Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Osheaga: A Look Back

After weeks of anticipation, Osheaga finally happened. Although I didn't make it for the first two days of the festival, Gaston and I hit the road early this past Sunday to take advantage of the amazing line-up of Osheaga's last day.

When we first arrived to Parc Jean Drapeau, we ventured to the edges of the earth (or what seemed like it) and headed to the Green Stage area before all the shows got started. At this point in the day, it was not raining. However, the forecast was calling for rain and thunderstorms all day.

After checking out the beginning of Peter Peter on the Green Stage, we walked to the Tree Stage to see Doe Paoro. Her sound reminded me of Fiona Apple, which I definitely like. The song lyrics didn't really speak to me personally. Her style definitely belonged at Osheaga, but her music was a bit too preachy for my taste.

As per my pal Elly's recommendation, I made sure to check out the Airplane Boys at the Green Stage. These guys (who were actually chilling on the bleachers right next to us while Peter Peter was playing) sure knew how to bring the enthusiasm. When their set started, the rain began to pour. Despite the rain, the boys put on a great show to the small crowd gathered at the stage. People were dancing and having a great time. The guys really seemed to enjoy interacting with the crowd between songs. It's just too bad that they were playing so early in the day and that not more people got the chance to see their set.

At the same time, at the Tree Stage next door, Zola Jesus was playing. We walked over to catch a bit of their set. Unfortunately at that point, it was raining heavily and the band was forced to end their set early, only 10 minutes into it. The crowd was not pleased and neither was Zola Jesus. After pleading with the security guard, she and her band walked off stage. She did manage to sneak in a quick acapella verse before getting escorted off the stage. I felt really awful... I think it's sad that Zola Jesus' set may have been the only one cut short because of the rain.

Zola Jesus - Photo: Elodie Desrochers

Lucky enough, I was able to catch the last two songs from Dan Mangan. Since I will be seeing him live in September for the Ottawa Folk Festival, I wasn't completely heartbroken to have missed most if not all of his set. 

Up next, the most anticipated show of the day for yours truly: Passion Pit. I am a huge fan of their new album "Gossamer" and cannot stop listening to it or talking about it. Safe to say, I couldn't wait to hear the new material live. They kicked off their set with "Take a Walk" and the crowd was ready to take it all in. While they were playing, it was raining pretty hard. However, people were good sports and were dancing happily in the mud. Finally, as "I'll be Alright" starts playing, the rain stops and the sun comes out, right on cue. A beautiful moment for me at the festival... Angelakos' words ring so true! The group played some of the most popular songs, including "Moth's Wings", " the Reeling", "Sleephead" and "Little Secrets" from their album "Manners". They also played some new material, including the lovely "Constant Conversations", "Carried Away" and, much to my delight, "It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy", the song that I have been obsessing over for weeks now. In that moment, I could not have been happier. Overall, my favourite show at Osheaga!

Passion Pit  - Photo: Patrick Beaudry

After that amazing show, we ventured back to the other side of the park at the Green Stage to grab some food. Luckily, I was able to catch Austra on stage. They played "Lose it" and "the Choke", which are two songs that I really enjoy. There was a nice sized crowd gathered and there was a great vibe. Unfortunately, I was not able to stay for the whole set because I had to head back to the Mountain Stage.

Rushing to the Mountain stage was definitely worth it so I could check out Santigold. The rain was gone, the sun was beaming down and the dance party began! Santi White and her two bootilicious backup dancers put on a fantastic performance. During her song "Creator", she invited about twenty people from the crowd on stage to dance with her. It was high energy and so fun to watch! Her set list included "L.E.S. Artistes", "Lights Out", "Disparate Youth" and finished on a high note with "Big Mouth". Overall, an amazing dance party in the sun!

Santigold - Photo: Patrick Beaudry

After Santigold, I braved the crowd and rushed near the stage to secure a good spot for The Shins. Once they started, the dark clouds were fast approaching and it started to rain heavily during their first song. There was lightning in the skies and really strong winds but the show continued. I was becoming anxious that something bad was going to happen (also, I'm scared of thunderstorms). The crowd was soaked but remained enthusiastic.  When they started playing "Caring is Creepy", the crowd went nuts. The set list also included "Simple Song", "Phantom Limb", "Australia", "The Rifle's Spiral", "It's Only Life" and "New Slang". The weather eventually calmed down, and the show was good. However, there were a lot of idiots who were crowd surfing (crowd surfing at the Shins?!?) and they kept falling on their heads. It was distracting and stupid. Seriously, people! Despite this, I was thrilled that the group played the songs from the movie "Garden State".

As much as I tried rushing back to the Green Stage after The Shins, Bloc Party had already started their set. There was an insane crowd at the show. The energy was out of this world and tons of people were crowd surfing. They played some of their old hits, including "Banquet" and "Helicopter", as well as material for their new album coming out later this month. The band seemed thrilled to be performing, and so was the audience. My only complaint is the set was way too short.

Bloc Party - Photo: Tim Snow

My evening ended at the Green Stage with M83. Their set included lots of visual stimulation.There was a huge crowd gathered at the stage, which was surprising since the Black Keys were playing on the River Stage at the same time. However, seeing as there was a total of 40,000 people at the festival on Sunday, I guess no matter what stage you're at, there's going to be a ton of people. The group sounded fantastic and I was blown away by the female singer in the group. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of their set-up and their sound. However, after a long day, I decided to leave before the show ended in order to beat the crowd and get my butt on the subway.

My sneakers at the end of the night. Just a tad muddy...
Overall, my experience at Osheaga was great. My top 3 shows of day 3 were: 1) Passion Pit; 2) Bloc Party; and 3) Santigold. Unfortunately, there were some bands that I couldn't check out because scheduling conflicts (and my inability to be at more than one stage at once), including Metric and City and Colour. Although the crowd was a bit on the younger side, people in Montreal know how to appreciate good music and have a great time. I always enjoy myself when I go to shows in Montreal.

To be honest, it was a bit exhausting being outdoors and walking back and forth from stage to stage all day (especially in the mud). However, I feel blessed that I was able to see so many amazing shows in just one day. Despite the crazy weather and the mud, attending Osheaga was definitely worth it!

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