It was bright and hot at Osheaga on Friday. We were seated for the first half and the last quarter of the day. Picnic tables at the back of the field were really comfortable and we had great views of the stage and screens, though the music wasn’t really loud back there so we could hear people talking. Overall, it was pretty comfortable.
Blaise was my buddy for the festival. He’s pretty hardy and I find it pretty difficult to read him since he sits motionless and expressionless during some pretty pumping music. He tells me he enjoys the shows though, so I’m glad he’s with me. We get our fill of free Mike and Ike’s throughout the weekend too.
Osheaga is hosted on Jean Drapeau Island. You can take a taxi there or you can take the metro. Nearly everyone takes the metro. So that is 45,000 people getting to the music festival by train. The way in was fine, though a huge bottleneck to get through the bag/ticket check. The way out was crazy. We left 15 minutes before the end of Florence’s set and still took 30 minutes to get 100 m to the metro station. The trains were packed initially, but thinned out quite fast after our first change.
Musically the highlight was Florence + The Machine. She was incredibly dynamic and her voice is so powerful. Their songs got everyone moving and nearly the entire field was on their feet moving so it was definitely the best set of the day. Blaise was choked that a band he saw in Squamish – a dance music band called A Tribe Called Red was playing at the same time, so we went to see them “play” a couple of their songs (they are DJs).
There wasn’t an artist that we saw that didn’t have great music. Some classic rock, some blues, some pop, some dance grooves, some folk ballads, some folk country. Bahamas was an amazing guitarist. Iron and Wine sounded the best. Avett Brothers were a blast. Stars were familiar, but the male lead singer is very pretentious and horrible. We could sing along with Decemberists and Of Monsters and Men.
Catfish and the Battlement
Strand of Oaks
Iron and Wine with Ben Bridwell
Marina and the Diamonds
The Avett Brothers
Of Monsters and Men
A Tribe Called Red
Florence + The Machine
Day 2 we find ourselves on the grounds 45 minutes before the music starts so we check the arts area and get some free wifi, Coke, candy… We spend most of the day at the main stage escaping only when Young the Giant and Patrick Watson take the stage – not our thing. Water is an issue as the heat is pounding and the line ups are for 20 minutes. Our field neighbour buys Blaise a frozen treat – they live in Saskatchewan.
The highlights for me were definitely Interpol and Weezer. Interpol played a bunch of music that I listened to 10 years ago and Weezer focused on their hits from the 90s that got the crowd on their feet and singing along. Weezer also had a couple of their kids join them on stage.
It pounds rain during Interpol’s set. Amber packed some rain gear for us so we were fine. Others…
We skipped Kendrick Lamar and Caribou, the headliners, in order to get home at a decent hour. We also beat the crowds to the metro. I let Blaise lead the way in the metro too. I walked about 30 feet behind him. He liked that.
The Rural Alberta Advantage
Young the Giant
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
The third day we arrived a couple hours later after beginning the day visiting some friends at Atwater Market. I really only had three bands on my list for the day so everything else was gravy. I only caught a couple songs by Future Islands, but they were awsome! Charlie XCX was less than savoury. I was keen on seeing First Aid Kit, but so were a ton of other people which made their small stage appearance a little tough to access, but the crowd sang along and it thinned out eventually so we had a decent view.
Philip Selway, drummer/percussionist for Radiohead, has put out a couple solo albums. There were just a handful of people at his show on the furthest side stage making it the most accessible show of the festival for us. His music was full of beauty and attention and unique sounds making it one of the best reasons for attending Osheaga.
I had never listened to Alt-J (which if you type into a Mac keyboard gets you ∆), but I guess lots of people have. Their light show was terrific and their music was ethereal and rhythmic and harmonic. It was a great relaxing way to lead into The Black Keys.
The Black Keys dominated. Pure, passionate rock and roll. It was good. We left 30 minutes before the end of their set to make it to the train (it took us only 10 minutes from the Festival to being seated on the train). Blaise was disappointed that we missed them playing Fever. I could hear it as we stood in line for the Metro. We spoke with people who spent 2 hours getting to the train after Florence and the Machine two nights ago.
Father John Misty
First Aid Kit
The Black Keys