Snow and sound fill Olympic Plaza

By Justin Lee

Pegged as an "urban street festival," DV8 lived up to the much-generated hype and even managed to outshine last year’s debut. Showcasing some of the top extreme athletes in Canada, the festival drew some 64,500 Calgarians to Olympic Plaza last weekend.

The Molson-sponsored event also featured an all-star lineup of bands including headliners Sloan, 3 Doors Down, Treble Charger, and Gob. Bands like Treble Charger, Gob and Calgary’s own Chixdiggit! provided high-energy, power-punk-pop, generating a mosh-pit that threatened to take out the security barriers.

However, it was the human beatbox Rahzel of The Roots crew and jazz-funk-hip hop concoction The Pocket Dwellers, that offered the festival a fresh alternative to the drowned-out melancholy rock consistent throughout the lineup.

Surprisingly enough, Rahzel was no stranger to this kind of festival.

"Actually I’ve done a lot of snow shows in Toronto and Vancouver so I’m definitely familiar with venues like DV8," he explains.

Not to mention that the man who can single-handedly emulate almost any beat known in the history of hip hop is a big fan of extreme sports himself.

"I got a little skateboard and a little scooter," he said. "I think it’s fun, you know. Plus, it gives you a good workout."

Hip hop remained as a strong entity of the festival; between sets, World DMC Champions The Scratch Perverts from the U.K. and local-hero DJ Pump kept the groove going with their montage of break beats and scratches. Despite some initial technical difficulties, Pump gave a taste of just why he will be competing against the best in the world next month in England in the 2000 World DMC finals. Breakers were in full abundance and during the DJ sets received a warm welcome from the surrounding spectators.

The two day explosion of ear and eye candy offered some of the sickest tricks known in the extreme sports world. Athletes like skateboarder Rob "Sluggo" Boyce from Vancouver and rollerblader Nicky Adams of Montreal got the crowd’s hearts pumping faster than they would in the aftermath of digesting a three-piece meal from Kentucky Fried Chicken. Despite attracting some of the top riders, skaters and boarders in the country, DV8 was nowhere near the intensity of such major competitions as the X-Games.

Still, the weekend had its share of problems and annoyances. The scalding heat prevented boarders and skiers from pulling any really ridiculous tricks and the food was expensive ($4 for a hamburger the size of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s vocabulary). In the end, DV8 was a weekend of spectacle, energy and some good old-fashioned fun.

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