Diary Of An Osheaga Virgin – Part 2

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An Osheaga weekend has a certain adrenaline between shows. You wake up, prep for the day and continue the adventure. Day one was all about getting the lay of the land, what would day two be like?


First stop was Leisure Cruise from Brooklyn, a Synth Pop band that had me at hello. Formed by Dave Hodge on synth (Broken Social Scene, Bran Van 3000) and Leah Siegal on vocals (Firehorse), accompanied by Aaron Kinsley-Brooks on drums and Jay Shepard on guitar. This is the band I would choose to sing me to sleep as I enter my sleep pod before jetting off into space for that final Cruise to another planet the band dreams about. There is something about Leah’s voice that reminds me of a sultry version of M83 along with her mesmerizing stage presence. The band played songs from their debut self-titled album, including a song they dedicated to all mothers, but you probably would not wish to let your mother listen to it.


We did take a little trip to see Leikeli47 and as I went to the front to take a picture, I was almost thrown back by the sonic power of the bass! The lyrics were a little too spicy for me, but she had a good flow and some sick beats.


We were curious about the band Seoul from Montreal and their dream pop sounds. Having attended past Osheaga events, Dexter Garcia spoke about throwing their CDs onstage in 2011 for Broken Social Scene and putting up posters of their band in an effort to get attention. Dexter mentioned that the feeling of playing at the show was almost surreal. The bands sound would probably be best consumed under a starry sky, but the sunny day did not discourage fans from listening in. They played songs from their “I Become a Shade” which pictures the iconic Olympic Station on its cover. Considering the buzz they are getting in the media, I’m sure we will continue to hear great things from this band.


We returned to the Scène des Arbres to catch The OBGMs perform a high intensity set. At the crossroads of Death From Above 1979 and The Hives, but with a swagger all their own, this Toronto based band infused their music with passion and frenetic energy. Performing songs from their self-titled album such as “Beat Up Kidz”, “Torpedo”. The band joked that they were easy to find on Facebook, iTunes, Jdate, Ashely Madison, etc. At one point, Denz was named the “Black Moses” as he parted the seas of fans into the right and left side and proceeded to see which side would cheer the loudest. I think the mighty left side, which I was a part of, won.

As their name suggests, Ohh Baby Gimme Mores… I wanted more. If I wasn’t taking a flight early the next morning, I would have went to the Sunday after party. These guys are on my watch list now and they better not come to town without letting me know.


Time to hit the main stages to catch St. Vincent. I have another confession to make. I hear about how cool St. Vincent is, but I just haven’t been able to get into her music. Seeing her live however changed my mind. There she was perched atop a raised platform, commanding a strong presence. As I listen to her album once more, I can finally appreciate her experimental musings.


Milky Chance next took to the stage and got the party going. Montreal loved the songs from Sadnecessary like “Stunner”, “Down by the River” and of course “Flashed Junk Mind”. “Stolen Dance” was the song that got them discovered after being uploaded to YouTube and it racked up the views. Now here they are in front of a receptive crowd that is signing along to the groovy jams.


Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals next took the stage. I’ve seen Ben Harper perform at Theatre St-Denis, which was mesmerizing. Would he rise up to the challenge of this massive crowd? Not everyone has the stage presence to fill those boots, but Ben Harper proved without a doubt that his appeal is universal. Sitting on a chair playing a slide guitar, he sent out a blues infused vibe that entered your body and forced you to move slowly to the sounds of his instrument. Ben brought class to the event and filled us with joy.


Interpol took the stage with their sullen, Joy Division influenced sound. Out of all the bands that should be welcomed with rain, Interpol seems like the most appropriate with it’s dark melodic sound dripping into our ears. Undeterred by the approaching storm, the fans were played “Say Hello to the Angels” from Interpol’s legendary “Turn on the Bright Lights” album (2002). “Anyways” from “El Pintor” (an anagram of their name), was next followed by some of my favorite songs from the “Antics” album: “Narc”, “Evil”


The band ended with their beginnings, returning to their debut album for “PDA” which states: “Sleep tonight”…something the fans would do soon, but not quite yet.


Patrick Watson started with a set directly from the cover of “Love Songs For Robots” which featured a choir dressed in red to start us off with the song of the same name. Obviously, this was an intimate performance, enveloped in Patrick’s tender voice like a warm blanket, drying us after the rain. No stranger to Osheaga, having also played the first and second ever Osheaga in 2006/2007, Patrick diffused his musical talent to the sold out crowd.


Needing a bathroom break & refreshments before Weezer, we headed to the VIP area where we met Amy Adams and her sister who graciously let us take a quick snapshot to capture the moment. If you truly want to an enhanced Osheaga, consider the advantages of being an Evenko VIP guest. You never know who you might meet!


Weezer started us off with “My Name Is Jonas” taking us back to the self-titled 1994 album. Osheaga was officially a party zone as we heard classics that our kids are only discovering now! We jumped ahead to 2001 for “Hash Pipe” off the “Green Album” and everyone was thoroughly enjoying the Weezexperience. Off to the “Red Album” for “Troublemaker” then we travelled to “Island in the Sun” landing in “Beverly Hills”.


We had the miniweeze Mia Cuomo (Riviers Cuomo’s daughter) on keyboards for “Perfect Situation” and Leo Cuomo on air guitar duties for “Back to the Shack”. Unfazed by the immense crowds, the miniweeze duo played it cool and professional. Looking forward to hearing what becomes of them.

The last two songs were brought me back quite a few years as we heard “Undone – The Sweater Song” and finally “Buddy Holly” to finish us off.


I forgot how much I enjoyed listening to Weezer and this trip back in time was a highlight for me.


We quickly made our way to the other stage for Kendrick Lamar who was chosen to close the festivities. Straight out of Compton, Kendrick finished the festival by transforming the grounds into a club. Everyone was dancing and everyone wanted to see Kendrick. Right next to me was St. Vincent and we also saw Lionbabe and her crew paying close attention. We all danced wished the night would never end. I was hoping to catch Caribou but was simply having too much fun. Mos Def joined Kendrick for “Alright” a song that was chanted by the crowd as a request during the performance.


His lyrical bullets having been directed to every one in the crowd, they eventually had to leave as another Osheaga day drew to a close.


Thinking back about the weekend, I can’t help remember how I felt one year ago, not really understanding the import of such an event. Having experienced such an amazing two days, I can’t help but be transformed by this event. This isn’t a 3-day concert; this is a spectacular event that should not be missed. I don’t care anymore if I don’t like all the bands on the list. The amount of bands I fell in love with because of this event was unprecedented, and I only caught maybe one third of all the bands that played, if that! I remember waking on Sunday, tired from all the walking and activities, but deep in my inner self… I knew I could do one more day. Alas, my colleague continued the adventure and only hope she had as much fun as I did. Until next year, Osheaga….you Rock. Montreal Rocks!


Review – Randal Wark
Photos – Ashley MacPhee

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