Standing tall and still centre stage at Dickens Pub, Vancouver’s Kimmortal (who lives on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, including the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, and Musqueam nations) opened their set with a land acknowledgement and a quick personal bio identifiying them as a queer, non-binary Filipinx rapper. In just a couple of short sentences, Kimmortal summed up the ethos of not only their artistic practice, but of the festival at a whole: a radical weekend of intersectional politics and art.
And without much more fanfare, they launched into an intimate, incisive, confident set, rapping almost with (rather than at) the crowd. Their lyricism covers such topics as astrology and finding yourself in relationships, as well as tackling racism and homophobia. It was a great headlining set from the emerging rapper and one that set the tone nicely for the rest of the festival.
The first night of Femme Wave featured a stacked, multidisciplinary night on which the festival has made their name. Locals Window Lamp provided direct support (after switching set times with Shades Lawrence) with their snappy, lo-fi, indie garage vibes, while Montreal’s Shades Lawrence kicked the night off rapping smooth over some killer beats. Between bands, alternative burlesque performances touched on themes of mental health and identity and provided a nice addition to the music-based sets on the stage behind them.