I remember when I used to go to the Phillips Backyard Weekender and see a few people I know. And by 2018 it's grown into one of the crown-jewels of Victoria's rich musical summer, a place where I am bound to see countless familiar places, while – and this part is of the utmost importance – we get down with a full-slate of fantastically chosen music. Things are set to rock once again in downtown Victoria this weekend (July 20-22). With the return of the Picnic-er Stage featuring a lineup boasting some of the region's freshest talents, as well as a full slate of afterparties each night, the good folks behind The Weekender, Atomique Productions, have doubled down on making this one of Vic City's best dance parties this year. The main stage at the Weekender is absolutely dripping with groove and that's where we're going to be focusing our attentions here. It doesn't matter which stage you're spending your time, if you're paying attention you're going to see some great music. And while I'd like to recommend everything here, that would be ridiculous. But if you pay particular attention when I tell you to, you're probably going to have a helluva time – bolstered by your own, wonderful decisions as well.
It all starts right off the bat as music opens with the mighty GROSSBUSTER. Both one of Victoria's finest beatmakers and owners of one of the city's most immaculate beards (A true feat considering how many people in this place make beats and/or have beards), Grossbuster has impressed me every time I've caught one of his sets over the last half decade. Even, hell especially, when he comes out with a set comprised of stuff you've never heard him play, seemingly out of nowhere. With an endless arsenal and roots in hip-hop (Just like I like), you can rest pretty assured that his set is going to be the perfect way to start your weekend. So, don't be a pylon and make sure to get down to site early.
Speaking of hip-hop...DESSA. One of the founding members of the mighty DOOMTREE and creator of one of 2018s finest hip-hop albums (And certainly the most interesting), Chime, having Dessa on this bill is an incredible treat for all the music-lovers, whether you think hip-hop is your thing or not. (Wait, are blanket dislikes of hip-hop still a thing in 2018 or is this a straw-man I've created for the purposes of this article?) As a rapper, Dessa delivers her rhymes with grace and power, a palpable agility and a great feel for pacing. And her writing is second-to-none in the game right now. Last time she was in Victoria with her DOOMTREE cohorts, at Rifflandia 2015, her moments at the front of the stage were electric, but with so many so other people on stage, they were unfortunately short-lived. With TWO sets (Saturday and Sunday) there'll be plenty of opportunity to bask in the reflective glow of modern hip-hop royalty.
I try not to write about the biggest headliners very often in these things, because they're headliners. They're the draw, the acts most of the audience already knows. But the Weekender is coming so hard with headliners this year that I can't avoid talking about them. The mighty REGGIE WATTS makes his long-needed return to Victoria for uhhh...well, I don't really know. And that's the wonderful, beautiful thing about seeing Reggie. You never know where Watts is going to take you on any given night, at any given moment. Whatever happens is probably going to delight you, make you think a bit, laugh some and dance a lot. More than anything, if you let Watts take you where he will, he's probably going to disorient you and help you reset some part of your scrambled mind.
Finally, how could I write this and not talk about Sunday's festival-closers, THE REVOLUTION. The first question people have asked me about this is, “Why would I care about seeing The Revolution with no Prince?” Easy. Because Prince was the best ever. And he was perfectionist who demanded nothing but the best from the musicians around him. The band that supported him through his biggest and most recognizable albums and periods, you can be 100% guaranteed that The Revolution is going to be playing the Purple classics with the same precision, care and fire that they always did. I don't generally get in any way emotional at celebrity deaths but when Prince left this world, I took the afternoon off work. I shed a tear. Luckily, in my time I got to see Prince and the Revolution before it wasn't possible and while it can't ever happen again, The Revolution is the closest we're going to get. Celebrate the (in)arguably greatest musician modern music has known.
Individual day tickets and weekend passes for the Weekender available online HERE. As far as I know there will be sales at the door as well! Check the EVENT PAGE for all the details. And now here's an incredible set of music from the good Reggie Watts for you to enjoy your afternoon with.