Osheaga 2019 Day Two
One of the great things of arriving early is to catch great bands at stages with relatively few people. Quite a few came to see Braids, a Montreal based band that features Raphaelle Standell-Preston.
Raphaelle’s voice was sweet, yet strong. They have an indie-pop sound that was a great appetizer for the day. It left me wanting to download a few tracks and give them a more in-depth listen.
While I only caught the last song or two of Bülow, it was clear that this German singer has a grasp on pop. If you enjoy Billie Eilish, you would probably get into this vibe as well. Granted that Billie is a sensation to be reckoned with, Bülow shows a lot of potential and I enjoyed the little I heard.
Alas, today would again be samples of a multitude of bands, which is a one Osheaga strategy, among many.
I was sad that I missed U.S. Girls perform for the Jazz Festival in Verdun, so I made it a point to catch part of her set at Osheaga.
Originally from the U.S., this girl is now Canadian, residing in Toronto.
She came on stage to the applause of the crowd with a distant stare. After what seemed to be a minute of quiet meditation, she eventually broke into song.
Indie pop/rock in nature, she obviously had reached many in the crowd previously. Her opus is “In a Poem Unlimited” which Pitchfork describes as “a righteous collection of razor-sharp songs, full of spit and fury, a high-water mark for political pop music.”
Maybe that was the source of her intensity, this stage melodrama that played out nicely.
You have to love artists who take the songs and turn them into some sort of art display.
The small sample I got from MorMor was enough to get me intrigued, yet again.
Aren’t you glad I didn’t say it let me wanting MorMor? I would never do that to our dear readers…or would I?
Seth Nyquist (Toronto) performs Indie Pop with style and finesse. His smooth voice plays well with the mood the music creates.
Someone to put on your radar, he’s on mine!
Interview with Young the Giant
I had a great conversion with Young the Giant before their performance. With the topic of their last two albums, it was clear this was going to be an intellectual exercise.
We spoke about looking into the mirror and seeing the real you. We explored, together, a potential meaning for their band name, which had none before. We also spoke about which track was an underdog that deserves a listen. Stay tuned for the full interview.
Mikaela Straus came out wearing a monogrammed Raptors baseball shirt to great applause. Is she a King or a Princess? She definitely ruled the stage, so I would bet on King.
She started with “Upper West Side” which exposes the notion that the illusion of wealth via social media doesn’t expose a reality that is authentic.
King Princess seems to have a grasp on who she is, and she isn’t afraid to show you that person, fully exposed on stage.
Maybe that is what makes her so relatable, that authenticity.
She was playful with the crowd and ended with “Ohio” which really featured the heavy guitar.
Young the Giant
By this point, I’m a little biased. The boys are smart, friendly and fun during our interview. How can I not come into this with a blank frame of mind?
But, judging from the crowd, I’m not the only one who enjoyed their performance. It was bonkers.
Sameer was the lovable frontman, who bounced on stage like a trampoline version of the Energizer bunny.
Highlights were “Cough Syrup”, “My Body” and “Something to Believe In.”
Yet another transplant from the U.S. to Toronto, Jordan Edward Benjamin (a.k.a. grandson) was on fire.
I caught the briefest of glimpses into his music, but I could tell right away that there was something there. The crowd was responding with wild abandon, so I wasn’t the only one to think along those lines.
From the sliver of a performance I saw, I would say get your tickets to his next gig, it’s going to be epic.
Vincent Fenton (France) is a multi-instrumentalist who uses live looping to create danceable and chill tracks.
He was surrounded by keyboards, guitars and saxophones, enough to populate a small high school band.
The way he would move between instruments was mesmerizing. Talk about multitasking, this is a one-man band that delivers.
Janelle Monae is more than just a singer, rapper and actress…she is music royalty, as can attest the crown she sat upon.
She has this stage presence that is on par with some of the best performers of days past.
She also bravely spoke to the crowd about freedoms and rights and the need to impeach a certain political neighbor.
Some would argue that she was the headlining performance of the night.
Wow. The Most energy on stage award, hands down goes to Sofi Tukker. It was impossible to not dance during their set.
Big beats and lots of action on stage made this one of the most entertaining band to date!
Nevermind that their songs have been featured in Apple ads (and I’m an Apple fanboy)…but it’s just so much fun to watch them play. Their enthusiasm bleeds like a paper cut.
It was sad, but I had to tear myself away as I need to catch City & Colour.
City and Colour
Seeing City and Colour is always a treat. Tonight, I had an even more reason to look forward to the performance.
Yes, he played some new songs, like “Astronaut” which I’m deeply addicted to these days. What a great song with a strong guitar solo outro.
They played some of the classics we know, love and sing along to.
There was this one song, which Dallas invited our homegirl Geneviève Racette to sing “Hello, I’m Delaware.” Montreal Rocks just interviewed Geneviève and I had actually bought tickets to her Friday show in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, which was going to be a mother-son date.
As Dallas tunes his guitar, Geneviève admits that her last show had 6 people in attendance, yet here she is on the big stage of Osheaga. The last time she was at Osheaga, it was to hear City and Colour play, but this time, she would share the microphone on this beautiful song.
She nailed it. How cool is Dallas for sharing the limelight for a few minutes?
Just so you know, Geneviève sold out her album launch party, so she does have some love from Montreal. But going from 6 to tens of thousands of potential fans overnight has to make your heart skip a beat.
Keep your eye on this one. She has the Dallas stamp of approval, which says a lot.
Rüfüs Du Sol
Really wanted to catch this act, but only heard and saw the stage from afar. I would say the stage was impressive, but sadly I didn’t catch enough of their music to have an opinion.
They have hit my radar, and I will listen to some of their stuff once this is all over. Alas, one of the downfalls of sampling as many bands as you can is that you miss a few.
From all accounts, they killed it as well at the afterparty!
When I heard howling before Jordan Cook (a.k.a. Reignwolf) came to the stage, I knew I was in for something special.
Words cannot begin to describe what I witnessed. It was raw, unapologetic blues/rock with a touch of punk bravado.
Jordan’s performance was wild, entangled in guitar wires and microphone stands. Even his guitar strap gave up trying to keep up with his energy. It lay lifeless on the stage, while Jordan played perched atop the pit fence.
I first was introduced to Reignwolf from the sadly short-lived Roadies TV show. While the band in the show was fictitious, the opening bands are the real deal and Reignwolf was featured on Episode 2.
Frantically searching for anything Reignwolf after the show, I was only consoled with a few singles until 2019 brought us “Hear Me Out” as a full album.
This Saskatoon resident found a home in Seattle and soon became friends with the local grunge superstars from Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.
Take Blues and add Grunge and you have a good idea of what I saw and heard tonight…but the performance is nothing like you could imagine.
The Chemical Brothers
Back to the big stage to catch the last act of the evening with Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons who compose the duo The Chemical Brothers.
It’s only been 17 years since The Chemical Brothers played what we lovingly remember as The Metropolis.
Their music was popular probably before the birth of the average Osheaga attendee, but they reigned them in!
Big beats and stunning visuals entranced the crowd and turned Osheaga into a rave. They were even joined by two giant robots. A visual and auditory feast.
Among a slew of other songs, the classics like “Hey Boy Hey Girl”, “Under the Influence”, “Galvanize” and ending with “Block Rockin’ Beats” kept the party going till the very end.
Today was about discovering new talent and experiencing some phenomenal live performances like that of Young the Giant, Sofi Tukker, and Reignwolf.
It was also about seeing for myself crowd favorites like U.S. Girls, King Princess and grandson.
Seeing Geneviève sing with Dallas was the special moment of the night and seeing the visuals for The Chemical Brothers was fascinating.
Honorable mention was Laye who performed her Dark Pop on the Green Stage. Lots of potential for growth of her fanbase and she’s adorable in person. She told us she is returning to Montreal on Sept. 12, 2019 opening up for Crooked Colours.
Today’s band I missed but wished I saw: Beach House.
Day two is now done…and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Photos – Steve Gerrard