BADBADNOTGOOD Main Stage, Guelph ON, July 26

BADBADNOTGOOD Main Stage, Guelph ON, July 26
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
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Two years ago, a buzzed-about, jazz-trained, hip-hop-influenced Toronto trio called BADBADNOTGOOD took the Island Stage, looking impossibly fresh-faced (well, minus the pig mask) and blowing away the tent full of onlookers with an explosive performance. This weekend, the three-piece returned (with saxophonist Leland Whitty serving as an honorary fourth member for most of the set) to Hillside, and while they may have moved up to the Main Stage, BBNG still managed to melt the minds of the audience.
 
Since their last appearance, the group have unleashed the masterful III, as well the impressive (and now Polaris Music Prize-nominated) album Sour Soul with Ghostface Killah, demonstrating the rate at which their career is progressing. Giving each composition in their live set its necessary time to blossom, the band rarely gets through many songs in a set, but what they lack in quantity is more than made up for with quality. Recent originals like "Velvet" and "Kaleidoscope" were given their time in the spotlight, as was a new track tentatively titled "Four Shots" and a rendition of Flying Lotus's "Putty Boy Strut" that had the crowd trying to keep their clapping in time with the furious beat led by drummer Alexander Sowinski.
 
A sweat-soaked-within-seconds Sowinski also served as the set's emcee and hype man, heaping well-deserved praise on his fellow musicians and eventually whipping the crowd into a finale of jumping, moshing and crowdsurfing. It's always incredible to watch the boys of BBNG read and feed off each other onstage, and at this rate, Hillside will have to double the size of its Main Stage if they're going to invite the band back in another two summers.