I started off my Warped Tour review saying how I am a Warped Tour veteran, well, I can start this off saying I am an Osheaga newbie. This was my first time going.
Similar to Warped Tour, there are always bands/artists to see at any given time, although not nearly as many as at Warped Tour. That is okay in this case, where quality over quantity rings true.
My friend and I entered a little late, but not late, as we were able to catch a fair amount of The 222s, veteran Montreal glam punks. I cannot say as I know them well, at all! However they sounded good, perhaps not as good as their heyday (since I do not know them that well).
Quite a number of people do enter late, since the schedule is made before hand. At Warped Tour one has to enter the grounds to see when bands are playing (the schedule is made early the day of the event). Toronto’s The Midway State played next to a decent crowd, many of whom were from Toronto!
[Edit: It would seem I Forgot to hit update (had a duplicate of the first pic for a little shy of a day!)]
Next was Oh Land, the Danish chanteuse, now on her second release (Oh Land), also her North American breakthrough. We watched her entire set. She provided quite the stage presence with what she was wearing!
And for the most part the show was quite enjoyable, although it felt lacking a little. I noticed during her rendition of “Son of a Gun”, it did not quite feel like it had the zest of the recorded version. I did like how it started, with the percussionist playing the electronic drum, slowly raising either the volume or pitch, till it was obvious as to the song about to be performed! Do not get me wrong, I still very much enjoyed her, as I have listened to her debut a few times, and it makes for a good listen. I think her career can certainly be a promising one. “White Nights” and “Voodoo” were a couple of other songs that were very enjoyable live! On a sidenote, prior to the set starting, as they were still finishing soundcheck (there is only so much time between acts on each stage), they really tested the woofers, we were close by, and it literally shaked our insides! Luckily they were not on full during the set, as more than earplugs would have been necessary!
The day could not have been any nicer, sunny, with the sun hiding behind the clouds briefly now and then providing some well needed respite from the excess heat. And for those not familiar with Osheaga, one of the side stages is the “Tree Stage”, so literally it is among the trees, which provided a nice shaded venue to see performances!
Three Canadian acts were playing at almost the exact time slot, Montreal’s Braids, Newmarket’s Tokyo Police Club, and Vancouver’s Mother Mother. We saw a decent chunk of Braids, and then moved over to the Tree Stage to see Mother Mother.
Braids’ performance was very good, knowing them beforehand helps, otherwise their style is quite a switch from typical rock band music. They are labelled as art rock, or experimental rock on Wikipedia for the primary two genres. They seemed to be having a little technical difficulties with a monitor, and kept playing, or extending the song. At that moment we headed to see Mother Mother. They performed their big hit “O My Heart”, and ended with a nice song primarily featuring the two girl singers (Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin) harmonising most of the song, with Ryan Guldemond jumping in here and there, quite nice!
Aside from hanging out, which I am sure many people do for most of the day, we saw the John Butler Trio before watching the entire Sia set, which was very impressive in every way! Musically very great, playing numerous songs from her latest, We Are Born, and other good ones, including “Breathe Me”, and “Soon We’ll Be Found”. The latter even had Sia doing hand mimicking similarly to the excellent music video (see picture below). Sia took the time to allow the crowd time to heckle her, of course it was good-natured, but very entertaining!
On the main stage a nice long set (just shy of an hour) from Lupe Fiasco made way for Death From Above 1979. One of DFA1979’s reunion shows this year, and it did not disappoint! I did leave before the set was over to go see UK up and comer Anna Calvi.
Anna Calvi’s set started late due to a late running sound check, and a technical issue. The crowd was a bit sparse for her set. It was on the tree stage, and likely not too many people know her around here yet. And she ended her set a little early. Being that it was the first time I saw her, I cannot draw comparisons, yet I enjoyed what I heard. She plays fairly dark indie rock. She did not seem too thrilled, maybe because of the smaller crowd.
Yet, for acts like her, Osheaga is a good venue to introduce lesser known acts. On the other hand, I think Janelle Monae, who played Friday should have played a proper headlining show, as she does have a big cult fanbase. I cannot say as I know the numbers around here, but likely they are up there (when I first tried to purchase her debut disc it was sold out!).
My (Osheaga) day came to a close checking out Ratatat, Bright Eyes, and then Elvis Costello and the Imposters. Ratatat of course have collaborated with Kid Cudi, most notably on “Pursuit of Happiness”. Kid Cudi having cancelled his Friday Osheaga set with illness, apparently due to overworking. What I saw of Elvis Costello impressed. I was fairly tired by that point, but did enjoy him, despite now knowing his work too well.
I then headed over to La Ronde, Montreal’s amusement park, to see the last day of the fireworks, which were a Beatles tribute. It was a good display, featuring audio montages from each member’s song book, and a nice brief grand finale!
And for the first ever Too Much Music top tip (Top Gear ripoff), avoid the metro on a Saturday night post Osheaga! Likely true any day after Osheaga, however Saturday La Ronde and Osheaga leaving at the same time, equalled masses of people trying to leave the island on the metro! I took the shuttle bus back to La Ronde and took the pedestrian path on the Jacque Cartier bridge to get back to the city!