Day 2 of the Safe and Sound Festival started with some much needed rain that our province and city so desperately needed. As much as it deterred me from wanting to stand outside in the rain, I was grateful for the brief showers and I know many other people around B.C. felt the same. We arrived in New West a little later than the day prior just before SonReal was supposed to take stage. Upon arrival we learned Goldlink’s highly anticipated performance would not be taking place due to a surprise cancellation causing many of the day’s acts to be pushed back to accommodate his absence.
The first set we witnessed was Rico Nasty and I’ll be brutally honest here, it definitely did not impress. To be fair, I really did not have much of a prior background on Rico herself, but what I will say of her incredibly brief performance is that it plain and simply sucked… badly. 12 minutes of half-heartedly rapping to a studio recording. I’m still shocked at how truly little of an effort Rico Nasty put in.
It was around this time that the rain began to subside and the sky cleared up, allowing everyone to truly take in how beautiful the festival venue really was. The illuminated backdrop of the Pattullo bridge behind the stage with the skytrain and traffic passing by really showcased the waterfront of New Westminster.
Vancouver’s own Sonreal took stage next and kicked things into high gear, bringing an upbeat, enthusiastic energy to the crowd. Playing with a full band, the Black Box Recording artist was in full swing playing in unison with his bandmates on the songs “We Go”, Granny Song” and the hit “Can I Get a Witness”. Vibing back and forth with the crowd as they sang along his lyrics. Definitely lots of hometown love and affirmation was given to SonReal and he made sure to acknowledge it and even stopped to pay homage to the Anza Club and Cafe Du Soleil as starting points for his career.
Alina Baraz was next up and slowed things down to a screeching, but very sexy halt which I personally felt was a great (although risky) move to do at this point of the night. Some feedback I heard from others was that her set was too slow to be on just before Anderson .Paak, but I thought it was a great performance and added some grown, sultry vibes that I really enjoyed.
Alina was wearing an oversized throwback Sade shirt, which always gets brownie points in my books and the lighting they had on her also suited the mood of her music well. Her entire band was on point, especially the keyboard player, who got busy adding an eclectic musical element to her set that reminded me of something I’d hear on Soulection Radio. A highlight for me was ending the set with “Electric” featuring Khalid. It was my first time seeing Alina Baraz live and I’m already looking forward to seeing her again.
DJ Hedspin played a smashingly dope set after Alina was done, pumping up the crowd with an Aretha Franklin (RIP) tribute and playing a Rihanna sample that parlayed into “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing To Fuk Wit”, all the while DJ Flipout hosted and hyped up the crowd.
Lastly, the man that everyone came to see, Anderson .Paak took the stage with his band, The Free Nationals. To be expected, and to no surprise to me at all, AP flawlessly delivered a funky, hardbody, high level performance that had the entire waterfront in New West rocking. There was even a tugboat that pulled up and stopped at one point to take in the show. Playing monster jams from his albums Malibu and Venice, Mr. Yes Lawd! is as professional and charismatic as it gets. Honestly, if you’ve yet to see an Anderson .Paak show in person you are doing yourself a major disservice. If his skills in rocking the mic and controlling the crowd weren’t enough, he also jumps on the drums and shreds the percussion is an almost effortless way. Anderson .Paak is the truth and what I admire a lot about his music is how it transcends age and demographic. Looking around the Festival you could see multiple ages represented from teenagers to middle aged couples, which proves that great, authentic music still reigns supreme in 2018 and that makes me happy and hopeful.
Overall our experience at the first ever Safe & Sound Festival was a great one and I hope to see more events and festivals here again next year, as I feel this is exactly the type of thing that New West needs to liven up it’s sleepy reputation.
Check out Day 1 Coverage: Here
Written By: John Zee
Photos: David Dalley