By: Russell Canceran
Photos by: Russell Canceran
Fall is finally here and to deal with the post-summer blues, our friends at Manifesto gave us full access to their 10th Anniversary Festival of Community and Culture. Founded in 2007, Manifesto acts as one of Canada’s biggest hubs for the promotion and development of arts and culture. Their annual festival features events and programs across the city that seek to unite and celebrate Toronto’s diverse art community. Previous years have seen the likes of BADBADNOTGOOD, Isaiah Rashad, Raekwon, Jay Electronica and Jhené Aiko perform. This year’s lineup continued the Festival’s upward trajectory with BJ the Chicago Kid, Kaytranada and Anderson .Paak headlining the weekend.
The two-day experience began Friday night with Manifesto hosting the Red Bull Sound Academy at the intimate Adelaide Hall. The event was headlined by the R&B and Neo-Soul soundings of BJ the Chicago the Kid. As his name implies BJ the Chicago Kid hails from Chicago and is part of the next wave of amazing talent emerging from the Windy City. Seasoned hip-hop heads will recognize BJ through his distinct vocal features and collaborations with rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Big K.R.I.T., and Freddie Gibbs. However BJ’s vast discography and his powerful live performance prove that he is a noteworthy stand-alone artist. Backed by his DJ and threepiece band, BJ began his set with crowd favourites “Turn Me Up” and “Good Luv’n.” BJ also played a rendition of R&B legend D’angelo’s “Send It On,” which played perfectly with his refined, poignant vocals. In the face of newwave R&B that glamorizes sex and drugs, BJ is a breath of fresh air and ignites strong nostalgia for ’90s and early 2000’s R&B. BJ remains true to his inspirations and constantly pays homage to the artists that paved away for his sound. BJ the Chicago Kid at Adelaide Hall set the bar high for the remainder of the weekend and proves that classic R&B and Neo-soul is still alive and well today.
BJ the Chicago Kid
The next night Manifesto and Rap Season co-hosted Kaytranada and Anderson .Paak at Echo Beach. Located on a man-made beach in the now defunct Ontario Place, Echo Beach acts as the perfect outdoor venue for concert-goers in the city. Although it was raining the whole day, the torrential downpour subsided right before sunset, creating a scenic setting for the night’s affairs.
Montreal’s very own Kaytranada was the first co-headlining act of the night. Riding off the success of his most recent and critically acclaimed debut album 99.9% (2016), the Haitian-Canadian producer and DJ did not fail to get the crowd energized and dancing. Known for his groovy mix of disco, hip-hop and soul, Kaytranada started off his set on a high with “Track Uno.” Only a few songs into his set, the crowd looked like a scene from a movie, with girls riding on people’s shoulders, giant balls bouncing around, hands waving, people dancing and beer spilling. With the crowd fully invested, Kaytranada played his dance-appropriate remix of Rihanna’s hit single “Kiss It Better,” which he later transitioned into his remix of Aluna George’s “Kaleidoscope Love.” Kaytranada’s set was filled with seamless transitions and bangers, but the most memorable was his transition from a remix of Desiigner’s “Panda” into his track “Drives Me Crazy” which features rapper Vic Mensa. From there he shifted into his hit single “Glowed Up” that featured the co-headlining Anderson .Paak. To everyone’s surprise Anderson .Paak then joined him on stage in a high-energy performance. Kaytranada then ended his set off in a suitable fashion playing “Lite Spots” which he transitioned into a dance-igniting rendition of Janet Jackson’s “If.” With Kaytranada ending his set on such a high, the audience was left wanting more and eagerly waiting for the next act.
The last act of the night was Oxnard, California native Anderson .Paak and his band, the Free Nationals. Anderson .Paak, who seemingly burst into notoriety with his critically acclaimed album Malibu (2016), was brought forth into the limelight through his six features on Dr Dre’s album Compton (2015) and his subsequent signing to Dr Dre’s record label “Aftermath Productions.” Having been a long-time producer, multi-instrumentalist and musician in the Los Angeles music scene, Anderson .Paak is a true musical superstar and is finally receiving the attention he rightfully deserves. His performance did not disappoint and he immediately got the crowd fired up with his bass heavy track “Come Down.” Anderson .Paak continued the weekend’s theme of soulful and groovy vibes, and got the crowd singing and dancing along to tracks such as “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” and “The Waters.” To end his high-energy set, Anderson played his Kaytranada produced track “Glowed Up” and played “Am I Wrong” in response to an encore. His distinctly genius mix of R&B, Soul and lyrical Rap proves that he is an artist with large potential and longevity in the world of hip-hop.
BJ the Chicago Kid, Kaytranada and Anderson .Paak proved to be excellent additions to the ever-growing list of talented artists that Manifesto has featured in their festival. With such a successful 10th anniversary weekend, it is evident that Manifesto will be a long-standing and acclaimed festival for years to come.
This article was originally published on our old website at https://thenewspaper.ca/the-arts/two-nights-manifesto-festival/.