Another long weekend passed, another epic Osheaga experience to reflect upon. As a Torontonian, I find myself constantly amazed at the truly awe-inspiring festivals that surround this city during the summer months. Based out of Montreal, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has been around since 2006 and this year it sold out in record time, bringing the attendees to this sweet blend of indie rock, pop, hip-hop, and folk over three days of magic. This is my run-down of the best acts, craziest parties, and newest discoveries along the way; this is Osheaga 2013. While you read, click on my player to listen to some music from Osheaga bands.
To kick off the first day of the festival, Capital Cities started at 1pm…I’m sorry, 1pm?! Since about 70% of attendees are “out-of-province”, this amazed me and also caused some serious disappointment as my Porter flight didn’t even touch Montreal soil until mid-morning before hotel check-ins, brunch, and the inevitable first drinks of the day. Capital Cities has an addictive indie pop sound that I look forward to seeing soon during a set time that’s a little bit more realistic.
First up for me was Wild Belle. With their token indie rock sound mixed with ska and reggae, this brother-sister combo demonstrated their true talent when they hit the stage with the popular single, “Keep You”. Their debut album, Isles, was released earlier this year and has already received much positive feedback that is well-deserved.
Next on the roster was the folk-infused band, The Head and the Heart. The name itself explains their music, finding such an intimate balance between the senses with thought-provoking lyrics and heartfelt melodies. Their new album, Let’s Be Still, is set to drop this October and is sure to make an impact on both your mind and your heart.
Ellie Goulding rocked the stage with her unique style and a new six-pack that I am, admittedly, very jealous of. The crowd went wild for all of her hits, and she brought the much-needed energy for that night when Vampire Weekend hit the stage. An always great crowd-pleaser, the four-piece rockers played until the sun went down and the Rich Aucoin crazies emerged. If you have ever seen Rich Aucoin live, you may understand the level of insanity that incurs during one of his performances. Captivating lights, zany visuals, and wild beats broke out while streamers flew and the indie rocker himself climbed though the crowd only to have everyone crouch down in silence and then burst into mayhem as he played through the night; one epic way to end Day One.
Day Two proved to be a bit of a struggle after the pandemonium of Day One, but Deap Vally made me get myself out of bed and front row for this performance I have been waiting almost one year to see. If you know me, you know I love rock. Not just any rock, but sweaty, dirty, bad ass rock n’ roll that existed in the 70s and is hard to find these days…until now. This duo from California is mesmerizing on stage and very cool chicks to meet as well. Mark my written words, you will definitely be seeing and hearing more from these girls in the years to come…the souls of rock n’ roll chicks everywhere depends on it.
The early evening was filled with Canadian acts as indie pop legend Stars hit the stage before fan favourites Tegan and Sara brought one stellar performance that had the entire crowd dancing. Alternative rockers Imagine Dragons demonstrated such talent and humility as they expressed their gratitude for playing to one of the largest crowds they have ever had thus far in their career. Lead singer Dan Reynolds rocked out with a large bass drum booming through the crowd that was impressive to say the least.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis put on a great show and were even joined by Tegan and Sara on stage for the poignant single, “Same Love”. Beck closed off Day Two at the Scene de la Riviere stage while French DJ group C2C gave a lively end to the day on the other side of the festival.
That night, the Osheaga Hotel was bumping with parties before moving onto Velvet, a chic bar spinning great music in a basement cave that reminds one of a secret corridor at Hogwarts or the dark dungeons from medieval times.
Coffee and Advil in hand, the third and final day began with Silversun Pickups rocking out in torrential downpour before a rainbow emerged over the crowd while they closed it off with “Lazy Eye” – amazing. Although I was looking forward to seeing Big Boi, I needed to see The Lumineers. After watching this band play to a small crowd at the Horseshoe only a year ago, I am still so amazed at the rapid amount of success they have gathered in such a short period of time. With their folk roots singing of heartache, love, and general happiness, it’s very easy to understand how they are so well received. Lead singer Wesley Schultz decided to play in the crowd, asking everyone to separate like Moses parting the Red Sea before landing right in front of me to play two songs. To say I was shocked, excited, and stunned is an understatement. Only one word to describe this performance: Wow.
Kendrick Lamar brought his epic rhymes before the crowds gathered for the one and only Mumford & Sons to close off the festival; and, man, what a way to end the weekend. Playing all of their amazing tunes, reaching out to the crowd, and working off of each other in such a unique and connected way really made this one performance that was truly spellbinding. As they finished with “The Cave”, a snow globe of confetti consumed the entire crowd as we said goodbye to another amazing Osheaga experience.
As I walked away from the weekend covered in streamers with a wave of satisfaction taking over, the large masses merging into the Metro began to sing “Hey Jude” altogether in such unison that it was truly indicative of Osheaga itself and how this is one festival that really brings music lovers together for three days of magic. Needless to say, I can’t way to see what Osheaga 2014 has to offer.