Osheaga 2012 : Day Three Recap

<img src="https://www.qromag.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/osheaga12d3.jpg" alt="Osheaga 2012 : Day Three Recap" />Rain finally caught up with Osheaga, but didn't put a damper on the final day. ...
Osheaga 2012 : Day Three Recap
Osheaga 2012 : Day Three Recap

The Anglophone alternative music festival community just doesn’t give enough credit to those events held outside their sphere.  To be fair, North America (QRO Festival Guide), U.K. (QRO Festival Guide), and Down Under (QRO Festival Guide) all have a ton of festivals – but one of the best, in any language, on any continent, is Osheaga, in Francophone Montreal.

Now with a fully established third day, Osheaga went toe-to-toe with any festival out there Friday-Sunday, August 3rd to 5th.

 

 

The comparisons between Montreal’s Osheaga and Chicago’s Lollapalooza are always going to happen, as they occur the same weekend, with many of the same bands.  But in 2012 it was raised further when Lolla had to clear out Grant Park in the middle of Day Two due to “dangerous weather conditions predicted” or something like that.  Osheaga only laughed, but then the rain followed the jet stream and hit Montreal on Day Three.  While nowhere near as bad as Chi-town, downpours hit off-and-on throughout the final days, marring certain performances (from Zeus to Zola Jesus), but hardly ruining the third day:

 

CHAPPO

CHAPPO

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Continuing the weekend’s tradition of strong starts, Brooklyn’s CHAPPO opened Sunday with a tsunami of confetti, flash and flesh.  The neu-psych pop contingent is an easy listen for Canadian fans that might not have heard them before, dropping sonic references to vintage Rolling Stones, Neil Young, and contemporary cross-fertilization Alex Chappowith the likes of MGMT and of Montreal.  Always known for a superlative live set, CHAPPO brought out the big guns to Montreal.  Literally: crepe paper cannons sent out streaming volleys over the heads of the young crowd.  After demonstrating the proper firing technique, frontman Alex Chappo tossed out dozens of cannons into the audience, which kept up a steady kaleidoscopic hailstorm of Flaming Lips-inspired insanity throughout the set.  Most of the set list derived from CHAPPO’s latest, the full length LP Moonwater, with occasional throwbacks to tracks from their ongoing EP series Plastique Universe.  An impressive, high energy showing from a band on the rise.  Extra points for the dancing girls, stage craft, and fulminating volcano of silver and gold quadrilaterals.  You had to be there…

CHAPPO confetti

 

Zeus

ZeusClick image for full gallery

Toronto’s Arts & Crafts Records has been snapping up great Canadian bands for years now, and had two back-to-back early on the main stages on Day Three, starting with Zeus.  Their good seventies country-rock got the crowd clapping along, though they were perhaps best with a funky number.  However, the rain did start to fall during their set, but “A little mud never stopped us…”

Zeus

 

Dan Mangan

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Dan ManganNor did the mud & rain stop fellow Arts & Crafter Dan Mangan – though it was definitely heavier during his set.  However, Mr. Mangan had a lot of loyal, excited fans – and he went into the pit (and out from under the covering protecting the stage from rain) to embrace them, and even invited on to stage one who was wearing a big yellow box on his head that said “Robot Dan Mangan” (likely inspired by his Roboteering).

Dan Mangan

 

Zola Jesus

A good-sized crowd had gathered beneath the trees at Scene des Arbres despite the inclement weather.  Rain fell, sometimes hard and sometimes soft, during soundcheck (in which Zola Jesus warmed up with Rihanna’s “Umbrella”).  All signs pointed to ‘all systems: go.’  The roadies were attacking the stage floor with squeegees in the desperate attempt to make the show happen.  Dark, stormy weather suits Zola Jesus and the whole predicament might have been a blessing in disguise until someone in authority, with some good common sense, called off the set.  Zola Jesus sputtered out two songs of sopping wet percussive electric brilliance before the announcement came.  She tried to string out the proceedings for a third song, but to no avail.  Rain out, no rain check.

 

Passion Pit

Shout out to their native Boston?  Check.

Mispronouncing the name of the fest, Osheaga?  Check.

Through the hits and the misses, Passion Pit are all gravy.  No longer the electro-pop up-n-comers, the band has cemented their position in the upper echelons of the indie hierarchy with years of touring and a dynamite debut Manners (QRO review) followed by the more than adequate Gossamer.  Frontman Michael Angelakos leaned less heavily on his signature helium vocals in the Osheaga set while strutting his stuff in suit-and-tie ensemble.  Good crowd response, an entertaining set.  Rumors swirled offstage that Angelakos was in the midst of some mental health issues that had the band juggling tour commitments for the sake of some much needed R&R.  In fact, the original timeslot of the band was later in the day – Passion Pit switched with Tame Impala (see below) on the day of the performance.  No word on the rationale behind the switch, but the last minute shuffle didn’t appear to reduce the crowd turnout for ‘da Pit’ one iota.  Electro-pop crafted with enormous haymaker refrains is a hit pretty much anywhere these days – just show up and don’t have a mental breakdown until the 90 minute set is finished.

 

Santigold

It’s not clear that Santigold has taken any substantive steps forward musically since emerging from beneath the protective, protogenic wing of former world-beater M.I.A.  Her stage show, on the other hand?  Superb and restrained, all at once.  Hard to peg what aesthetic Santigold was aiming for.  Imagine a cross between limes, Kanye shutter-visors, Pharaonic civilization, and go-go dancing.  That’s a party vibe no matter how you slice it.  Santigold remains a first rate, show stopping diva.  The critics can squabble over her Pitchfork ratings all they like.  Bottom line?  She bangs.

 

Austra

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Another engaging songstress with dancers was own Austra.  Another Toronto artist playing Montreal’s Osheaga, though she almost sounded like she was singing in French – or possibly Austrian or Australian.  But her dancers sang as well.  Think if Vancouver’s Grimes (QRO live review) had a band (though she does already have dancers – QRO photos).

Austra

 

 

Tame Impala

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QRO’s verdict on Tame Impala‘s stellar Innerspeaker (QRO review) overemphasized the Australian band’s allegiance to the garage rock revival.  Their late afternoon-to-early evening slot, a last minute schedule switch, took advantage of the big stage in a big way, proving the band is more than garage rockers that won the garage rocker sweepstakes.  Pin that label on Sunday’s headliners Black Keys (see below).  Tame Impala, on the other hand, boast the sort of eclectic, retro rock sensibility that can mix delicate homage with proggy innovation while still providing the rock ‘em, sock ‘em delivery.  That the sun was shining during the set, in spite of threatening rain, didn’t hurt the crowd vibe either.  Sunny licks all the way down.

Tame Impala

 

The Shins

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A downpour started just as the much anticipated set by The Shins began – but that brought only ironic cheers from the crowd, and the rain did end quickly (though some would occasionally fall from the tarp above the stage).  This year has seen ‘the return of The Shins’, in that main man James Mercer stopped working on side-projects (like his underwhelming team-up with Danger Mouse, Broken Bells – QRO album review), gotten most of the band back together, and started making Shins music again.  There’s a reason so many people wanted The Shins back (and not just Natalie Portman’s character in Garden State), as they’ve got a whole bunch of great songs, which are great live (and better than the occasional non-hit that they played…).

return of The Shins

 

Bloc Party

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Kele Okereke“Let’s get one thing straight, Osheaga – we’re not gonna let a little mud stop us…”  A British act that’s played many a muddy festival in their home island, Bloc Party do know something about playing against the elements – but it wasn’t the mud, but the rain.  One can find a spot without too much mud on the ground, and avoid anyone moving around too much to avoid getting spatter, but only covering will hold off the rain – and even then, you’re still cold (and the rain is getting through).  Moreover, how many Bloc Party songs are you gonna wait for until you hear ones from their first & only great album, Silent Alarm?  At least it wasn’t solo material from singer/frontman Kele Okereke (QRO solo album review) – and he’s still a good frontman.

rainy Bloc Party

 

Metric

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Jesus, Metric are big.  Thankfully, the rain had stopped by the time they took the main stage, but you had absolutely no hope of getting anywhere near somewhat close if you hadn’t been waiting there for a while.  One couldn’t even sidle up the side, as there was a distinct edge to the crowd, which ended right where the fence to the house-right of the stage started blocking your review (also blocking your view from there?  The cameraman on a tripod whenever singer/frontwoman Emily Haines took to her keyboard).  Still, the group is really showmen (and woman), with a set as electric as the band, mostly off of this year’s Synthetica (QRO review).

Metric

 

M83

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One act that’s blown up in a big way this year has been France’s M83 – and you knew that they’d be even bigger in French-speaking Quebec (and main man Anthony Gonzalez did take the opportunity to thank the crowd in French…).  But there’s a reason M83 have blown up so significantly, and it’s because they’re one of the best at mixing atmospherics & dance in electronica, a style that was already very hot – and only getting hotter.  What’s more, M83 lived up to their hype & psyched crowd (including crowd-surfing and one girl on shoulders who tried her hardest to ignore security telling her to get down, but a security member went over the photo barrier and into the pit to tell her boyfriend to bring her down), even if you didn’t know their songs.

M83

 

The Black Keys

Farther along in the hype timeline is Akron, Ohio’s The Black Keys, who have been at the forefront of today’s blues-rock revival.  Singer & guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney can certainly hold down a song, but perhaps the recent onslaught of touring, especially festivals (such as New York’s Catalpa the weekend prior – QRO photos) has taken its toll, as the group sounded a bit more produced and less special; it particularly came out on old numbers like “Your Touch”, the song that surprised you when you found out it was two white guys from north of the Mason-Dixon who made it.  But they still closed with a neat light show (that almost didn’t happen, because of the threat of rain during), bulbs floating down upon the crowd that would light on-and-off in synchronicity.

 

Osheaga

 

 

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