Osheaga has easily become the largest music festival in Canada. This year’s fest on Parc Jean-Drapeau in belle Montreal, hosted a three day music festival to over 120,000 people. That’s a huge jump from the 80,000 of 2011. It’s a festival I have frequented for the past 4 years, and I prefer to the hot and dry backdrop of say, Bonnaroo or Coachella.
So what were the highlights and lowlights of this year’s Osheaga? Well, I’ll begin by saying, I missed Justice and it’s now on a list of small regrets I plan to rectify in the near future.
Of Monsters and Men: Straight out of Iceland, these guys warmed our hearts with their melodic folk-rock. They were the first band we managed to catch of the day in the delicious blistering heat, and it was definitely a great start.
Dum Dum Girls: These girls are fantastic live, all dressed like a sexy Lydia from Beetlejuice. I officially have a girl crush on every single one of them. Even though they suffered through technical problems and their set was cut short, it was still worth every second of that surf punk.
Florence and the Machine: Every time I see Florence Welch make a television appearance, I’m left breathless by the power of her vocals, and the ethereal witch-like presence she evokes, however I have never seen her really do much on stage other than wave her arms around in a flowing gown. This performance was manic, she was all over the place, in the crowd, jumping, yelling, twirling, you name it. She played mostly her new album and a few well known hits from Lungs, and she didn’t miss a beat.
SBTRKT: These guys brought a serious fucking dance party on Saturday afternoon in that almost unbearable heat. Highlights included people climbing the tree to get a better look at the stage, security having to climb said tree to get them down. Sadly Little Dragon, whose set was after SBTRKT didn’t join for Wildfire, but their live rendition of it blew the pants off of the very little amount of people wearing pants.
Yeasayer: Caught half of their set, but they were the highlight of Saturday. Playing old hits and new songs from the upcoming Fragrant World, Saturday was a day of drinking, dancing, and being merry. If you haven’t seen Yeasayer, add them to your list.
Austra: Classically trained Canadian musician Katie Stelmanis has had a myriad of musical projects on the go, but latest band Austra, formerly known as Private Life, until discovering another band under that name, they changed their name to Austra – Katie Stelmanis’ middle name. It was brutally hot after the rain that early afternoon and she brought a pretty big dance party to the table.
Buraka Som Sistema: These guys are out of Portugal but generally create a variation of African beats called “Kuduru”, the final product is a percussion heavy non stop EDM project that you can’t stand still to.
Bloc Party: It was raining heavy during their set, but that didn’t stop the massive crowd from going absolutely nuts. Bloc Party has finally reunited after a long hiatus, and we couldn’t be more excited. They put on a hell of a show despite the shitty weather, and I have never seen that many people crowd surf in the middle of the day since my Warped Tour Highschool days.
M83: THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEKEND. I said earlier in the Osheaga 2012 Preview, that come hell or high water, I would not miss these guys and I sacrificed seeing the Black Angels to squish my way up front, waiting 45 minutes for M83 to begin. The unbelievable light show, coupled with the EPIC performance made them the last set I saw that night, because… nothing could top it. Just, speechless.
Low-lights of the weekend:
Missing Justice: My own fault. Forever a regret.
The set up: in 2011 there was 80,000 attendants over the three day fest, this year it jumped up to 120,000 people. This required larger capacity areas for the stages, which is understandable. However, they set up sketchy ass staircases that you had to use to get from stage to stage. Besides the fact that they wobbled when you used them, it bottlenecked the crowd and made travel time between stages twice as long as normal. I managed to only see a quarter of the bands on the schedule because of this, and would have to leave 3 songs into a bands set to make the next band.
The crowd during M83: If anyone was near the front and can attest to this, please do. Seriously, what the fuck was that. I have never seen people my age (26) behave so moronically. There was a group of about eight people that were so high and drunk out of their minds that they decided a mosh pit and crowd surfing were great ideas, however they were so fucked up they couldn’t support anyone surfing over them, or stand their ground so they caused a lot of injury. Also, a guy ended up collapsing unable to stand up and his girlfriend kept jumping on his head behind us…
Security: To continue with the rant above, security was pretty awesome aside from this set. A dude collapsed, couldn’t get up, and about ten people in the crowd tried to get security in to pull the guy out and they wouldn’t do it. He was literally getting trampled on by his own girlfriend.
Lessons learned: If M83 plays next year I will lay on the grass from afar, enjoy the light show and enjoy my beer.