​Gregory Pepper and His Problems Lake Stage, Guelph ON, July 24

​Gregory Pepper and His Problems Lake Stage, Guelph ON, July 24
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
Gregory Pepper and His Problems walked onto the Lake Stage Sunday afternoon (July 24) decked out in an unconventional band uniform of matching tie-dyed shirts, headbands and black skinny jeans. Looking part hippie, part ninja and all kick-ass rock'n'roll band, they crushed a set of quick, quirky alt-rock jams that proved that maybe you can just judge a book by its cover.
The set marked Pepper's first return to the Hillside stage since playing the festival with his high school ska band back in 1999, and it seems a safe bet to assume that this year's appearance was a vast improvement.
Pepper and His Problems cranked up the volume on the usually peaceful island, plugging in with three guitars and three wah pedals, which were only further amplified by the group's arsenal of power-shredding stances and synchronized back-to-back guitar solos.
They kept the banter fast and funny, joking about having to fill a 45-minute set with only 18 minutes of material (but also actually drawing out some songs longer for dramatic effect and busting out some non-album gems). The setlist primarily drew from Chorus Chorus Chorus, though, with tracks like opener "Welcome to the Dullhouse" and immediate follow-up "I Wonder Whose Dick You Had to Suck?" exploding out of the gate. (Editor's note: Despite the lyrics to the latter, sucking dicks will not get you reviewed at Exclaim!; apparently writing a song about it will, though.)
"Smart Phones for Stupid People," "I'm Bill Murray" and "Crush On You" further showcased the band's penchant for clever, fun-fuelled, in-your-face pop-punk songs, providing a refreshingly fun alternative to the regular folk fest fare.