Femme Wave Festival Recap: Day Three

By Jesse Gillett

Purr shifted from a clothing store to a dance floor as waves of pop-powered grooves washed over the shop on Saturday afternoon. People gathered in tightly to witness a trio of performances that proved synths are the best thing to come out of the ‘80s.

Vancouver’s Future Star kicked things off, beating the cold outside with their intensely warm and fun brand of DIY pop tunes. Ashley Velvet followed, filling the space with razor sharp beats, sultry synth hooks and soulful lyrics.

Calgary’s newest synthpop power duo, Khillah Khills, capped off the afternoon with a blissful 1980s fever dream, complete with synchronized dance moves and an otherworldly rendition of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”

Khillah Khills | Photo by Jesse Gillett
Ashley Velvet | Photo by Jesse Gillett

Over in the downtown core, The Palomino was buzzing all night long as Femme Wave fans bounced between two floors of non-stop rock and roll annihilation. A flood of people would materialize as each performance began, a testament to the incredible amount of support and solidarity at the heart of the festival.

The penultimate act of the night had everyone packed in front of the Pal’s modest upstairs stage, the crowd going wild for the one-night return of Calgary femme-punk favourites, Shematomas. Their uproarious set of surfy, garage punk bangers was followed by a heavy dose of fuzz-drenched destruction from the Pack A.D., closing out the night with riffs so thunderous they could register on the Richter scale.

The whole evening was rife with incendiary rock and roll energy, combining the unhinged shredding power of bands like Strange Breed and Hairnets, with the virtuosic and chaotic soundscapes of Mi’ens and Kamikaze Nurse. It was a night you could walk away from with a whole list of new favourite bands. Drag superstar, Duke Carson, hosted the night upstairs, rallying the crowd in a massive cheer for everyone involved in making the fifth year of Femme Wave a huge success.  

Strange Breed | Photo by Jesse Gillett
Shematomas | Photo by Jesse Gillett
Mecha Droid | Photo by Jesse Gillett