Riff Raff

REVIEW: Riff Raff @ the Venue, Thursday Feb 19th 2015

Words By: Sean Haskell

Thursday Feb 19, Riff Raff came to Vancouver’s own Venue night club. The atmosphere was thick with anticipation as neon-clad hip-hop fans of all stripes came out to pay tribute to their diamond-grilled greasy (and lately increasingly muscular) god. The opening acts were on the negligible side, consisting of a couple DJs and local rappers (Dkay, Rushden & Diamonds, Greg B, No Regrets & Sailor Gerry) who were on the bad side of the Venue’s sound man. Their lyrics were mostly inaudible, save for the occasional “ARE YOU READY TO SEE RIFF RAFF?!” to maintain the crowd’s interest, as well as remind some of the more intoxicated patrons where the hell they were and why. All in all nothing stellar (save Sailor Gerry’s banter with the crowd), but at least the sound was more to blame than the artists.

Then finally, the grand reveal: Jody Highroller took the stage, wearing a neon green tank top from his own merch booth and a matching glove on his left hand. Backing him up was a hype man and a DJ wearing a neon green tank top as well as an expressionless mask split down the center into green and pink. Oh, and this was also neon. As you can see with the repetitive use of the word “neon”, Riff Raff is REALLLY pushing to bring back clothes that when exposed to black light make you visible from space.

The set list contained most of the Raff’s hits, including “Real Boys,” “KOKAYNE,” and “Air Canada,” all of which received plenty of response from the crowd. Crowd enthusiasm aside, the show was brief and tame for someone of Riff Raff’s “party hard” sensibility. Aside from a few high fives and fist bumps to people in the front row, his interaction with the crowd was minimal. Aside from the creepy looking DJ and a blown up photo of Miley Cyrus’ face being paraded across the stage there wasn’t much to see. For the last song Riff Raff and his entire entourage abandoned the stage entirely, letting an automated track run as the audience waited with baited breath to see if their icon would return. Which he didn’t.

So all in all, the show wasn’t an utterly mind-blowing experience. Considering Riff Raff’s extensive tour schedule with dates running nearly daily all the way to August 8th one could understand how the man could have some less-than-iconic nights. On the other hand, for $25 cover on a Thursday with reasonably priced beer and an excited crowd of friendly miscreants, one can hardly complain. Though the event didn’t meet this writers (perhaps unreasonably high) expectations, I would definitely go again. After all, who could turn down the chance to be in the presence of the one and only Neon Icon?!

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