It’s been a few years since I’ve been at Osheaga, but the festival is more or less as remembered, only better. Everything seems to run much smoother than before, the sound better, the opportunities to get water or food more numerous.
To beat the heat, water sprays from installations, fountains, from hoses, from water canons at the stage over the crowd (dislike). Still, there is a lot of dust. All day, the shows are just high energy fun from start to finish with high quality acts, both older and up and coming. Nothing disappoints. Various genres are well represented with a wide appeal to many tastes, especially the university and Millennial crowd. Rap, hip hop, pop-punk, pop, indie, electro… there’s a little bit of everything at this festival.
So the first day, tried to take in the expanse of the festival. People begin singing the minute the subway pulls into the Jean Drapeau metro, check. Huge lines to enter, check. Food trucks, check. Art displays, check. Hammocks, check. Interesting non-profit groups, check. Rides, check. Product offerings from Perrier, H&M, and more, check. OK, time for music.
Picking out the memorable acts after two days is like… uh… good thing I took notes. There were so many good acts.
OMG this guy is great. He put sdown tech-house with some retro stuff (Donna Summer) and some of his own remixed stuff (I Love It). Obviously, the big hit is his own I’m Losing It. People lose their minds. Hands in the air! Damn this is the party to be at. I wish I could spend all day at the EDM stage. The energy, the joy, the dance moves is just delicious. Infectious The thing is, I think that to really stay all day, I’d need drugs.
In the 1990s, female singers who sang about heartbreak and cramps got together and had their own festival, Lillith Fair. Mitski would be headlining. The indie-college-rock darling, oozes charisma and confidence as she dramatically enacts her own lyrics using a table and chair as props to serve in for recipients of her angst. Yes, she’s shaking that table like she’s throttling someone and the crowd is screaming for it. This is the sort of stuff that smart girls listen to when they first fall in love and again when they break up. Her beautiful voice and meaningful lyrics, combined with her earnest delivery make for a very watchable set.
Kurt Vile and the Violators
It almost seemed like it’s planned. From kind of indie-for-your-feminine-side came indie-for-your-unshaven-side. Kurt Vile and the Violators know how to gruge rock, and know how to do it well. I’m thinking something like Neil Young, maybe Tom Petty. Along those lines. There’s the occasional twang, the occasional nod to punk, and mostly just a good, good, good set. Kurt is low key but seems to like switching up instruments.
Watching thse guys from what seems like half the world away. The big headliners sound great and look great on the big screens, but I feel a little bit like Ground Control to Major Tom.
My overall sense of the day that Osheaga seems chilled out this year. Maybe it’s the legalized pot. People are smoking it, for sure. But everyone seems real mellow, real laid back.