Osheaga 2014 Wrap-Up

Post festival depression in full force, I sit here with a heavy heart and damaged eardrums to give you guys a quick recap of the weekend’s festivities. In hopes of keeping this post short and sweet, I decided to go about this in an unusual manner by bringing you the Osheagawards (I’m so clever!). By awarding bands different “most …” or “best…” awards, you’ll get a quick overview of the entire festival and what I thought about it. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Best First Impression

The beauty of music festivals is the abundance of bands and opportunity to discover new music. That being said, it’s also a bit of a guessing game seeing as most bands play at the same time, leaving you faced with some important decision making. Led by a friend’s guidance, I head over to one of the main stages to see The Kooks, British rock band from Brighton, play their set. Although I wasn’t completely oblivious to their existence, I was very unfamiliar with most of their music but that’s definitely about to change! As far as live performances go, they had me hooked from the start; now all that’s left is to see if the studio recordings live up to my now pretty high expectations.

Most Energetic

It’s quite a precious moment to see a local band make its way up to their hometown festival to play the main stage. The boys from Half Moon Run came out smiling from ear to ear and glowing with pride to perform for their people. Playing a great deal of newer material, as well as beloved hits from their current album, they were greeted with the open arms of loyal supporters. With undying energy and an outstanding musical performance, they are definitely a band that is worth seeing live at least once.

Most Uninspired

Unfortunately, not all bands you’re excited to see at festivals come through. Portugal, the Man is sadly one of those who I feel didn’t. The lackluster and low energy performance had people chatting amongst themselves and I can’t imagine they left our city with many new fans. This doesn’t discredit my appreciation for they’re music (in album form) but I can guarantee I’d be very hesitant to buy a ticket to their next show in Montreal.

Most Disappointing

This next award might get me killed by those who waited ages to see this band come back to life but it doesn’t change the fact I thought they somewhat missed the mark. Day one headliners Outkast seemed to come out with the sole intention of telling us how legendary their return is and how they’re still the best in the game. Aside from the great moments when they played some of their biggest hits like “Roses”, “Hey Ya” and “Miss Jackson”, I found the rest of the set pretty unimpressive, sorry.

Best All Around

This is where we take out the big guns. The following band comes as no surprise to anyone I am sure. Being honored with the task of closing out the festival, Arctic Monkeys, lead by the one and only Alex Turner, gave a flawless and mesmerizing performance. Opening with “Do I Wanna Know” and closing with “R U Mine”, the set was comprised of notorious older material and newer favorites from their current alum AM. Barely approaching the second half of the show, the crowd was already going wild, making way to endless crown surfing and a mosh pit that would put an earthquake to shame. Charismatic and hypnotic front man Alex Turner did what he does best and delivered sheer perfection. If you ever doubted the hype around this band then this performance would have you repenting immediately.

Honorable Mentions

Aside from all these bands stealing the show, I have to give a shout out to others who also delivered some memorable performances.

If you know anything about me, it’s my obsession with the ladies from HAIM. By far the coolest chicks in the game, they give this mostly male dominated industry a run for its money. These girls know how to jam out and have managed to put together a debut album that is a force to be reckoned with. Bringing this album to life with some good old guitar riffs and epic drumbeats, they show the boys that they need to step aside.

A second artist that deserves a mention is our boy Childish Gambino. Coming in very close to surpassing Half Moon Run in the energy department, this crazy rapper spit his rhymes incessantly and impeccably the whole way through and did not rest for a single second. Although I’m not much of a rap fan, I must admit I really enjoyed myself during Childish Gambino’s set and the audience would definitely agree.

So there you have it, my, not so short after all, wrap-up of this year’s Osheaga festival. Only twelve more months until next year’s 10th anniversary, it’s going to be a doozy!

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2 thoughts on “Osheaga 2014 Wrap-Up

  1. Good post! Love the osheagawards idea! I was not able to attend the festival and therefore cannot share my take on Outkast´s performance. I although cannot help but be surprised at the type of award they earned. Besides personal appreciation, what are the main criteria you use to judge an artists performance?

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    1. It might just be my lack of tolerance for egocentricity that’s biasing my opinion but beyond that I just really value the interaction that comes live music and find it dispiriting when you’re met with people that seem to think they’re above that. I am aware of the rap/hip-hop culture and how it’s grown in quite the hostile environment which in return has made way for a certain esteem of status and affirmation of superiority (and that’s something I’m willing to live with). Point being, the performance itself was far from a disaster but I guess I can clarify by being more specific and saying that my disappointment stems from more of a behavioural aspect than a musical or technical aspect. Beyond the typical attributes of a good show (i.e. sound, energy, production, etc.) there’s something special and almost precious about the gathering, exchange and interaction that occurs which I personally value above all else when it coms to live music. That’s why I was disappointed. It is very much an opinion piece and not a statement of facts, that’s for sure. Hope this answers your question and thanks for your comment!

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