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The HipHopCanada down-low on every act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article]

Calgary, AB – Your friendly neighbourhood HipHopCanada editors (Prairies Editor, @saroshrizvi and Associate Editor in Chief, @ThisIsSarahJay) are gearing up to trek over to British Columbia for the massiveness that is Pemberton Music Festival.

As last-minute giddiness sets in, we decided to break down every single act taking the stage at the festival this year. We took the list of performing artists and dished our thoughts. That’s right – we wrote about every single performing act; even the ones we’ve never heard of. Check it all out after the jump.

The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -

The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -

The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -

Nine Inch Nails

Sarosh: Might be the biggest band of my high school years I’ve never seen. Everyone who’s seen them (regardless of musical preference) raves about their live show. Geeked.

Sarah: I was a really angry teen and I listened to “Hurt” excessively as a means of really connecting with my angst. These guys are game-changers. This show is necessity.


Sarosh: Andre will forever be a top MC and Big Boi will forever be the most criminally underrated. Legends. And I’m not one to use that term lightly.

Sarah: My childhood. Feelings. Other things. Refer to this post for more details.


Sarosh: Not my thing… but maybe I’ll find out what all the fuss is about. Or maybe I’ll retire early that night and work on some HHC posts.

Sarah: Um. I’m not going to this show.


Sarosh: I grew up amongst ‘90s grunge so they are vitally important, but they were the one band of that era I never really caught on to.

Sarah: I never listened to Soundgarden.

Frank Ocean

Sarosh: One of the keys to the R&B renaissance of the last few years and as bold an artist as they come. Have a feeling his live show translates, too.

Sarah: Hey boys. I’m going to weasel my way to the front of the crowd for this set. And I’m going to be reduced into a puddle of mushy emotions. So if you serenade me during “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You,” we can definitely kick it.

The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -

Kendrick Lamar

Sarosh: King Kendrick. K-Dot. Too many people I know have seen him live and I’m jealous. Universally acclaimed for his live show and my favorite MC in the game. Monster.

Sarah: Rap god. Top-tier MC. good kid, m.A.A.d city is the new rap bible. Also, I have a t-shirt with Kendrick’s face superimposed on to a llama and it says “Kendrick Llama.” One of my goals has been to wear this shirt to a Kendrick show. The dream is real. It’s happening. The shirt will be worn.


Sarosh: Part of the wave of newer rock music I need to know more about. Good feelings on them.

Sarah: Emily Haines is a goddess. Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? was essential during puberty.

Modest Mouse

Sarosh: The epitome of stoner rock. So necessary.

Sarah: I had a really massive Modest Mouse phase.

Above & Beyond

Sarosh: Know virtually nothing going in. Good sign is their top hits on YouTube are all for full set. Going up against Kendrick, though…

Sarah: I have never heard of Above & Beyond.

Empire of the Sun

Sarosh: I’m expecting elaborate costumes and happy synth-pop. Would be a shame if the sun isn’t shining during their set.

Sarah: I used to work retail and the company made us play a lot of Empire of the Sun on our playlist. There’s this one song called “Walking on a Dream.” It is like fluffy angel food cake.

Snoop Dogg

Sarosh: Somehow I’ve still never seen Snoop perform. Don’t know how that’s possible. One thing to look out for: a good friend of mine says Snoop reminds him of my brother. I don’t understand… yet.

Sarah: Lots of really good feelings will happen here. A mix of nostalgia, marijuana, and everything in-between. Hope he performs some of that new ish. Also hope he doesn’t perform anything off Reincarnated (Side note: Lol at what Sarosh said. Snoop Sarm?).

The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -
Photo: Jamie Sands (HipHopCanada)


Sarosh: Sarah Jay tells me I should know them. Because I’m old. But going up against Modest Mouse and St. Vincent?

Sarah: I can’t believe Sarosh doesn’t know Justice.


Sarosh: Not to be confused with one half of the Smalltown DJs.

Sarah: People used to compare me to her. I don’t even know how to classify her music. She just does whatever the f**k she wants. Boss-ass bitch. The good kind of boss-ass bitch.

The Flaming Lips

Sarosh: The most random of the acts I’m excited to see. Can’t quite say why other than the fact that I was born in the early ’80s.

Sarah: I forgot about the Flaming Lips until I saw them on the Pemby line-up. Then I was all like, “HOLY SH*T! I REMEMBER THE FLAMING LIPS!”

Young the Giant

Sarosh: Had a few singles break a couple years ago. Interesting, but not especially my thing from what I’ve heard. I’m open though.

Sarah: I want to be excited to see Young the Giant. But I’m not really excited to see Young the Giant.


Sarosh: Blondie!! Call me live.

Sarah: Omg. Hi, Debbie Harry.

Cage The Elephant

Sarosh: Going against Blondie is unfortunate, good signs outta these cats.

Sarah: I will be at Blondie. Because DEBBIE HARRY.

Girl Talk

Sarosh: Never really got the appeal of Girl Talk. Don’t I know a dozen DJs who could mash tracks just like this?

Sarah: Meh.

TV On The Radio

Sarosh: That new wave I was talking about. The reason I won’t see Blister in the Sun live.

Sarah: These guys have had like 636,654,432,065 different people come-and-go from the band over the years. And could have probably started up their own symphony orchestra at some point.

Chance The Rapper

Sarosh: A Top 3 act I’m looking forward to seeing. My pocket in the hip-hop scene, for sure.

Sarah: My rap spirit animal. Also, the show I am most looking forward to OF THE ENTIRE FESTIVAL.

The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -
Photo: Jamie Sands (HipHopCanada)

St. Vincent

Sarosh: A Sled Island headliner I missed who everyone says is great live.

Sarah: I missed her at Sled Island because I was watching araabMUZIK run through his catalogue of EDM tuneage. Ugh.

Violent Femmes

Sarosh: Went through a little phase in the ’90s. Would ‘a been good to catch for that reason alone.

Sarah: Violent Femmes = When girls rip out each others’ weaves?


Sarosh: Saw Baauer last year at Commonwealth in Calgary when he toured with Just Blaze. Fun show.

Sarah: The “Harlem Shake” dude.

Matthew Good

Sarosh: Sounds live just like he does on record. Tons of respect for this fellow Canadian.

Sarah: Matthew Good is pretty good.

Randy Newman

Sarosh: I have a picture of what I think he looks like in my head. That picture is of Kenny Rogers. That’s what I’m going on.

Sarah: Should I know who he is?


Sarosh: Great name.

Sarah: Terrible name.

ScHoolboy Q

Sarosh: A TDE staple and man beHind one of my favorite rap tracks ever. Plus, He’s a niners fan. Must be a solid dude.

Sarah: Gangster rap’s saviour. Sarosh is going to wear a 49ers jersey to this show and he is going to have a budding bromance with Q, as a result.

The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -

Gord Downie & The Sadies

Sarosh: Saw him with Tragically Hip at Woodstock ’99 (I’m old) and was thoroughly impressed.

Sarah: The Tragically Hip, or bust.

Lindsey Stirling

Sarosh: If I were to guess: solo folk-rocker.

Sarah: Who?

Minus the Bear

Sarosh: Is Indie Pop a thing? If so, Minus the Bear is that. One of the many ‘Oh, they’re that band that sings that song’ bands in the lineup.

Sarah: I thought Minus the Bear did the opening song for Friday Night Lights. I double-checked before publishing this. Found out they didn’t. Now they are dead to me.

The New Pornographers

Sarosh: After Neko Case cancelled her slot at Sled, promised Sarah Jay we’d check them out. That was before the schedule came out and they were up against Chance. She understands.

Sarah: Neko Case cancelled Sled Island so I ended up seeing Joel Plaskett Emergency in the pouring rain, instead. It was a great time. No one wore shoes. And it was splashy. Thought it was a win-win because Neko was going to be at Pemby. But I’m not missing Chance, under any circumstances.


Sarosh: Classic Canadian rock you have seen at least five times by default if you grew up in Canada in the ’90s.

Sarah: Sloan is supposedly a thing. I never got in to Sloan.


Sarosh: A sneaky good band that might be a sneaky good live show.


Best Coast

Sarosh: Ok. From this point on, I’m going in blind (for the most part)…

Sarah: This is some serious East Side versus West Side business. WHO IS THE BEST COAST?

Tyler, the Creator

Sarosh: Been on-and-off the Tyler bandwagon a few times, now. Currently on.


The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -

Big Gigantic

Sarosh: Aren’t all bands that start with “Big” kind of arena rock-y? Wreck and Sugar make me say yes.

Sarah: This sounds really phallic. Like they’re overcompensating. Right?


Sarosh: Trustworthy. Based on Mad Decent connects, alone.

Sarah: RL Grime.

Dinosaur Jr.

Sarosh: Yeah, ’90s alternative bands!

Sarah: Meh.

Flying Lotus

Sarosh: Big fan of FlyLo and loved what he did on Blu’s No York album; even if it was a disappointing project.

Sarah: FlyLo is the mastermind behind everyone’s favourite production. You know that song with that beat that makes you feel feelings? THAT WAS PROBABLY FlyLo.


Sarosh: If they’re not foxy, I’ll be disappointed.

Sarah: Sounds like the sexy-equivalent of oxygen.


Sarosh: The slowest live act I’ve ever seen. Not a statement of quality, just a fact.

Sarah: Meh.

Matt Mays

Sarosh: Definitely not  a hip-hop act, or it would be spelled Matt Mayz.

Sarah: Who is Matt Mays?

RL Grime

Sarosh: Is their name a play on RL Stine? If so, can we please stop this trend? It stopped being clever after Gnarls Barkley.

Sarah: Clockwork.


Sarosh: Pretty sure someone told me to check out Shlohmo. Pretty sure they remind people of Snoop Dogg.

Sarah: Apparently I’m supposed to be familiar with Shlomo. I’m not.


Sarosh: Elaborate synth-infused dance music. Gotta be.

Sarah: Music duo that I don’t care about.


Sarosh: Great MPC sets. Hoping he goes more hip-hop than rave, but he’s impressive either way.

Sarah: Still salty that his Sled Island set was all EDM.

The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -

Delta Rae

Sarosh: Either a dance rock band with punk rock leanings, disguised under a country singer name. Or a female country singer that’s a lil bit rock n roll. See what I did there?

Sarah: Sounds really hip. Wear a flower crown.

Fucked Up

Sarosh: I don’t know. But they’ll be fun.

Sarah: “Yo guys. Let’s make a band name with the F-word in it because reasons.”


Sarosh: Latest of the late-night sets. Either I’ll be worn out after the Kendrick/NIN/Q trifecta or I’ll be up for anything.

Sarah: I love when cats mess with varied upper-case and lower-case letters in their stage names. sARAH JaY. Legit. Right?

Hey Rosetta!

Sarosh: Great name. Or I’m easily swayed by exclamation marks.

Sarah: Hey Sarah!


Sarosh: Caught him at Hifi a few months back. We go way back now.

Sarah: Love his remixes. Love his face. And his body. HEISSOGOODLOOKING. Also, my brother says his sets are monstrous. My brother has good taste in music (Hi, Jacob! Or if we’re following suit of the previously mentioned act… Hey Jacob!)


Sarosh: Will never know because they line up against ScHoolboy.

Sarah: This dude is a 17-year-old producing prodigy.


Sarosh: Ditto

Sarah: Very serious question: how do you pronounce this?

Cashmere Cat

Sarosh: All Hifi the time. Great live though.

Sarah: Really cool cat (LITERALLY A “CAT”- HAR HAR HAR HAR) who makes beautiful music.

Dan Deacon

Sarosh: Pretty sure he should have been in the comedian section.

Sarah: Glasses game: on point.


Sarosh: Anything is possible. Other than this not being a hipster act.

Sarah: …and tomatoes?


Sarosh: The “Z” throws me off. Not sure what to expect.

Sarah: If I run into these dudes, I am entitled to say, “I metz these dudes in this band called Metz.”

Rich Aucoin

Sarosh: ADRIANNNN!! (Hockey/Rocky pun)

Sarah: Never heard of him. Poor Aucoin.

Treasure Fingers

Sarosh: Who doesn’t like Treasure Fingers?

Sarah: Fool’s Gold Records beast.

Wild Belle

Sarosh: Pretty sure my assumptions on Delta Rae stand true here, as well.

Sarah: The main character in American Pie: Beauty and the Beast?

Tory Lanez

Sarosh: The “Z” throws me off here, too…

Sarah: He is Abel Tesfaye 2.0. Panties will drop. Bras will get thrown on stage. People will be very naked by the end of this set.

The HipHopCanada down-low on every single act performing at Pemberton Music Festival [Article] -

Yukon Blonde

Sarosh: Named after a potato?

Sarah: I met a dude at Sled Island who was really into Yukon Blonde so I pretended to know who they were. I don’t know who they are. Sorry, dude I met at Sled Island.

ZZ Ward

Sarosh: If this is a play on ZZ Top, please see RL Grime.

Sarah: Thought it was a ZZ Top tribute band so I Googled “ZZ Ward.” It’s a chick.

The Boom Booms

Sarosh: There’s no way they can’t at least be fun

Sarah: An excellent euphemism for many things.

Break Science

Sarosh: Unfortunate Thursday timeslot…

Sarah: Don’t break hearts; break science.

Gold & Youth

Sarosh: Boringest name on the entire Pemberton roster.

Sarah: Probably a good idea to wear both a floral crown and a headdress if you go see Gold & Youth. It sounds like that kind of a gig.

Flash Lightnin’

Sarosh: Horribly disappointed if they don’t have a killer light show.

Sarah: Grease lightnin’

The Madd Wikkid

Sarosh: Worst name on the entire Pemberton roster.

Sarah: The Mad Wicken would be a better stage name.


Sarosh: Wake-up music, I presume.

Sarah: Nostalghia was a weird-ass movie.

The Tontons

Sarosh: Mostly just wondering why they got a 15 minute-shorter set than The Madd Wikkid and Delta Rae… They open Saturday and have no one following them.

Sarah: WHO ARE THE TONTONS? And why did they call themselves The Tontons?

Hallelujah Train featuring Daniel Lanois, Pastor Brady Blade, Brian Blade, Brady Blade Jr, Will Sexton, Chris Thomas, and Malcolm Burn with Gospel Choir

Sarosh: I bet 97 per cent of these acts have been on the folk fest circuit in the past three years. Not a knock; that’s a solid circuit.

Sarah: THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE, HERE. Ain’t nobody f**kin’ with my/ Clique, clique, clique, clique, clique/ Ain’t nobody fresher than my muthaf**kin’/ Clique, clique, clique, clique, clique.

Written by Sarosh Rizvi and Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada

Notice: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the authors and are not necessarily those of HipHopCanada or its affiliates.

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is HipHopCanada's Associate Editor in Chief. Sarah is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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