Day 2 of Osheaga was promising to be a hot one…in terms of temperature and sets.
MONOWHALES started the day with dynamite, exploding on stage with raw energy as they kicked off the day with Take It Back.
With the stage presence of a band with seemingly multiple decades under their belt, Sally Shaar, Zach Zarnardo (guitar) & Jordan Circosta (drums) delivered a performance that merited the big stage.
When the band recently toured with Mother Mother, they hit a tipping point and got exposed to a new army of fans.
<<Stay tuned for our interview with the band>>
The audience sang along to RWLYD (Really Wanna Let You Down), Out With The Old, CTRL^^^, just to name a few.
There was a very touching moment when Sally shared that this performance almost didn’t happen, but was a dream come true, having attended Osheaga as a fan for so many years.
Sally’s mental state was to finish the recording of StuckintheMiddle and give up on life.
As she shared in our interview, she had to sing “I’m stuck in the middle….Chained up like an animal” over and over again, with increasing intensity…a Catharsis.
That song and the support of her bandmates saved her life, and the reality of that moment hit hard.
Let’s just say that Sally wasn’t the only one with teary eyes.
For the finale, Sally sang a cover of NIN The Hand that Feeds, singing surrounded by the crowd, ending on her knees in the gravel, as she yelled: “Will you stay down on your knees?”
Her knees were bloodied when she showed up for the interview.
Here was a band that gave us blood, sweat and tears. What an opening!
The Valley Stage welcomed Tai Verdes, who instantly got the crowd dancing.
Interestingly, I found a Reddit post for people trying to make the hard choice between Tove Lo and Tai Verdes, performing in the same time slot.
User lordevonkok, chose Tove Lo but acknowledged Tai “is not going anywhere anytime soon. Tai’s energy is out of this world.” Well said, from the little I saw.
Because of a few changes, these fans got to see both.
They also got to see Tai up close as he sang part of A-O-K in the crowd.
Tove Lo, who I assumed had a horse parked backstage, did what she does best…entertain a crowd.
The crowd seems to love the hits like Cool Girl, Talking Body, and especially Habits (Stay High).
I can’t share more as I was having lunch and could only really see the crowd’s reactions. I will say that food trucks at a festival are a welcome treat.
Tove Lo, on the other hand, left the crowd hungry for more.
Men I Trust
I think a name change to Band I Trust would work because they always attract a large crowd and overdeliver.
Having performed back in April, 3 nights in a row at Corona Theatre, they still managed to gather a large crowd.
It’s always good to hear Show Me How live and just chill under the sun on a beautiful day.
Bleachers make Osheaga 2022 feel like Live Aid in 1985.
Jack enters quietly and serenades us with a soft piano ballad. He will not leave so quietly.
One of my favourite elements of Bleachers is the soulful use of horns. It’s the perfect compliment to the raw energy and heart in the DNA of the songs.
Jack gazes out at the sea of people as if they are a desert wasteland he wills into an oasis.
Half a song in and the jackets are off. On his shirt is a sunflower, appropriate imagery for a catalogue of songs exploring the big themes of self-realization and the thirst for improvement.
The third song in, and Jack stops the song to correct a technical issue. He wisely uses the time for crowd work and it establishes his familiar engagement tone. He needs this song to go off, and go off it does. Two saxophones duel (hopefully) not for the last time.
The saxophone rips out the glorious eternal riff of “I Miss Those Days” and the crowd is blissed out. Wide smiles everywhere you look.
As a band, they are loose, not sloppy, but willing to dance around the edges of the tempos and ready to drop out and drop back into a song whenever Jack pleases.
They all seem to have their own take on ‘homelessness chic’. Dexys midnight runners overalls here, thrift store vest there. Denim on everyone. This band is loose with everything.
I keep saying loose. Maybe I should say good. They are just good with everything. Clearly better than good as musicians, they all seem incredibly comfortable.
They take their lead from Jack. He – actually for a moment, he seems quite mad… shoot I’m missing what looks like an incredible story.
Cut to “this is the last stop on this tour we’re leaving blood on this stage!”
Bleachers have picked up steam! All the girls are on their boyfriends’ shoulders and I don’t know what came first, the shoulder girls or the steaming Bleachers. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation.
2 drummer bands are a thing I’m coming to love. It never doesn’t work. Plus it gives Jack two people to look over his shoulder at.
This set was really fun. I honestly feel like I was transported to Live Aid of something. Bleachers are offering a different feeling to all the other acts around right now and their audience connection is unique too. Shooting a Sax line at the audience and then calling for us to sing it back? Heck yes, right back atcha!
“I Wanna Get Better” blasts us in the face and I’m looking to my left and my right and I think we’re all getting better. Like life is coming at us and we’re damned and determined to get through it.
I don’t mistake Bleachers looseness for not caring. These folks care big. They know the last thing we need is duelling saxes.
So that’s the last thing we get.
8 out of 10, will see again, remain a fan. Might buy some merch…
Arkells plant their flag on Osheaga’s Riviere catwalk.
This band’s camaraderie is infectious. The Arkells seem to genuinely like each other, and they seem to like us! Leader Max Kerman notes in rule #4 of his four rules of a great show that; “it’s been 1258 days since Arkells played Montreal, and that is way too long” – they are making up for the lost time by having as much fun as possible.
Max is in the crowd, and the band is on the catwalk. They are working this thing like Right Said Fred.
They pound through ‘Relentless’, a personal favourite of mine. I can’t help feeling good right now. The band sounds huge, and the music is so positive.
We are all singing along and Max lets us know he sees it during the positively beautiful acoustic of ‘Quitting You’. A resplendent but understated saxophone solo and pretty piano round out this number. I note-to-self, enjoy ‘Quitting You’ more often in my evening routine.
Oops, the band is frozen… the Arkells are rebooting. What a terrible thing to happen!!! Oh no, it’s fine, it was a trick. Like a glitch in the matrix, everyone froze in place while a line note on the piano rung out for more than 30 seconds. I mean, I didn’t time it but I would say 35 seconds confidently. And in the end, the payoff looked like it was extremely fun for the band and crowd alike.
The Arkells have quite the reputation as a live act, though and I’m honestly a little underwhelmed at times. The energy from the band is hit or miss and sometimes feels forced.
Abba cover? Yes, please! More covers? Please and Thanks!
The Arkells are coming back to Montreal, and they have played like it. Most of the songs seemed simply performed. Some songs seemed alive in their own moment and thrilling. I’m of two minds on this particular show.
The last time I saw Mitski live, was at Casa Del Popolo, back in 2015. Back then, it was guitar heavy, and Mitski took care of the merch booth herself.
Over the last 7 years, the raw honesty has stayed, but the sounds are more pop, without losing that edge.
Wearing a silky sky blue outfit, Mitski would float across the scene making the performance enhanced for dramatic effect.
Love Me More started us off, from the latest release, and the set ended with A Pearl. Of course, the highly popular Washing Machine Heart.
The setlist was split almost equally between bury me at makeout creek (6 songs), Be the Cowboy (5 songs), Laurel Hell (5 songs), with a duo from Puberty 2.
If we could bring a criminal charge to the performance, it would be for stealing our hearts.
Defacto dinner party darlings prove to be so much more!
Mitski’s performance art was a really great lead-in to an act like Khruangbin.
They walk on stage, the epitome of cool. The perfect music to put on when company comes over. But as they step down their platform, I wonder, does Khruangbin ever rock? It’s cool either way.
Will the black backdrop ever expose to colour? Also not necessary; I do feel that if it does, however, that will be pretty cool. And in 80s 8bit inverted tones, it does. It’s pretty cool, indeed. I can’t wait to see what else the visuals do to complement the most velvety psych sounds on the audio market today.
“So We Won’t Forget” is a slow-burn banger. Good in any setting but great in Osheaga on a Saturday night in 2022. We needed this, it’s like we forgot what this warm chill was like.
I rescued an inflatable orca, and released it back into the crowd. Maybe I am special. Maybe we’re all special. Khruangbin is making us feel special or at least we’re with special people in a special place.
The next song slowly drops tempo into an absolute funk monster. Laura Lee struts the catwalk and struts back, and she struts it again. Mark Speer in tow this time with his funky guitar, sauntering after her. They drop low, he slows and tunes his low E string to I think a B, he goes low, they rise, he tunes back up…
My mind can’t handle the mess he’d be in if it’s an alternate tuning; I guess that’s a concern for the theory people.
Drummer, Donald “DJ” Johnson Jr., has played the same pattern literally all night and it’s got us in a trance. It was rumoured he did a fill early on, but I couldn’t corroborate that for you, my dear reader.
What has happened to me during this process? Usually, it takes a full set to be transformed, but tonight and this band seemed to have done it just by arriving.
How much more can I change?
I changed like “DJ”, he sped up and filled wickedly. His restraint and control are remarkable. His unique desert jazz style in his clothes matches his playing.
Well, my earlier question of ‘can they rock?’ is answered with a blistering yet smooth take on ‘Apache’!
‘Let’s Dance!’ Literally! A really nice old sound to hear right at this moment. The crowd is here for Khraungbin they don’t require vocals much or top 40, but they get it, ‘Benny and The Jets!’ Benny! Benny! Now I’m starting to worry I’m not going to be able to pick out all these tasty jams! It’s not a math test, it’s a rock show. I’ll let myself relax and feel the flow. ‘True’ and ‘Set Adrift on Memory Bliss’! And ‘Wicked Games’! And ‘Sukiyaki’!
Back to the hits! ‘You and I’ is so great that we feel like we really could live forever. The disco ball is finally getting the use it deserves.
And just like that, it’s over. How much can I change in the course of a set? Turns out a lot.
Khruangbin is phenomenal, in a festival week of 10 out of 10’s, this was a 12.
The great things about Osheaga are the happy accidents.
I went to the Tree Stage to catch 100 gecs, for whom I only know one song Doritos & Fritos.
I ended up catching the tail end of Geoffroy, which ended with a great burst of drumming energy, thinking I’m watching 100 gecs…and wondering where the quirkiness was.
I made it to the correct stage only to hear…”Thank You!” as they left the stage wearing the traffic cone hat and magician capes.
Well…the best I can do for a review is eavesdrop on those leaving who said that was insane, so good, amazing.
As penance for my error, I will eat Doritos while wearing a traffic cone on my head.
Polo & Pan
Polo & Pan can really get a crowd dancing, and that is what they did for their set.
Their song Feel Good described the vibe from the crowd.
I always enjoy Ani Kuni for the upbeat aura, which was followed by the more sombre Requiem has one of the best videos.
While Polo & Pan could have easily performed for the EDM crowd at the Island Stage, their sound reaches across to many other genres. Add to the fact that they can always pull in a large crowd, they were right at home on the Valley Stage.
With a 4-piece ensemble, Caribou started with New Jade and washed over the crowd a chill blanket of sound, after such a hot day.
I could not stay for very long, but they did end with the widely popular Can’t Do Without You.
Future did a fine job of making everyone forget that A$AP Rocky was supposed to be on that stage.
Smoke, pyrotechnics, lights and chanting used to only be in the realm of rock shows, but Hip-Hop has all the pomp and circumstance to merit such a display.
Future started with Life Is Good, and had the crowd in a frenzy.
They played mostly covers and songs from I NEVER LIKED YOU.
The ones who seemed to have the most fun were those dancing in the fountain, like a giant bidet washing away the crap we have dealt with for the last few years.
I was pacing myself and decided to head out very early, as this was not really my jam.
Day two started and ended with a bang.
From MONOWHALES to Future, Saturday had something for everyone.
Mitski’s performance was filled with dramatic gestures that enhanced the music.
Many were exposed to Khruangbin. The only thing harder than pronouncing their name is trying not to dance when they play their Psychedelic Surf Rock.
It was a great day, but it seemed the best was yet to come.
Video: Various audience member contributions…thanks!
Writer: Randal Wark (Intro, MONOWHALES, Tai Verdes, Tove Lo, Mitski, Men I Trust, Geoffroy, 100 gecs, Polo & Pan, Caribou, Future, Final Thoughts)
Writer: Mike Rogers (Bleachers, Arkells, Khruangbin)
Photos: Steve Gerrard, Susan Moss, Tim Snow, Simon White & Patrick BeaudryShare this :