It’s that time of the year again. The 2016 edition of Osheaga welcomes plenty of big hitters, from mainstream radio mainstays to alternative electronic acts. While it may not be as big as last year’s, we can’t have a tenth anniversary every year either. In fact, Friday still features folk rock darlings, The Lumineers, a welcome home to Wolf Parade, and early aughts indie rockers Bloc Party. Plus, an hour and a half of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Before all that, there are still a huge number of acts to catch. Here are just some picks.
Elephant Stone (Scène de la vallée, 1:35-2:05)
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Montreal band Elephant Stone are known for their dancy psychedelic rock shows. It’s hard not to notice Rishi Dhir and co. when one of their instruments is a sitar. With their next album due in late November, the band branch out with a poppier sound—synthy grooves included, but social commentary still playing a central part. Check them out if you like your psychedelic rock with a twist.
Kaleo (Scène de la rivière Virgin Mobile, 2:25-3:10)
Whatever Iceland is putting in its water, it’s good. For such a small population, there are so many good bands. It’ll be hard not to like Kaleo with their nifty harmonies and economic melodies. Lead vocalist Jökull Júlíusson’s voice injects this rock outfit with a soulful timbre. Listen out too for some bluesy stomping guitar rhythms.
Elle King (Scène de la montagne Molson Canadian, 3:10-3:55)
We live in an era where country has taken over the pop charts after being infused with electronics. I personally haven’t managed to understand completelythe joy that millions of music listeners derive from this sound. However, I’m intrigued by Elle King as I love her soul, blues, and country sound. It may straddle too close to Katy Perry territory at times with its bombastic synth drops and hook of a chorus, but it’s undeniable that King is as talented a songwriter as a singer. If I had a wildcard show, this would be it.
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Dear Rouge (Scène des arbres SiriusXM, 4:10-4:55)
I’ve a soft spot for husband/wife duos. Of course, that’s not the only thing that would bring me to this show. Vancouver’s Dear Rouge is a electro-rock duo, with punchy drums, shimmering synths and the soaring vocals of Danielle McTaggart. Despite the hints of the ’80s that I pick up, the band never strays into earworm pop territory, keeping things fresh and interesting from song to song.
White Lung (Scène des Arbres SiriusXM, 5:40-6:25)
No headliner warm-up is complete without some punk. While their latest album, Paradise, may have a few more pop anthem elements, their songs are anything but mellow. Frontwoman Mish Barber-Way sings and screams with conviction tackling societal issues that are close to her heart such as feminism. Suitably, the drums and guitars can hit hard and fast. Get angry, get pumped up, get exhilarated.
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For information about Osheaga and its lineup, click HERE.