After the dust from the initial Pemberton Music Festival lineup announcement settled, I wanted to go back and take a second look to see what was there.
When the lineup dropped on Tuesday, one standout item that most people noticed when looking at the official poster or festival website was the strange placement of Pearl Jam at the top, all by themselves. It just seemed like a weird styling choice, or possibly a calculated positioning decision to allow more headliners to be added later.
Then yesterday afternoon, out of no where, the lineup changed. Suddenly the website showed American rock outfit The Killers had been added as a headliner. Shortly thereafter the festivals social streams dropped a new poster, with Pearl Jam, The Killers, and a re-positioned J. Cole along the top row.
Since then the interwebs have been a flutter with conspiracy theories and digital sleuthing. People are trying to figure out if another headliner might be announced.
Regardless of what happens next, you have to treat the current lineup as the only facts you have. Some people seem really worried that there are only three names at the top of that list.
But is that really a bad thing?
Pemberton has never been one to end each day with a headlining performance. Some days their are late night sets running many hours after the headliners have played and left.
If you really take the time and look through this years lineup, there are a lot of fantastic musicians that will blow your mind come July.
So, in an effort to get to know some of the lesser-known, or under-valued, artists lets look into the depth of the lineup and see what we have.
A French producer that infuses hiphop and edm into an auditory assault set to shake the foundation of the planet. His sets are raucous, rowdy, and visually explosive. Take a peak at his set from Ultra Music Festival this year, and start getting pumped for him to rip Bass Camp a new one.
A DJ duo out of New York. Their double assault allows for rich intricate layers of pulse-pounding music. We caught them at Fvded in the Park (full gallery of Fvded in the Park Day 2 in Surrey) last year, and they were an unstoppable force that left everyone sweaty and smiling. Another Bass Camp goody that will surely satisfy.
This man needs no introduction, he is a true rock star through and through. If you are put off by his age, all I can say is you will be blown away once you see him live. This is no nostalgic kick, he has diesel in his veins and fire in his lungs. His performance at Pemberton will most likely be one of the more memorable of the weekend.
A former member of electronic supergroup Swedish House Mafia. His brand of electro house is invigorating, original, and incredibly intense, but it is his visual show that tops everything else. Bass Camp will be a busy place when he takes the stage, you best show up early if you want a great spot to this jaw dropping spectacle.
An American performer and producer out of Los Angeles. His music and his performances are hyper-sexual and overflow with passionate emotion. We caught him opening for Drake back in 2013 (full review of Drake + Miguel at Rogers Arena 2013), and then again headlining at the Commodore Ballroom in 2015 (full review of Miguel at Commodore Ballroom Vancouver 2015), in each performance he was electric and completely captivating. When Miguel takes the stage, make sure you are there. You will not be disappointed.
An exciting rap-rave group out of South Africa. Ninja, Yolandi Visser, and DJ Hi-Tek deliver some of the most creative, in-your-face performances you will ever see. In fact, when we went to check them out at the Commodore Ballroom back in 2014 (full review of Die Antwoork at Commodore Ballroom Vancouver 2014), Ninja literally climbed on top of our photographer mid-song and perched atop of him. They are full of wild antics and are constantly pushing boundaries. From stage diving to flashing the crowd, this is another band you just cannot miss.
Tyler, The Creator
A multi-talented American rapper out of California. Originating from the volatile hip hop outfit OFWGKTA, a.k.a. Odd Future, he has been red hot in his rise to infamy. Having seen him perform a number of times, we can honestly say he is one of the most explosive performers on the bill. By the time Tyler is done with his share of the crowd at Pemberton, the bar they will judge all other sets by will be extremely high.
A heavy metal band out of Atlanta, GA. They bring thick, pounding rifts that will have you rocking out in that mid-day sun. There sound isn’t so heavy that it will alienate non-metal heads, but it is just heavy enough that it will have many out there pounding there fists in the air.
A digital-sample mashup genius out of Ohio. His amalgamations are infamous and his stage shows are legendary. His shows usually involve clouds of confetti, balloons, and reams of toilet paper falling over the crowd, and on-stage dance parties.
A Canadian rapper out of Toronto. This man spits white-hot fire and is known for delivering intense performances that tend to culminate with him surfing around on his crowds. This is far more than just some hype train running behind this man, he is on the cusp of glory, and Pemby ticket holders will be lucky enough to see him before the world scoops him up.
An R&B singer out of Oakland, California. Her sinfully sweet vocals will sweep you away, while the bass beats of her backing tracks keeping you dancing all night. We are hoping to see her in a late night slot in Pemberton, much like Banks last year. Seeing her swoon the crowd under the pale glow of the soft blue moon will be a thing of beauty.
A Juno winning indie rock outfit from Halifax, NS. Their live shows do an amazing job of building these powerful walls of sounds that penetrate your mind, body, and soul. They are part jam band, part indie form-breakers, but at the end of the day they are all Rock n Roll. Check out our recent coverage of their show in Vancouver. (full review of Wintersleep in Vancouver 2016)
A four-piece rock band out of London. They are yet another fantastic band of misfits with notoriously stunning live shows that exist in this lineup. Lead singer, Jehnny Beth, has a tendency to dive off the stage and sing a good portion of the set atop the outstretched fingers of their crowds. Do not miss them!
An electronic musician out of Washington State. He is a mad scientist of sound manipulation that likes to keep things fast paced and sweaty. He will probably be slotted over at Bass Camp, and end up stealing one of your top 10 spots of your favorite artists from the 4-day spread.
A 4-piece band hailing from Iceland. They bring a folky brand of pop-rock with tight southern-touched instrumentals and powerful, goosebump-causing lead vocals. If Bon Iver and Hozier melted together, this would be the outcome.
An American alt-rock group that will steal your heart. The 4-piece out of Tennessee has a solid grunge sound that is completely contagious and absolutely refreshing. Imagine if Hole hadn’t been worn away by drug abuse, and their more upbeat songs were in no way ironic, you would be on the right path to something very Bully-like.
A rapper out of Queens, NY. He is a repeat from last year’s Pemberton lineup, but his set felt poorly attended in 2015, and that is just a shame. He has this perfect oscillation in his flow that makes it sound smooth as silk. To add to his abilities, he is a long-time collaborator with J. Cole. If Pemberton can make it happen, having them do a pop-up set together would be a true highlight of the festival.
The London Souls
A 2-piece rock band out of New York. They are a little blues and a little folk, and the end result is something sultry. They will take what ails you and help it float away. Seeing them on the final day in an early slot would be a perfect way to drift away a bit before the big finally.
The lineup is chalk full of many other worthy artists, but these are just a few we wanted to highlight. If you reached this point without watching any of the video above, you need to go back up and check them out.
We are counting down the seconds until Pemberton Music Festival 2016.