Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’

Osheaga Music Festival took place this past weekend in Montreal. Parc Jean-Drapeau was once again host to the epic series of live performances. Sadly, this year I was only able to attend one day of the festival (I blame my age) but boy was it a great day.

The first band I made it for was Stars. They were playing to a hometown crowd and the fans were eating it up. Lead singer Torquil Campbell did spend a little too much time going off on Prime Minister Steven Harper which was a bit of an unnecessary buzz kill. Next up were darling twin sisters Tegan and Sara. From outfit to hairstyle to accessories, these girls decorated the stage with their immense talent. Their latest album Heartthrob has made huge waves for them. Well done ladies.

The next artist was supposed to be Miguel. He was a last minute addition to replace Frank Ocean who bailed due to damaged vocal chords. I was dying to see Miguel, having fallen head over heels for his album Kaleidoscope Dream, and I was in the mood to swoon. However, at the very last minute he also cancelled due to scheduling conflicts with his band. Who substituted him? K-Os. Normally this would have been fine. But K-Os actually had a slot the day before, where he took a hissy fit and stormed off stage when the sound system wasn’t co-operating. Not cool buddy. The few minutes I did witness him rocking a Jays’ hat, trying to remind the crowd why he was still relevant, weren’t all that impressive. Therefore I will not post any footage.

Imagine Dragons came on after and completely saved the day. The band was happy the entire time. Smiling, dancing, singing their hearts out, playing their instruments like they were having the time of their lives. The energy was contagious and there wasn’t a single person standing still in the crowd. Lead singer Dan Reynolds was dynamic, entertaining and the only one I’ve ever seen who plays a massive bass drum. I kind of want to be friends with them. What a great performance.

It was time. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were about to hit the stage and I couldn’t contain my excitement. It started to rain (thankfully I was well equipped with a bad ass poncho) but that wasn’t stopping anyone. The crowds had been gathering all day to see these guys and although I was tempted to worm my way up close, I knew it was going to be a battle and I wasn’t in the mood to fight off drunken 19-year-olds. So I stayed back where I wouldn’t be succumbed to the smoke, smells and sweat from being pushed up against someone. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did not disappoint, they were off the hook. He did an acapella version of “Otherside” and during “Same Love,” a track about equal rights for homosexuals (damn right he supports it) he treated his fans to a beautiful moment in music: he called on Tegan and Sara to sing the chorus. They are darling twin sisters who are also both lesbians. It was just perfect.

And then this happened during “Can’t Hold Us”:

 

The main headliner was 90s rock legend Beck. I was unable to make it long enough to watch his set, but heard that it was fantastic. Here’s a look.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’ve never been to an outdoor music festival you don’t know what you’re missing. There’s just something about that environment that causes some sort of strange euphoria (not the drug-induced kind) that makes everything better. Try it, you’ll see.

Day 3 was a bit of a struggle because my body started getting angry with me. My back had had enough and I was forced to start popping Advil to get by. I also had to succumb to buying more supportive shoes – apparently flip flops aren’t the sturdiest – so that I could survive the day. Which I did. Barely.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was raining on and off all day, the grounds were disastrously muddy, skies were dark, but it was still humid as ever outside. The first act I stumbled upon was Woodkid. Sadly I only caught the tail end of their incredible set. Hailing from France, Woodkid, aka Yoann Lemnoine, sings in English accompanied by indie rock music with obvious tribal influences in it. The rain had stopped for a while and during one of their songs while the drums were coming to life, fans were jumping around to the music and all of a sudden it started to pour – almost like the crowd was doing some sort of rain dance that induced the waterfall. It was a glorious scene to witness. I became a fan on the spot.

Next up was Bloc Party, who I was looking forward to seeing since Day 1. I was surrounded by a bunch of giant guys which didn’t really concern me until they started playing. All the giants then decided it would a good idea to start moshing – ie body checking in dance form – and crowd surfing. Again, not the biggest deal in the world, actually seemed kind of fun. Except when you’re my size, it’s quite possibly the scariest thing ever. My claustrophobia kicked in and in a true fight or flight response, I fled. Saved myself from what could have been a traumatic episode, with only a bloody broken toe nail. Gross, I know. I watched the rest of their performance from further back, but was surprisingly underwhelmed by it. They did a good job, I just prefer listening to them with my noise canceling headphones so I can fully absorb their music.

Next, I caught Toronto’s own Metric. I adore watching lead singer Emily Haines perform because she is as elegant as she is edgy. Perfect blend of loud and soft, fun and serious, poetic and to the point. I then trekked over to see France’s electronic group M83, most commonly known for their track “Midnight City” which was on HBO’s How to Make it in America. The packed crowd and insane beats made everyone go wild. The lighting and effects on stage made the show come alive, so you could enjoy it even from any distance. Last but not least, the festival ended with headliners The Black Keys. The subway ride home was bittersweet because the music was finished, but my body could finally get some rest.

There are plenty of reasons to attend a music festival: travel, spend time outdoors, hang out with friends, grab a few beers, sport the latest fashion trends – for girls, high-waisted shorts, hippie braids and baggy tank tops. My reason was the music. For everyone who really understands that, I wish you were there with me.

For photos check out Me vs. the Music Blog Page
For video footage check out Osheaga 2012

Day 2 began similarly to Day 1: crazy heat, masses of people and music everywhere. The grounds felt a little used, the air was full of a variety of fumes, a bottle of water was necessary at all times to prevent dehydrating and fainting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I made it my mission on this day very clear: see Garbage play live. A great band from the 90s, back together again after almost a decade. They weren’t playing until later on in the day, so I opted to plant myself around the stage where they would be performing and watch all the bands that came on before them, whilst moving my way forward in the crowd to get as close as possible. Normally, this wouldn’t be an ordeal or very taxing; however, I’m not very tall and my back was already aching from all the standing on the previous day. Oh and did I mention the blistering sun?                                                                                                                                                                                                                          First band to go on was Dumas – a  Quebecois rock band. That’s the beauty of a music festival in Montreal: sure you have all the big names, but interspersed is a large number of Canadian bands as well as French speaking bands. It caters to more people and broadens the musical experience for all fans. Dumas put on a good show, the lead singer seemed to be riding the coattails of how cool he may have been say ten years ago, which was fun to watch. Next alt-rockers Brand New played a nice loud set to get the blood pumping, then it was Garbage’s turn.To my surprise I had worked my way up as close as possible with only one unnecessarily tall guy in front of me. Then lead singer Shirley Manson came on stage and everyone went bananas. For those of you unfamiliar with their music, it’s rock, it’s loud, it’s angry and it’s perfect when you just want to go nuts. Which is exactly what happened. They played new music and every time they played an old track, there was mass hysteria, giddiness and excitement amongst the crowd because we never thought we would hear it live. They destroyed it, they nailed it. Shirley put on a fantastic performance, moving around the stage, lying on the ground, standing on the speakers; not to mention drummer Butch Vig, aka man behind Nirvana’s Nevermind album. Being in his presence was like being surrounded by history – what a great feeling. It was hands down the best performance of the entire weekend.

Feist was up next to sort of mellow everyone out then it was the big headliner: Snoop Dogg. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of his, but I was already front row so I decided to check him out it out. My back was essentially on fire at this point, my legs were sore and my voice was gone courtesy of overextending myself during Garbage’s set. It was so humid out, and everyone was right up against each other, one girl behind me started to have a panic attack and almost passed out. Snoop finally graced us with his presence, 45 minutes late. He had a Jamaican vibe to his set and outfit, in honour of his alter ego Snoop Lion, but his performance was nothing special, despite his efforts including smoking a joint on stage. Admittedly I couldn’t stop giggling the entire time because he really looks like a dog, plus any attempts he made to “dance” were just out of control hilarious.

Getting to the subway took forever as everyone was going to the same station, but once on the train, an impromptu a cappella version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” began – people just didn’t want the music to stop. An incredible Day 2, now all that was left was to make it through Day 3.

For photos check out Me vs. the Music Blog Page
For video footage check out Osheaga 2012