest Game on

Photo by Ryan Johnson
Photo by Ryan Johnson

Its pretty easy to get off the dirt in one’s wet tent when you consider Joey Bada$$ is going to be providing the day two kickoff show. The one man marketing team hit the Mount Currie stage and immediately grabbed the massive crowd’s full attention from the jump with “Paper Trails”; his widely recognized single from the album B4.DA.$$.  (Before The Money). The highest charting song of course for the Basda$$, until the recently released song he closed his set with “Devastated”. The overly produced, shiny, and bright single was actually played three times; essentially.

It’s a testament to just how good Joey Bada$$ is that when he wasn’t pumping Pro Era like a turrets sufferer, he was marketing his new single (and shooting a hat trick) with “Devastated”; and it was still a great show. And to his credit, people do seem to love the native of Brooklyn’s slightly contrived albeit catchy, new single. Personally, I prefer the raw Joey Bada$$ full of grit and creativity, however, as the 21 year old told us early on in his career he’s tryin to get those “Greenbax”.

Kehlani’s turnout at Pemberton Festival day two was remarkably impressive, especially when considering that she has yet to release a full album. File another notch on the side for the death of the album, or more to the point the strength of a single. Possessing well choreographed and catchy R&B fused with pop music, the burgeoning star appears to have legit dance moves to go with a much more powerful voice than one would typically associate with a person so slight of frame.

Musically spoiled are we here at the festival that it can be easy to forget there are laughs coming on the regular over at the Whistler Blackcomb stage. Day two saw the comedy stage really up its game with an afternoon trifecta of hilarity in Doug Benson, recent Comedy Shocker headliner and PoCompton’s (Port Coquitlam) own James Kennedy, and completing the trinity, DDR breaker of records Mr. Nick Swardson. Having Doug Benson back for the next two days as well as comedy legends Cheech and Chong then capped off with Craig Robinson, you can bet dollars to donuts that you’ll be reading about a few more trips to the stage named after our Olympic caliber mountains next door.

Having reviewed the Comedy Shocker I was well aware of what I missed when I bailed out of James Kennedy to check that soft spot I have in my heart 90s rap and hip hop. That era of hip hop still ringing in my ears from the Snoop Dogg / Cypress Hill experience from the night prior, on day two it came in a form that even grandma knows not F*&k with, The Wu-Tang Clan’s Methodman and frequent collaborator and How High cast mate Redman. Having delved into their work as a duo, popular solo works and inter-splicing those with The Wutang Clan, Naughty By Nature and Onyx, Methodman and Redman brought the 90’s to us with the same angst fueled aggression that we were all too familiar with back in the day.

What can one really say negatively about J.Cole? After playing the same stage as he did on the same day of the festival at damn near the same time, it appears that confidence is truly starting to settle in with old Cole. Perhaps all of the insanely successful producing, combined with Bas and Cozz both seeing a solid last 12 months, on top of his solo success and celebrated 2014 Forest Hills Drive was enough to convince him of what the rest of us already knew; it is indeed Cole World.

The rain that started during Cole only picked up as the night continued and didn’t relent until sometime after I closed my eyes for the night. But in many ways it was a fitting and scenic element of drama added to the love in the Valley that J. Cole inspired at the packed Pemberton Stage. Having fittingly played the entirety of  2014 Forest Hill Drive a year ago at Pemberton Fest, it was awesome to hear him play from a variety of albums such as Friday Night Lights and Born Sinner.

The same rain that gathered for Cole only picked up during FKA Twigs elaborately choreographed set to end my night. Beautifully inspired and just as much an art piece, FKA Twigs avant garde approach to music is as captivating as the soul that escapes her during every utterance of her lyrics.

Pemberton day two has continued to bring heat to a lineup that demanded expectations. And damn it if most every artist at the halfway point of the festival hasn’t achieved those expectations or even exceeded them.

Day three should see a combination of the following:

Trill Sammy & Dice Soho


Mastodon (Including potential interview with guitar player Bill Kelliher)

Tory Lanez

Bill Idol (This list is ridiculous right?)

Ice Cube

Wiz Khalifa

The Killers

Cheech & Chong

Die Antwoord

Girl Talk