Mumford and Sons, Phoenix Wow the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

This past weekend, August 2-4, some 135,000 people (over the 3 days) flocked to Parc Jean Drapeau on the small Montreal island of Ile St Helene to take part in the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival. The largest of its kind in Canada, Osheaga has solidified its spot as THE festival to attend over the Canadian August long weekend, drawing fans from all across Canada, the US and Europe.

With 5 stages nestled throughout the woods of the park and the cityscape of Montreal as a backdrop, Osheaga is an outdoor concert experience you won’t find anywhere else!

Sharing its lineup with Lollapalooza 2013 in Chicago, Osheaga hosted some of the biggest names in music including Mumford and Sons, Beck, Phoenix, The Lumineers, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Vampire Weekend, The Cure and New Order.

 

Capital Cities kick it off with a bang!

The first band to hit the main stage on Friday afternoon was Capital Cities. What a kick off! Their fun and energetic set had people on their feet from the moment they started right till the end. Playing all their big tracks from their album In A Tidal Wave of Mystery (trumpet player and all!) it was a perfect way to get people in the mood to party!

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

But then the happy vibe quickly ended when Canadian hip-hop artist k-os took the stage 20 minutes late. They were obviously having sound issues because when k-os finally started his set he only played for 2 minutes then said “I can’t do this right now – I can’t hear myself”, and threw his all access pass into the crowd and walked off. Undoubtedly the crowd booed.

The next 3 artists on the main stages – Daughter, Ben Howard and Alt-J – were a bit too chill, especially after Capital Cities.  Two Door Cinema Club stepped out in class with lead singer Alex Trimble sporting a pompadour coif and belting out hits like “Something Good Can Work” and tunes from their latest album Beacons. The crowd was back on their feet and stayed that way through Ellie Goulding and Vampire Weekend.

The best show of the night went to Phoenix. Their catchy and fun melodies perfectly matched their high energy on stage, and that enthusiasm quickly spread like wild fire to the crowd. The epic moment came when lead singer Thomas Mars “fell” into the crowd during their song “1901” and paraded through while being kissed by all those that could reach him. It was awesome to watch.

Photo by Pat Beaudry

Photo by Pat Beaudry

Unfortunately for the Cure, Phoenix was a hard act to follow. Although they played all their hits (well almost, the organizers had to pull the plug on them at 11pm), they just couldn’t get the crowd to that same energy level.

Day 2 – k-os comes back!

I arrived a little later on Day 2 of the festival, missing Grouplove and The Heavy, but heard they played great sets. Canadian twins, Tegan and Sara received a warm welcome and played a nice mix of hits from their latest album Heartthrob and old fan favorites.

Miguel was due to play next at the main stages but cancelled last minute due to a vocal cord injury. Who could they find last minute to fill his spot? How about k-os? He’s gotta work to get paid, right?

Not impressed by his previous day antics, there were a lot of people who decided to skip his show, including myself.

Heading over to the Scene Verte stage in the woods, another set of twins were just getting ready to play, Kim and Kelley Deal of The Breeders. A large crowd of 30 and 40-somethings gathered to relive the mid-90s as the band played their epic album Last Splash from start to finish. Everyone sang along as they rocked through classics like “Cannonball” and “No Aloha”. Pure Awesomeness!

Back to the main stage, the Imagine Dragons performed one of the best shows of the festival.  Energetic, passionate and playful, lead singer Dan Reynolds gave it his all…and the crowd ate it up! Touring on just one album, Night Visions, they were the surprise show of the weekend.

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

Photo by: Pat Beaudry

After that, the crowd was pumped for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis who kept the party going with their party anthems “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us”. For their latest radio hit “Same Love”, they invited Tegan and Sara to sing the chorus, usually performed by Mary Lambert. They only managed to play 8 songs in their hour long set because Macklemore would ramble on before every song, telling stories about his grandmother who once worked at the Montreal General Hospital. It was sweet but annoying after the second story.

The Saturday night closer was Beck, whom the promoters had been trying to get to Montreal for 7 years. Coming out in a cowboy hat and looking like Bob Dylan in his younger days, Beck kicked it off with a funky rendition of “Devil’s Haircut”. Despite the rain, fans held on. A fave moment came when Rishi Dhir of Montreal band Elephant Stone played sitar during “Loser”. Although Beck played nothing from his albums Mutations nor Midnite Vultures, he played several covers including Korgis’ “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”.

Day 3 – Mumford and Sons draw record attendance

Day 3 of the festival was the first day to sell out, and most can assume it was because of Mumford and Sons. The day was quite cool and windy and there was a heavy downpour of rain in the afternoon (which can always ruin a buzz) so the earlier shows such as Little Green Cars, Silversun Pickups, Big Boi, The Lumineers, Father John Misty and Kendrick Lamar lacked luster, compared to the artists of the previous days…or maybe it was just me!

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As the sun (or what there was of it) started to fall, the crowd revved up for 80s/90s legends, New Order. With ¾ of the original band (minus Peter Hook) present, Bernard Sumner belted out classics such as “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “True Faith”, “Blue Monday” and “Temptation” to an adoring crowd…most of who weren’t even born in New Order’s heyday! Their hour and a quarter set closed with a trio of songs from their Joy Division days – “Atmosphere”, “Shadowplay” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – with pictures of singer Ian Curtis splashing on the screen behind them.

Last but not least, the final show of the festival, Mumford and Sons. With stringed lights strewed from the stage to the sound booth, the crowd was on their feet before they even took to the stage. The place was packed, there was barely anyone sitting down. There was no doubt this was a record attendance for Osheaga!

Marcus Mumford and his bandmates took to the stage in blue light and softly harmonized to the beginning of “Lovers’ Eyes”, until the peak of the song when the bright white lights came on and the energy on stage as well as in the crowd was explosive.  “Little Lion Man” followed, everyone in the crowd sang at the top of their lungs. From “I Will Wait” to “Lover of the Light” to an awesome Springsteen cover of “I’m on Fire” to the closer “The Cave”, Mumford and Sons demonstrated they were worthy of being top headliner at this festival.

It was a perfect way to cap off the amazing weekend and put the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in the top ranks of summer music festivals worldwide.

 

 

 

Montreal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival Announces Lineup

osheaga music festival lineup This week, Montreal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival announced its much-anticipated final lineup and daily schedule. The 3-day festival, which takes place August 2-4 at Parc Jean Drapeau will welcome The Cure, Beck and Mumford and Sons as this year’s headliners. Other heavy hitters include Phoenix, Frank Ocean, Vampire Weekend, New Order, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Alt-J.

With Montreal’s vibrant indie scene, Osheaga has always included home-grown talent to the roster, this year being Stars, Mac DeMarco, and We Are Wolves. Other notable Canucks who will be there include Tegan and Sara, Diamond Rings, Hollerado and k-os. Click on the poster to see the full lineup.

image04The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival began back in 2006 as a 2-day festival and has since grown to be the largest of its kind in Canada. It attracts music fans from across North America and Europe. Throughout the years it has featured some of the biggest names in music like Coldplay, The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, Eminem and Weezer.

The artists have come to love being part of the festival as well, having as much fun backstage as on stage. The catering of celebrity chef Chuck Hughes is always a huge hit!

Osheaga is truly a unique experience…Parc Jean Drapeau is located on the small island of Ile Ste-Hélène, adjacent to the island of Montreal, in the middle of the St-Lawrence river… getting there is easy, either by subway (called the metro), car, bus or bike.  The grounds of the park are filled with lush trees and little ravines…you wander through the woods to the various stages scattered throughout the park, checking out the art stations along the way. There is also a wide-open space where the 2 main stages are located and where the big name artists play…you can be a part of the action in the crowd or chillin’ up on the hill – listening to tunes, basking in the sun, taking in the beautiful Montreal cityscape in the background – either way there is no festival experience like it!

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Single day tickets or 3 day passes are available. If you can make it, click here to purchase passes and stay tuned as we update you from the festival!

 

Insiders Guide to Coachella 2013

Coachella 2013We are officially a week away from Coachella and the air is electric with excited anticipation and spastic preparations. This two-weekend festival (April 12-14 and April 19-21) is nestled in the heart of Palm Desert, California. And yes, temperatures typically net from sweaty to Ian Somerhalder smoldering. (Nothing a little deodorant, hand-sanitizer and breathable fabric can’t champion!)

Despite the unforgiving heat, this is one for the books. Coachella brings together a multitude of characters from strung-out celebrities to aristocratic hippies to desert vagabonds. There’s much to be heard and seen; like newly minted bands and the entire Urban Outfitters clothing line.

Insider tips for a good festival experience:

Shuttle it. The shuttle lines run across the scant desert streets and only cost $50-$80 for the weekend. Driving drunk is a rookie mistake. The shuttle wait times are minimal, and even if you decide to cuddle a cactus past pick-up time, you can always taxi back or enjoy the campground twilight festivities.

carpoolchellaCarpoolchella. In an effort to promote sustainability and such, GoldenVoice has a Carpoolchella giveaway with prizes like VIP tickets to Coachella for life. So, amass a group of festival goers, paint your Nissan with DayGlow pride, and be sure to write “CARPOOLCHELLA” for all to see.

10for1. This program lets thirsty but impoverished festival goers turn 10 empty water bottles into a free bottle of H20. Awesome.

Coachella The Do Lab The Do LaB. This attraction is a festival in and of itself. The Do LaB is an immersive music and art experience with a collection of underground artists streaming sick beats all day long. Water misters and hoses will cool you off while you rock your face off. This year’s lineup includes fan favorites like Gaslamp Killer, Lucent Dossier Experience, Goldrush and Kastle.

Plan it out. Coachella is a massive festival. Brush up on all the artists performing with the Coachella 2013 station and create a plan for who you want to see (but keep it flexible!). Pre-pick your meeting times and use landmarks like the Ferris Wheel for your meetup location. There’s nothing worse than missing an entire concert because you were searching for your friends the entire time. Also, reception is spotty, so timestamp your texts.

Who to see:

Headliners

Coachella 2013 lineup Coachella wouldn’t be Coachella without some monumental headline-age. This year mainstage monopolizers include Blur, The Stone Roses, Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Prepare your thirsty ears for some epic tunes and major surprises thanks to these well-respected artists. (It’s even been rumored that Daft Punk will make a long overdue appearance during Phoenix’s set). As these bands need no introduction, let’s delve into some of the lesser known performers.

New Music

Whether you’re a seasoned vet or a newbie whose proverbial musical balls have yet to drop, you should leave room on your agenda to see some bands you’ve never heard of. Aside from experiencing fourth degree sunburns, Coachella is about celebrating music–new and not-so.

C2C – Not so new but relatively unknown, this french turntable group is legit. The style is a mix of funk, disco and electro. The group are 4-time winners of the Disco Mix Club World Team DJ Championship. If you like Glitch Mob and Pretty Lights, you might fall in love with these frenchmen.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBzO3yxSfOU

Jamie XXJamie Smith, aka Jamie XX, is an English music producer , remix artist and also ⅓ of the band The XX. His melodic tracks will leave you completely spellbound. His handiwork includes remixes for artists like Glasser, Florence + the Machine and Nosaj Thing. If you like the XX and Jamie Woon, be sure to check out Jamie XX.

Janelle Monáe – If you’re lucky enough you might just fall under the seductive entrapment of Miss Janelle Monáe. An American R&B and soul sensation, Monáe gained critical acclaim at the 53rd Grammy Awards for her The ArchAndroid (Suite II and III) album. She also lent her vocal acuity to Fun.’s smash hit “We are Young.” If you like Erykah Badu or Prince, be sure to check her out.

 

The NeighbourhoodWe can’t wait to see the Neighbourhood grace the dusty desert stage at this year’s Coachella. Part indie, part urban, part pop, this native Californian band shows a lot of promise. Lead singer Jesse Rutherford’s voice is as smooth as velvet. Check out their single “Sweater Weather,” we dare you to not listen to it on repeat.

 

Aesop RockAn underground hip hop legend, Ian Matthias Bavitz aka Aesop Rock, is a lyrical beast on the mic. Do yourself a solid and further your musical education with the thoughtful articulation of Aesop Rock. Never one to be predictable, he even paired up with folk goddess Kimya Dawson for the charming and evocative single “Delicate Cycle.”

Portugal. The ManThis Alaskan-grown band has been around for a fortnight, but hasn’t really hit the mainstream as hard as they should. Best described as psychedelic-rock, this innovative band definitely deserves a listening to. Check out their hauntingly delicious single “All Your Light” from their most recent album In the Mountain In the Cloud. If you like MGMT or Minus the Bear you’ll probably dig this ensemble.

Make Slacker’s new Coachella 2013 station your soundtrack over the next week to get in the Coachella frame of mind. Featuring all the headliners and artists performing at the festival all in one place- consider it homework.