In what has got to be their earliest partial lineup announcement ever, or at least in a while, Osheaga has given us the headliners for its 15th Edition. It will be Foo Fighters on Friday, Cardi B on Saturday and Post Malone on Sunday.
The event is scheduled to take place July 30, 31 and August 1 in Parc Jean-Drapeau, so it might still be a bit of time before we get the full lineup. Those are usually released in March, anyways.
This early announcement, while sparse, is quite welcome. After a summer devoid of in-person festivals and a spring and fall devoid of live in-person shows of any kind, it’s good to know that what is arguably Montreal’s largest music festival will be roaring back next year, and with some huge names, no less.
It’s also a reminder that while Montreal is pretty much locked down now, there are some things on the horizon like a vaccine, a return to semi-normal and, by the end of the summer, Osheaga.
Yesterday, the Quebec Government requested suspending all public cultural and sporting events across the province until August 31st in order to keep fighting COVID-19 through social distancing. Following the request, Evenko announced that Osheaga, Île Soniq and the new country music festival LASSO won’t take place in Parc Jean-Drapeau late July and during August as originally planned.
“We are truly saddened by this situation, but everyone’s health must remain our top priority,” evenko President and CEO Jacques Aubé said in a press release. “It is too early to specifically announce the status of each of our events. We want to take the time to properly think about each of them and evaluate our options. Of course, we will do everything we can in order to minimize the impacts of this decision on all parties involved, by trying to postpone events, when possible.”
evenko now says it is in “solution mode” and will announce the fate of these events as soon as they work that out. They had already announced months ago, before COVID-19 was a concern, that their other festivals Heavy Montréal and 77 Montréal would be taking a break in 2020. Now we’re waiting to see if the other festivals will do the same or if they will be rescheduled, fully or in some form.
It is clear that even if we flatten the curve and social distancing restrictions are loosened and things get back to something that resembles normal, summer in Montreal will look and feel very different this year.
Osheaga was a great three days of hardy drinking and music and all I can say about this year’s festival is that there were so many pleasant surprises.
Let’s get right to it: Sunday night was the big night because of its two headliners: Tame Impala and Childish Gambino.
Tame Impala put on a near perfect show. The crowd was transfixed with the neat light beams coming from the stage that seemed to put everyone in a trance. They played most of their songs from their latest LP but did a few good oldies like Feels Like We Only Go Backwards and Elephant.
Childish Gambino then brought the crowd to complete ecstasy by hitting it home and closed out the night with some spectacular fireworks right after the crowd sang along to This is America.
Earlier in the day Metric got the crowd going. At times Hains started speaking what seemed to be poetry about getting shit done in your life.
Mac DeMarco was acting all goofy all day. It culminated in him doing a funny cover of Metallica’s enter Sandman.
Saturday night’s romp with chemical Brothers was one for the bucket list. These superstar DJs were definitely one of the highlights of my festival experience.
Teke:: Teke, Fisher and Vladamir Cauchmar to name drop a few, were as entertaining as ever. And Kurt VIle put on one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen him do.
Black Tiger Sex Magic was definitely the strangest act of the festival with helmets that light up and the oddest crowd mix of electronic dance music bros, pretty ladies and weirdos.
The coolest performance trophy goes to Reignwolf to for their use of the space to play their guitars and bass and the final meshing of the guitar and bass together to end the set.
Side note: As for the venue the park new old location was definitely noticed by people for being more spacious and with a lot more amenities.
The only one negative thing I noticed with the amount of dust I was at this year’s festival maybe it was caused by the amount of construction in Montreal or on site or perhaps it was the sand that was laid out at the base of the mountain but whatever reason a lot of people were covering their face as because of it. Hopefully next year it won’t be as dusty.
Day Two is now in the books, let’s try to recap the blur that just happened, shall we. Like with any festival you’re always experiencing something while missing out on something else. It’s the nature of events like this so someone else’s snapshot of the day might be completely different.
We at FTB went into the Saturday with a plan that we wouldn’t at any point make a plan. Just follow a friend to what they’re going to, ask a stranger for a suggestion or wander aimlessly. Here’s a few of the places our wanderings took us to.
We happened in on King Princess who a friend told us was the next big thing waiting to blow up. She didn’t disappoint, we’ll have to remember to check her out again.
The best hidden gem for the day (and strong candidate for highlight of the festival) were garage rockers Reignwolf who used every possible inch of the stage and every ounce of energy they had during their performance.
Frontman Jordan Cook seemd hell bent on climbing to the top of every structure he could find while playing his guitar solos. Amps were swaying, patch cords were being pulled tight around beams, security was having a panic attack. You know, standard rock and roll stuff.
He even jumped into the crowd for a little bit one on one time with everyone. All this while singing the chorus “Are you Satisfied?” Yes Jared, very much so.
The Chemical Brothers capped the day off with an immersive performance combining their music with a multimedia light and video show complete with confetti, giant robots and beach balls. Probably the most complete top to bottom performance we’ve ever seen and a masterclass on how to combine music with other medium.
Day one of Osheaga 2019 is now in the books and it set a pretty high bar for the rest of the weekend. Here’s a quick recap of some of the highlights, awards ceremony style.
The best improvement award goes to the venue itself. Last year renovations pushed Osheaga out of its normal spot on Île Sainte-Hélène and most, myself included found it to be a bit of a headache. This time around they’re back in their usual spot and it seems to have been very well received by most concertgoers.
The best stage presence award goes to Mitski who brought a table and chair on stage with her and played lovingly with them all set. What at first looked like a one or two song gimmick turned into a set long love affair with inanimate objects.
The coolest dude at the party award goes to Interpol’s Daniel Kessler who decided to attire himself in suit and shades. Despite temperatures soaring in the afternoon he kept the full coat and tie on the whole time! That’s some serious commitment to looking like a rockstar there Daniel.
The best surf rock goes to Teke Teke, because we love them and love surf rock and we wanted to give them a shout out.
The most touching moment award goes to the Lumineers for deciding to ignore standard procedure by reserving the encore for one of their big hits and instead chose to pay homage to Montreal legend Leonard Cohen by covering has classic Democracy.
Their low key version, dropping the classic drum beat and musical hook till the very end, made the song something a little bit Cohen and a little bit themselves while still capturing the important part of all Cohen songs, the lyrics. Maybe the crowd didn’t know all the words to this one but the overall message, which like most Cohen songs is still relevant today, was quite clear.
Photos by Jerry Gabriel (except featured image by Joseph McLean)
Osheaga continues through Sunday, tickets at Osheaga.com
Osheaga‘s back this weekend for 3 full days of music, art, food and fun in what is likely to be very hot sun. The lineup this year is as impressive as ever with some very big names sure to draw big crowds.
Here at FTB though we try not to focus on any of those big names. It just seems a little silly to preview what you already know.
Instead we’ll be talking about the hidden gems playing earlier in the day when you might be more inclined to wander aimlessly and get to know a new artist. Here’s who I’m most looking forward to getting to know, feel free to check out their full lineup and form your own opinion.
Stay hydrated my friends!
Disclaimer: This list is totally biased to what I’m into at the moment so don’t tell me I missed someone or it’s in some way wrong.
I’ve always had a soft spot for surf rock bands, especially when they list Takeshi Terauchi as their biggest influence. If you don’t know who he is I advise you to do a quick little google search.
It also doesn’t hurt that Teke::Teke are from good ol’Montreal and what would Osheaga be like without a little hometown bias in the preview.
Give them a listen and you’ll see they’ve got the old surf rock vibe but with some twists. There’s a lot of modern elements as well as some traditional Japanese instruments mixed in for good measure.
While I’m not super familiar with grandson, his track Apologize keeps showing up everywhere and I’m curious to get to know a little more about him. He’s a relatively young artist and starting to get chart-level success so this might be a “I remember when” situation where you get to catch someone before they really blow up.
I’ve always found it funny that “fashionably late” even applies to concerts in Montreal. If you’re like me and actually make it to places at the correct time you can check out Mallrat bright and early at the crack of 1 pm on Sunday.
I know, what an ungodly hour to be awake, and on a Sunday no less! But it will be well worth it. At just 20 years old, this Australia singer/rapper is already starting to make waves, best to get on the boat early.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
The elevator pitch for why St.Paul & The Broken Bones is on this list, the dude can sing like it’s nobody’s business. A whole lot of soul, a little bit of funk and a superb horn section have me curious to see what the live version of the tracks I’ve heard will sound like.
Ok so Mitski is definitely not a lesser known artist but she’s on in the afternoon so it might still count. Besides, this is my list and I’ll do what I want!
She’s the winner of the “Osheaga Artist I’ve Been Listening to Most Lately Award” and as the winner of this completely arbitrary prize she wins a spot on this list.
In this case I have no excuse, it’s super duper duper breaking the rules to put Mac DeMarco on the list. So he’ll go at the bottom and I won’t dwell on it for long but I had to since the “hipster Jimmy Buffet” is absolutely nuts live, don’t forget to go see him, who knows what craziness he’ll get up to.
You might even get to hear his tone deaf drummer sing classic rock songs like he did last summer at Lollapalooza. Like who does that?!?
While this year’s line-up at Osheaga is heavy on the electronic and hip hop acts, there are still plenty of bands for those of you who want to rock out. And personally, while it’s nice to have the mix, sometimes you just want to rock out.
Here my picks for the best indie rock performers playing Osheaga this year:
Indie pop sensations Real Estate have found themselves at a crossroads with their last LP, with longtime lead guitarist Matt Mondanile leaving the band, but still have the chops to take it all the way.
In Mind (2017), their fourth studio album and one recorded in the absence of Mondanile, shows the band is still very viable. With this album taking them in new directions, the future looks for Real Estate.
Sunday, August 4, 4:30pm @ National Bank Stage
I was supposed to avoid writing about the headliners, and let’s face it Mac Demarco is a headliner even if he isn’t the top bill. He has played shows in front of tens of thousands, spawned a resurgence in semi-psychedelic lo-fi sound (and many have tired to copy his trademark sound), and he smokes the king of all cigarettes, Viceroy.
His lo-fi sound started in Mile End but has now reached the four quadrants of the world. And boy has it been one long strange trip.
He’s known for being an oddball and goofing around on stage, so expect to see some serious antics! But his unique sound gives him the tight niche of laid back slacker rock that is just very compelling and very good.
Sunday, August 5, 5:15pm @ Bell Alt TV River Stage
The eclectic coming together of musicians from well-known Montreal bands (Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, Boogat, Pawa) created Japanese-influenced post-punk psychorockers Teke:: Teke.
If you yen for some traditional Japaneese surf rock infusion then this might be the band for you.
Friday, August 2 3:45 @ Perrier Tree Stage
Montreal Art rock band Braids will take the stage a year after winning the Juno for Best Alternative Rock group.
They got me with their 80s electronic beats over Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s vocals, which can be pretty haunting at times especially when infused with some pretty interesting vocal effects.
Sunday, August 4th, 1pm @ Honda Valley Stage
Kurt Vile and the Violators
I’ve been a fan of Kurt Vile ever since the first time I saw him play at Casa del Popolo. He was alone at the time playing his guitar with crazy pedal effects and his sweet nasal voice. Sufficed to say, I was pretty impressed.
His lo-fi sound and voice fills the psychedelia of his songs with wry, sardonic lyrics. His last album Lotta Sea Lice, co-written with Courtney Barnette, was truly inspiring and now he’ll be on stage with the Violators, a band that adds overall emphasis to his unique style.
Friday August 2, 8:15pm @ Honda Valley Stage
We Are Monroe
If you really need to rock out at Osheaga this year then check out Montreal’s own We Are Monroe. They are part classic rock with a new twist Their singer brings a great voice in the singing style of The Black Keys complimented by some terrific backup guitar.
Friday August 2, 2:20pm @ Perrier Tree Stage
Part metal, part rock, this band knows how to riff out an amazingly catchy song. They flew under the radar for a long time until Rolling Stone magazine called them one of the top 10 artists you need to know.
Now, with their new album out Hear Me Out (2019), they are set to go on tour with The Who later this year. Catch them while you can.
Saturday, August 3, 8:40pm @ Perier Stage
Osheaga runs Friday August 2nd to Sunday August 4th at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Tickets available through Osheaga.com
On Friday Osheaga returns to Parc Jean Drapeau for three days of music, art and general fun in the sun. As a result, we at FTB have been putting together our lists of performances we’re most looking forward to see.
Yesterday Stephanie Laughlin put out her list of top choices, today it’s my turn. It’s a mix of bands I already know, ones I want to get to know and ones I want you to get to know. The list is completely personal, totally biased and omits any act that I deem “too big” to preview.
You might have bought a ticket because of the headliners, but there’s a whole day of stuff to do before that so let’s get started.
A year removed from releasing their critically acclaimed 5th studio album A Black Mile To The Surface, the Atlanta Georgia indie rockers Manchester Orchestra are still out on tour in support and they’ll be hitting the Osheaga stage on Friday afternoon. Their music ranges from melancholic ballad to energetic rock with lyrics that feel very personal, sung ever so sweetly by frontman Andy Hull.
Their songs feel musically spacious yet lyrically intimate, designed to evoke a powerful and emotional response from their audience. What better excuse could you have for leaving work early and getting the jump on the weekend.
Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Besides the obvious fact that their name is just flat-out awesome Rainbow Kitten Surprise also brings some serious musical talent to the table. Their songs are driven by solid bass and drum grooves, their lyrics are witty and fun, their vocal harmonies are spot on. They’re the type of band that even if you don’t know them all that well, it won’t be hard to get into the show.
John Jacob Magistery
There’s no way I was going to miss the chance at a little hometown bias in the list, Montreal’s own John Jacob Magistery are on early Saturday. It’s well deserved that the local art/folk rock ensemble is getting a spot on a big stage so I feel it’s only right to show a little support.
If you’re unfamiliar with them here’s their bandcamp page plus their video for Carol, a track I could listen to all day every day.
Laura Pergolizzi (LP’s her stage name) has been around for a while, released four albums and written songs for some pretty big name acts. I’m not familiar with her work but after listening to a few tracks I was won over.
It’s apparent right away that she’s someone with a truly special vocal style. I’m now looking forward to checking her out live when she plays midway through Saturday afternoon.
I could go on and on but with about 100 acts in the festival you have to draw the line somewhere. Besides I’ve got some sunscreen to buy, they’re calling for blues skies all weekend.
* The 2018 edition of Osheaga runs August 3rd, 4th and 5th. Tickets available at osheaga.com
** Featured image of John Jacob Magisteray courtesy Oshgeaga/Evenko
Osheaga, the popular music festival which comes rolling into Montreal every August, is upon us yet again. Anyone who’s taken a gander at the schedule is likely pumped for all the major acts showing up; who wouldn’t want to see Blondie, Florence and the Machine, or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform?
And while I’ll definitely be checking out those shows, what I’m more interested in is discovering new bands I’ve never heard of before. Now they might be old news to you young hip folks, but here are five bands this 30-something is excited to hear for the first time:
Birds of Bellwoods
This folk-pop quartet from Toronto has been building solid buzz ever since their award-winning EP The Fifth. These actor/musicians apparently really bring their A-game to their stage performances.
One blogger praised the band by declaring “When all four members of Birds of Bellwoods step up to the mic, something amazing happens. Their voices play off each other and the audience is reminded of all the beauty in the world left to fight for.”
I’ll find out on Friday if they live up to the hype!
A quick YouTube search of this American singer/songwriter from Memphis shows that I’m definitely late to the game in discovering her music: Her video Appointments has a million views and her NPR Tiny Desk Concert performance has over two million.
Baker’s debut album Sprained Ankle in 2015 was on all sorts of year-end best lists from NPR Music to New York Magazine’s Vulture. From what I’ve listened to so far, she sounds like the perfect music to play when you’re relaxing at home and need a good cathartic cry.
Milk and Bone
One of the joys of living in Montreal is we have a plethora of musicians creating amazing art. One of the downfalls is there’s so much to take in sometimes you miss out on awesome bands like Milk and Bone! But thank goodness I get to finally see this dreamy electro pop duo which hails from my hometown.
This Australian indie-rocker has been making a name for herself ever since her 2016 single You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me, one of the catchiest songs about rejection ever released. Her music immediately makes me nostalgic for the pop-punk days of my youth, when I’d jump head first into a mosh pit at Foufones Electroniques. I may not hit the pit anymore (seriously, i’m in my 30s), but I will be there from the back, eagerly cheering her show on.
This all-female glam rock band from Toronto immediately caught my attention with their undeniable style. (I’m a sucker for a well put together 60s look). And taking a look at their music on YouTube showed that the band isn’t all style and no substance. Their tracks Money and T-Shirt are catchy rock songs I could easily see playing at my next party.
* The 2018 edition of Osheaga runs August 3rd, 4th and 5th. Tickets available at osheaga.com
** Featured image of The Beaches courtesy Osheaga/Evenko
In 2015, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced that the concert space on the western end of Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène is getting a redesign. The municipal and provincial government will invest a total of $73 million to expand the space used by promoter Evenko to stage events like Osheaga, Heavy Montréal and ÎleSoniq every summer.
While originally planned for Montreal’s 375th anniversary, it won’t be ready until next year. This means Osheaga will have a new home for the summer and Heavy Montréal will take a year off.
Capacity would increase from 45 000 to 65 000, though it will remain an open-air ampitheatre. At the time of the original announcement, the Mayor assured people that some of the budget would be spent on reducing the sound that made its way across the water to the South Shore where St-Lambert residents had been filing noise complaints for a few summers. This would presumably mean that Evenko could stage more concerts in the space.
This week, the environmental impact of the project went public. 1000 trees will have to be cut down to make it possible. While Coderre promised $18 million to plant new trees, Projet Montreal, the official opposition party in City Hall, is not happy to say the least.
Calling it a “chainsaw massacre” of Montreal’s shared greenspace to benefit one private promoter, they argued that a more environmentally-friendly version should have been considered. They also decried the lack of public consultation on the project.
With so many issues at play here, we decided to turn to you, our readers and not just make it a straight Yes or No question. In this poll, please let us know whether or not you support this project and why. If none of the answers fit what you think, you can add your own:
How do you feel about the current plan to build a new ampitheatre in Parc Jean-Drapeau?
Any plan of this scope needs public consultation. Period. 30%, 25 votes
25 votes - 30% of all votes
Bad idea through and through 30%, 25 votes
25 votes - 30% of all votes
I like the idea of a new ampitheatre but cutting down that many trees is unjustifiable 14%, 12 votes
12 votes - 14% of all votes
The area was in great need of repairs and a place able to welcome all the events happening an the Parc.*10%, 8 votes
8 votes - 10% of all votes
The old concert space was fine and doesn't need to change 8%, 7 votes
7 votes - 8% of all votes
We need a new ampitheatre and this is the right way to make it happen 6%, 5 votes
5 votes - 6% of all votes
I don't care (well, I care enough to answer the poll, but that's it) 1%, 1 vote
1 vote - 1% of all votes
I live in St-Lambert (or have friends who live there) and am fine with any plan that curbs the noise 0%, 0 votes
Podcast panelists Casey Rosner and Cem Ertekin discuss the World Social Forum happening in Montreal, controversies surrounding the 2016 Olympics and our News Roundup including the Bylaw P-6, the good and bad at Osheaga and more. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!
Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha
This week the very unsurprising theme will be what to go see at Osheaga. There’s this little known group from England you might have heard of called Radiohead that I think you might enjoy… who am kidding, this preview will talk about none of the well known acts you already know you’re going to see.
So have fun checking out the Chili Peppers, Death Cab for Cutie, The Lumineers, Cypress Hill, Bloc Party and Lana Del Ray (to name a few) but earlier in the day your plan might be a little less set, so here are some options.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
While this is hardly an obscure act, I couldn’t help myself but put Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats in this preview mostly because this is the group I most want to see, period. Nathaniel’s been around for quite a while now but only started to get “playing at Osheaga” type attention once he formed the Night Sweats.
This new project is a more upbeat, big band, electric guitar style of bluesy soul music than what Rateliff has done in the past and the results have been a positive reaction that has put the singer/songwriter on the mainstream map. Most people’s introduction to the Night Sweats is through the hit S.O.B but I encourage everyone to dig a little deeper in the band’s self titled debut album which is solid top to bottom with well crafted tunes.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats plays Scène Verte Sonnet, Sunday, July 31st, 6:25 PM.
For those heading down early on Friday be sure not to miss Elle King who’s so-oh-oh-oh-oh fun and upbeat blues/soul/rock/country style will be a great early day choice. We’re hoping Elle breaks out the banjo and tries to make hipsters ho-down.
Elle King plays Scène de la Montagne Molson Canadian, Friday, July 29th, 3:10 PM.
Also on Friday afternoon I would recommend checking out Icelandic four piece volcano rockers Kaleo who have got some of the most beautiful, summery tunes you’ll hear at this year’s fest. Having released their second album A/B earlier this year and getting their songs featured in TV shows and video games these guys are starting to reach a bigger audience and that should include you.
While bands have being playing in odd places to gain attention ever since the Beatles took to the rooftops, these guys took it to a new (and uniquely Icelandic) level. Here they are rockin’ the volcano.
Kaleo plays Scène de la Rivière Virgin Mobile, Friday, July 29th, 2:25 PM.
Official Pre-Party with Elephant Stone + Walrus + Pif Paf
If you’re looking to start your Osheaging (pronuonced oh/sheeeee/age/ ing) off early then head over to Divan Orange on Thursday night for the official Pre-Party which feature Indie rockers Elephant Stone. The local trio are set to release their new album in September and will be (hopefully) playing some of the new tracks.
Here’s their latest music video which, talk about current, features a bit of Pokemon Go.
Panelists Samantha Gold and Enzo Sabbagha discuss Jian Ghomeshi’s second trial, the latest bathroom laws in the US and the Montreal festival season at its start. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!
Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha