Osheaga 2010

by on August 3, 2010

Posted in: Uncategorized

The Osheaga Music Festival took place in Montreal last weekend over two beautiful weekend days. I was lucky enough to attend the first (and better) day and was busy from morning til night running around from stage to stage, show to show. Here’s a quick breakdown of the day.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros: Full stage of bearded men and one adorable Jade as usual. Their eclectic live show thrives on the crowd buying into their happy-hippy aura which was hard, and semi-unsuccessful on the massive stage they were put on. Their music was spot on great as usual but as a fan I would have rather seen them on the smaller stage.

Jimmy Cliff: Old Jamaican reggae legend struggled to get a young crowd energized but eventually his dancers got people’s hands in the air. He seemed to be having a blast which was cool to see from a veteran performer, but he didn’t play “The Harder They Come” which would have made the show for me.

K’Naan: Only saw him from a far but the crowd that was close seemed to be loving him. He had a live backing band which is always cool for a hip hop show. His live performance of “Waving Flag” was pretty impressive given its post World Cup hype.

Stars: They are old, way older than I expected, which threw me off for the first portion of the show. Right off the bat they had some serious technical issues that they never recovered from. Frontman Torquill Campbell was furious at the sound crew and when he wasn’t singing, he was freaking out on stage throwing water bottles and mic stands at the tech guys. This was very distracting from the professional and solid performance being put on by the rest of the band, particularly guitarist Amy Millan.

Jamie Lidell: I only caught the end of the brit-psych-rocker’s weird set but I was impressed and wish I saw more, he seemed to have total control of the crowd and his sound.

Beach House: After taking significantly too long to soundcheck, they showed why with their perfectly mellowed out performance full of reverb, pedals, and angst. Singer/keyboardist Victoria LeGrand is a great performer, using her crazy mane of hair to her advantage to play up both the stoicism and the intensity of certain tracks.

The National: Everyone said I had to see them live to understand them. I get it. Vocalist Matt Berninger is one of the best live performers I’ve ever seen, it’s amazing to imagine him getting that into it every night.

Arcade Fire: The headliners lived up to their hype, trotting out a full stage of their multi-instrumentalist line up for a hour and a half long set of songs new and old. Wyn Butler and Regine Chassagne have great stage presence and chemistry and the entire band was incredibly humble and greatful. Every song they played rocked, all the way through their finale, “Wake Up” which got a packed house of tired festival goers to dance and chant all the way to the subway home.

Great job all around by the people behind Osheaga from the artists to the little details of the venue. Festivals like this have the possibility of being uncomfortable events and organizational nightmares and Montreal really came through big in every way here.