Lil Uzi Vert and Juice Wrld headline Western’s Purple Fest

Western alum, Loud Luxury, and multi-platinum producer, Murda Beatz also performed at the six-hour long day festival during FOCO last Saturday in London, Ont.

Clad in a ski-mask with four bags hanging off of his shoulders, Lil Uzi Vert performs in the on-campus parking lot turned festival venue. Photo / Benjamin Hargreaves

Clad in a ski-mask with four bags hanging off of his shoulders, Lil Uzi Vert performs in the on-campus parking lot turned festival venue. Photo / Benjamin Hargreaves

By: Benjamin Hargreaves

The sold-out festival at Western University went off without a hitch last Saturday, but that might not have been a good thing.

The concert, organized by Western University’s Student Council, sold out of its 12,000 tickets with the Western WSC stating that, at its peak, there were over 11,000 in attendance.

Purple Fest was a mid-day music festival organized by Western’s USC in a bid to draw unsanctioned partiers off residential streets.

The consensus of the crowd was that Grammy-nominated recording artist, Lil Uzi Vert, was the performer attendees were looking forward to most. This seemed to be the case as the crowd broke apart into scattered mosh pits upon his entry.

Before Uzi took the stage, Chicago rapper, Juice Wrld, performed his explosive hits Lucid Dreams and Lean Wit Me. He also covered the late XXXTENTACION’s Take a Step Back.

Other acts included Maestro, Drezo, WISE, Matt Royal and Toronto based rapper, Jordon Solomon.

With only one unspecified non life-threatening injury reported by the Western USC, they consider Purple Fest a success, but it might have caused problems in other ways.

The concert was meant to give students an alternative to partying on streets, but it might have magnified the problem, according to John Pare, London’s police chief at a news conference addressing FOCO on Tuesday.

In 2016, the university decided to move homecoming to late October as a way of deterring the illegal street parties. But the student body’s response to this decision wasn’t what the university expected.  

With the new date of homecoming plagued by midterms and colder weather, the students took to the streets on Oct. 1, 2016, for the first ever “fake homecoming” or FOCO.

London police estimated that about 10,000 people showed up in 2016 and that increased to 11,000 in 2017.

But this year was by far the biggest turn-out for FOCO with the LPS announcing Tuesday that they estimate the number of partiers to have been 20,000.

Details are still emerging about FOCO but the LPS reported that there were 134 charges, over 3,000 warnings and 28 people taken to hospital. The costs of policing alone are expected to be in excess of $100,000.

When the dust settles around FOCO we will have to wait to see if Purple Fest will make an appearance next year.




Hedley's second show since announcing hiatus sees lone protestor and continued trend of “frat boy” antics.

Frontman Jacob Hoggard, identifies as Donald Trump, covers Frank Ocean and takes a fan’s phone, again.

Photo by Benjamin Hargreaves/CanCulture.

Photo by Benjamin Hargreaves/CanCulture.

By Benjamin Hargreaves

Hedley’s Jacob Hoggard continued his “frat boy persona” and habit of stealing phones during the band’s Cageless tour stop in Peterborough, Ont. on Friday, marking their second performance since announcing an indefinite hiatus amid ongoing sexual misconduct allegations.

With performers Shawn Hook, Neon Dreams and most recently, Quebec City’s Liteyears, cancelling as Hedley’s opening acts, the band took the stage with only a few songs played over the speakers as an opener.

Multiple women on social media have spoken out against Hoggard regarding alleged acts of sexual misconduct. Most recently, on Feb. 25, a 24-year-old Ottawa women came to the CBC with accusations against Hoggard regarding several alleged encounters occurring in 2016. 

After this allegation was published, Hoggard released a statement on Twitter admitting to behaving in a way that “objectified women.”

Roughly an hour before the show began, Hoggard took to Twitter again, this time acknowledging that the CBC has told him new allegations are going to come out from yet another woman, writing, “The allegation is startling and categorically untrue. It is not within my capacity as a person to force anyone beyond their boundaries."
 

“What’s going on Peterborough?” Hoggard shouted to a crowd of roughly 2,300 people in the venue that has a concert capacity of about 5,000. The crowd cheered as Hoggard began singing “Better Days”, a song from their new album, Cageless.

Hedley’s setlist for the night would also include their hits “Anything,” “Cha-Ching” and “Lose Control” as well as “Bad Tattoo” and “All Night” from their most recent album, all being received with deafening cheers from the audience.

However, Hedley’s visit to Peterborough was not well received by all.

“It makes me angry [that] this is happening,” says Shawna Blackwood a 26-year-old Peterborough resident and only protestor at Hedley’s Peterborough performance.  

Blackwood stood outside the Memorial Centre for just under an hour leading up to Hedley’s 7:30 p.m. scheduled start.

Shawna Blackwood protesting outside of the Memorial Centre in Peterborough, Ont. (Photo by Benjamin Hargreaves/CanCulture)

Shawna Blackwood protesting outside of the Memorial Centre in Peterborough, Ont. (Photo by Benjamin Hargreaves/CanCulture)

Blackwood believes the Memorial Centre should have cancelled the show, much like the Windsor Ont. venue did to Hedley’s scheduled performance on Mar. 11. She also believes peaceful protest is useful in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.

“I’m just here commending their bravery,” Blackwood said referring to the women speaking out against Hoggard. “I’m providing access to information about reporting sexual assault and the fact that consent is sexy and no means no.”

Blackwood  stood outside the entrance to the Memorial Centre holding a sign reading “She said no!” in reference to the Ottawa woman who came forward, for roughly five minutes before two security guards approached her. Each guard took a pamphlet she was handing out on how to report sexual assault and then asked her to leave the property.

Hedley’s performance on Friday included a rendition of Frank Ocean’s, rather explicit track, “Self Control,” which Hoggard delivered as a solo.

Hoggard continued, what The Canadian Press reporter David Friend coined, his “frat-boy persona,” after taking a fan’s phone in their Brampton, Ont. show on Mar. 1.

Almost mirroring his antics from the night before, Hoggard called out a fan in the front row for texting during the show. He proceeded to ask for the phone and after scrolling through her contacts, called the girl’s father.

“Hey, it’s Jake from Hedley, we’re on stage at the Hedley show in Peterborough,” Hoggard said.

Hoggard stayed on the phone with the girl’s father for another 15 seconds, before saying “I miss you and I wish you were here at the Hedley concert. I’ll talk to you later. TTYL. BRB. LOL. JK Dad,” and hanging up. After scolding the girl once more for texting he ended the charade by taking a selfie on the girl’s phone.

Hoggard would not directly address the allegations against him but he would repeat a speech he has delivered in multiple performances, including Hedley’s Brampton show the night before.

“Peterborough, thank you for standing behind us,” he said, “for believing in us and loving us every step of the way.”

“It’s fans like you that keep us doing what we are doing,” Hoggard continued. “We couldn’t get through this without people like you, through the ups and the downs, through the highs and the lows, the good times and the bad. ‘Cause Peterborough, sometimes life sucks and that’s why we’ve got you, ‘cause Peterborough sometimes life sucks and that’s why you’ve got us.”

The crowd then assisted Hoggard with the final verse of the song, with Hoggard ending it by saying goodnight to the crowd.

The response was not quite a standing ovation, but it was enough to bring the band back to the stage for one encore song.

This piece was edited by Valerie Dittrich. 

 

Top Six Canadian Albums to Look Out For in 2018

By: Manuela Vega

With albums like Arcade Fire’s eclectic Everything Now and Daniel Caesar’s gorgeous debut Freudian, there’s no doubt that Canadian musicians were standouts in 2017. While artists set the bar high last year, there’s plenty of reason to believe that 2018 will also introduce a multitude of memorable tracks. Be sure to look out for these six albums this year!

6) Ought: Room Inside the World

This Montreal band has released the singles ”These 3 Things” and “Disgraced in America” from their upcoming album, Room Inside the World. If their LP is anything like the singles, Feb. 16 is bound to bring a collection of reflective, existential anthems. Ought captures the essence of isolation and contemplation in their melancholy riffs, but they mix up their rhythms to the point that you can justify happily dancing to a sad song.

5) Born Ruffians: Uncle, Duke, & The Chief

Continuing their stream of passionate belting and upbeat rhythms, Born Ruffians introduces a sense of true candidness on what has been released from their fifth full-length album Uncle, Duke, & The Chief. Between touching on the inability to mask feelings of a longing heart in “Miss You,” accepting the inevitability of death in “Forget Me,” and regretting the vulnerability of an open heart in “Love Too Soon,” the Toronto band sets up an album of soft, jangly tunes to sing along to on Feb. 16.

4) Chromeo: TBA

Guitarist and lead-singer Dave 1 and multi-instrumentalist P-Thugg have been avidly sharing on Instagram and Twitter their dedication to perfecting the production of their electronic-funk album due in the spring. The first single “Juice” is an exuberant synthesized jam about a partner who gets shamelessly hit on in public because she’s “got the juice.” The light-energy, feel-good song continues to play on this double meaning. Dave 1 told Beats 1 that this will be their “most robust, conceptually tight album.”

3) Metric: TBA

Metric has a knack for creating lively hits that express liberation with every head-bob, sway, or strut. Combining synths, lush beats, and tight strums, paired with lead singer Emily Haines’ vibrant voice has worked especially well for the band on past highly regarded albums, such as Fantasies (2009) and Synthetica (2012). Although there’s still no new album title or release date, the quartet has been teasing fans on Instagram with pictures of studio visits since September. Since their last album Pagans in Vegas (2015), Haines has released a solo album in a style different from that of her band’s, with a distinct focus on vocals and reflection, raising the question of whether or not 2018 will be the year that Metric goes in a totally new direction.

2) Rhye: Blood

Former Canadian solo-artist Mike Milosh and Danish producer Robin Braun are the duo behind Rhye’s fusion sound. The 2018 pre-release of Blood showcases the steady electronic, folky jazz that backs delicate vocals on provocative works like “Taste” and soothing pieces like “Song for You.” Releasing the rest of their album on Feb. 2, Rhye will surely bring a diverse range of sounds to an increasingly contemporary form of R&B.

1) Charlotte Day Wilson: Stone Woman

The Toronto singer-songwriter and producer announced this month that her new EP Stone Woman will be released on Feb. 23. Since her melodious R&B EP CDW debuted in 2016, Wilson has been captivating listeners with her effortless elegance. Although tracks from CDW like “Work” and “Find You” are hypnotically mellow, the 2018 single “Nothing New” ripples with calculated power, rising and settling around the easy flow of Wilson’s formidable voice. It sets the stage for Stone Woman to be as enchanting as her previous release.

This piece was edited by Valerie Dittrich.