osheaga 2013 / review

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this year was the first edition of montreal’s osheaga festival musique et arts that didn’t completely floor me with its line up. unlike last year (and many years previously) where i would have literally sold a couple organs to attend the festival. this year’s line up – headlined by mumford & sons, the cure, and beck – was a little underwhelming. i spent a long time debating whether or not to go solely for the experience, since there was only a handful of artists i was dying to see. in the end, i missed my opportunity to snag a ticket and ended up spending a solid week moaning about (even though i didn’t really care in the first place) (because i am 5, naturally). i should say, however, that when my very amazing and generous friend odane could no longer make the trip down to montreal, and offered to sell me his 3 day pass AND have it delivered to me, well, i took that as FATE (mostly because i had to in order to justify shelling out $250 on a music festival i hadn’t cared enough to buy my own ticket to). so, my road to osheaga began as such – i left early in a complete panic, ran for the bus (died of collapsed lung on the way) and hurried off to parc jean drapeau. my osheaga ended with me dead in a corner somewhere, seriously, that’s how i tired i was. i’m happy to say it was all completely worth it, and i met some amazing people, heard some phenomenal music, and discovered some great new artists along the way. here are my top moments from osheaga 2013. onward!



lianne was one of the artists i’d been most looking forward to seeing, and she did not disappoint. armed with a guitar, a fierce pair of sunnies (that she later whipped off and threw to the ground in a moment of intense musical passion), and that beautiful earthen voice, lianne stunned, opening with my favourite tune, no room for doubt. the crowd was small at the green stage, but the ambiance was intimate and warm. a mellow start to the weekend.



i was wary of how rone would perform. my good friend valerie – a biiiig rone fan, and actually the one that introduced me to his music – attended his show at the SAT the night before and was crestfallen when he played a harsh breakbeat set. you know how i feel about breakbeats. luckily for us, rone’s live set at osheaga was exactly what i was hoping for. light, twinkling melodic overtones atop minimal beats, a good saturday afternoon meal that was not too heavy but was enough to get us dancing.



this girl! first off, jessie ware was such a weirdo, which is always a fantastic thing in a performer. she brought so much energy to the stage – constantly talking to the audience, dancing with the camera man, running around giving high fives, generally being the best human ever. and that voice. i’m not super familiar with her music, but her performance was really something special. “wildest moment” was a personal favourite, and one of those goosebumps-inducing numbers that had everyone singing along. wildest moment, indeed.


another performance that had personality to spare, icona pop‘s set at the green stage was so high energy, we were dancing and doing shots of whiskey the whole time. when they played “i love it,” it had just started to rain, and by the time the chorus was in full swing, it was pouring and the lyircs “i don’t care, i love it, i love it” became an anthem for everyone that braved the rain and mud. they made a nice little speech about home being where ever your loved ones are that was really touching, too. all around epic.


this was definitely one of my top sets of the weekend. i am a pretty die hard bonobo fan. die hard. i was worried that as he wasn’t playing live, we wouldn’t get to hear many of his own productions but he seamlessly wove some goodies from black sands, and a few from the north borders into more upbeat, danceable numbers. although we had to suffer through an overtime set from baauer (probably the darkest 15 minutes of my weekend, honestly, i have not heard worse music in my entire life), it was worth the wait. all hail the king.


by the time beck took the stage on saturday night, i was more than a little drunk, and it’s safe to say that my friends and i scared more than a few people in the vicinity with our psychotic dancing and singing (screaming) along. “loser” was a complete trip. beck actually took me by surprise, as i wasn’t expecting to be so enthralled by his performance, but it was a throwback and i loved every second.



bit shameful to say, but i had no idea who rudimental was before hearing them bring down the proverbial fucking house at osheaga. i’ve never seen energy like that in a performance, and it made it all the better that they were obviously having the time of their lives on stage. the trumpet was out of control. they played with two female vocalists whose voices were absolutely unreal. needless to say, they made a fan out of me yet.


disclosure seemed to be the act everyone was waiting to see. i like disclosure, but i don’t have as much of a boner for them as the rest of montreal seems to. even though it kind of bothers me that everyone is so up on their dicks, they were great all things considered. the performance had a lot of heart, and their live rendition of “you and me” was a clear winner. although i missed it, apparently jessie ware came out to perform “running,” which i heard was equally incredible. they played again on sunday night at velvet to a full house, which, again, got rave reviews.


okay. listen. i got a lot of heat for skipping hot chip to see mumford & sons, and if it had been any other weekend, i would have been dancing up a storm at the piknic stage. but my best friends from university came down for the weekend especially to include mumford in their line up, so i tagged along willingly. there’s a little part of me (probably the same part of me that wept at the dixie chicks at ottawa bluesfest earlier this summer) that loves this kind of music, because somehow it always feels like home. i only knew two songs (little lion man, and the cave, which they closed with) but the whole experience – being surrounded by my closest friends, in a crowd of people that were so in love with each other and the music, singing along, and dancing to those guitar riffs really had me by the heart. the confetti explosions at the end of the closing set at osheaga was the perfect high note with which to finish the weekend.


One thought on “osheaga 2013 / review

  1. I looked at the line-up this year and thought, “meh…” It seemed the headliners were geared towards people like, well, like me! I would have been happy to see New Order and The Cure but 20 years ago. But it’s such a good festival overall. Glad you pulled some joy out of it. I went for the first time two years ago with my then-17-year-old daughter on the Saturday: Mountain Goats, Ratatat, Death from Above, Hey Rosetta performing acoustic on the grass, and a lifelong fulfillment of seeing Elvis Costello.

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