Choosing a summer music festival is always difficult for me only because line-ups AND location are what matter most. This year it was incredibly easy to choose the Osheaga Music & Arts Festival in Montreal, QC. The line-up was pretty much perfect in the sense that I love everyone (or at least 90%) on the bill. It was a sweet three days in Montreal, uniting people from all over the world to embrace the universal beauty that IS music.
We didn’t get to see every band but what can you do? That’s first world music-festival problems, especially when you have bands that overlap or play at the same time OR are playing at stages at opposite ends of Parc Jean Drapeau. Montreal was good to us, the bands were good to us, the crowd was a wonderful crowd to be a part of.
Day One is always the initial getting-to-know the festival type of day. Here were the highlights: We saw Hey Ocean! – who were an incredibly cute band from Vancouver, BC. Haven’t listened to them before but was surprised by how much I enjoyed their set.
Another Vancouver band Yukon Blonde was up next. We had featured their track “Iron Fist” as one of our Tracks of the Day, so you could understand that I kind of lost it when they played it live. Such a energetic set!
Of Monsters and Men was one of the bands I was absolutely looking forward to seeing that day. After missing their free show at the Fillmore Silver Spring a couple months ago, I was determined to not miss their entire set at Osheaga. They did not disappoint. Playing a set filled with tracks from their latest record, My Head is an Animal, the crowd would sing along at the top of their lungs with their catchy La La La’s and HEY!’s.
The Dum Dum Girls (who we unfortunately didn’t get photos of) were so good! Chick-rock band full of sweet fashion and great music? So sold. It really sucked though in the case that they had many technology problems that their set got cut 8 songs. Loved everything I heard though and they do have a new record coming soon.
The Florence and the Machine set was rad. Florence Welch was everything you expected her to be from everything you’ve ever seen on TV or whatever. Her constant smiles were often the reason why you were smiling during her set. There was even a moment during “Raise It Up” that she encouraged people in the crowd to sit on someone’s shoulders and many did. Obvious highlight was finally seeing “Dog Days Are Over” live.
Sigur Ros. What can you even say but that set was out of this world. Seeing Jón Þór Birgisson play his guitar with a bow and being backed up by their orchestra. Never seen them live, have heard nothing but great things but after experiencing it live…it was incredibly magical. I’m sure people cried…because I almost did.
Check out Day One Photos below:
Bombay Bicycle Club
Of Monsters and Men
Florence and the Machine
Day Two was the day you knew where you wanted to be. Highlights include Kathleen Edwards, the singer-songwriter from Ottawa. Another musician I had been meaning to listen to but never got around to. What a better way to do so when she’s playing live at a music festival. Acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and the fiddle! She was pretty rad and funny too. “Thanks for getting out of bed early, you f-ckers!” Hilarious, right?
Vancouver indie-pop band, Young Galaxy were a highlight for sure. I’d heard of them through Stars but never took the time to listen or prepare to listen to them for Osheaga. My original plan was to see the Ravonettes who were on at the same time but plans change and I’m glad they did. Danceable dream-pop songs are right up my alley and if they are up yours, check these guys out.
Garbage! Garbage! Shirley Manson and the guys! Playing new and old stuff, the crowd was in awe of 19 year old band and Garbage reciprocated the feelings. A girl in the crowd had written a letter or something to the band and Shirley stopped to make sure security could grab the letter to give to her. I respected her even more for that. She doesn’t know she probably made that girl’s life forever. Loved hearing “Special” live for the first time ever.
Oh my Feist. I saw her set back in April so there wasn’t nothing really special but for the simple fact that I got to see her play live in Canada, her native country. Mountain Man was still very much a highlight of the set but even more of a highlight than Feist’s amazingness was the crowd surfing palm tree that was a gift for Feist from someone in the crowd. She started playing “Graveyard” and stopped to take the palm tree and have it as a part of her set piece. It was worked very well actually. Her R&B rendition of “Limit to Your Love” was just as wonderful as ever. Easily the best set of the night ended with the crowd chanting “Sea Lion!” or “Snoop Lion” which is what I did.
Snoop Dogg closed the night (unfortunately no photos) after taking a good 45 mins to get his butt on stage for his set. Everyone was wondering if we were getting Snoop Lion or Snoop Dogg tonight. We got Snoop Dogg as he wore reggae but had his Dogg everywhere and smoking you know what. It was everything you would expect out of a Snoop Dogg set. Gin and Juice, what up!
Check out our Day Two photos below:
The Black Lips
Best Day of the Festival. I’m a little biased because Metric was closing out the Mountain Stage and that was exactly where I stayed the entire time. Having the River stage right next to it where no two bands were on at the same time, it was easy to watch River Stage bands on the screen and seeing the Mountain Stage bands live in front. The rain came down pretty hard on the last day but it added an element to the experience of a music festival. It was also the day people just got on stage. Taking it all in on day three.
Highlights: Chappo had added some new elements to their set. A smoking paper-made volcano and two lady dancers to add the weird/trippy appeal of their songs. Still loved hearing Bodies Coasting as much as I did when I first heard it live a few months ago.
Dan Mangan, the Canadian indie-folk singer-songwriter is like a cute huggable teddy bear. His set was wonderful. Major highlight was when he got the crowd to sing “Robots need love too, and they want to be loved by you…” over and over again. Never heard that song in my life and I was singing it like a pro! Some kid had a box over his heard with a drawn robot face on it and as Dan got off the stage to amp the crowd up and keep singing that catchy lyric, he let the kid come up with him and finish out the song with the robot box still on his head.
Common was another one who brought someone on stage. This time a lucky lady who probably could’ve died happy then and there as Common stage to her, hugged her, and kissed her. Talk about swoon-worthy.
Passion Pit came on earlier than their original set time but didn’t disappoint. Having seen them two time before during their Manners tour, the band hasn’t changed one bit in that they still play a wonderful live show. This time adding songs from their latest record Gossamer, everyone was in love with them and their catchy beats and danceable tunes. Definite favorites on their set was “Take a Walk” and let’s face it, “Sleepyhead” never gets old. Another cute moment was when lead singer Michael Angelakos needed to use his asthma inhaler. Oh, the things I notice…
My girl Santigold! Having covered her not too long ago, I knew everything that was coming but it really just added to the set for me. A shorter, more condensed version of her set but lacked nothing. Her dancers were still on point, her genuine smiles, wardrobe changes, and taking members of the crowd on stage to dance with her were everything that makes Santigold a must-see live act.
Metric closed out the Mountain Stage on the last day…and if anyone knows me, this was obviously the moment I had been waiting for for the entire festival. The crowd was filled with Metric fans and we all united in chanting “METRIC! METRIC! METRIC!” until they came out. We all lost it when we saw Jimmy, Josh, Joules, and Emily walk out. Cued to the instrumental of their Synthetica track “Clone”, they immediately went into their album opener and now set opener, “Artificial Nocturne” and straight into “Youth Without Youth” and “Speed the Collapse” then into their Live It Out opener, “Empty” which, featured Emily’s famous head shaking and crazy eyes. It was amazing to finally hear the Synthetica tracks live with a sweet light backdrop that added to how good this band is live. Palm Tree guy (see Feist) brought a Palm Tree for Emily Haines but unfortunately for him, his tree wasn’t accepted this time and it angered him. Crazy stuff.
An hour-long set goes by incredibly quick when you’re singing along to every song. One minute you’re freaking out because you’re singing “Lost Kitten” or “Help! I’m Alive” and the next thing you know Josh and Joules have disappeared and Jimmy has his electric guitar while Emily Haines is thanking the crowd in Montreal for being there with them at Osheaga. September 21 at the Strathmore is almost here and we’ll have more than a hour-long set.
Dear Osheaga and Montreal, I love you.
Check out our Day Three photos below:
For full set of photos from Osheaga 2012, check out our photo gallery here.