The first day of Osheaga has come and gone, and while there’s still plenty of artists and bands I want to see, Friday’s lineup was definitely the one I was the most excited for. It certainly didn’t help that my train was late getting into Montreal, which meant I was running (literally in some cases) around Montreal to try and get to Parc Jean-Drapeau in order to catch the first band I really wanted to see.
Before I get to acts I saw and particular highlights, I would like to thank years of previous Osheaga experience in being able to navigate the Montreal Metro with surprising efficiency. The past few years I’ve only been coming to Montreal for Osheaga, so the fact that I’ve retained any of this is a miracle.
Anyway, on with shows.
Iron and Wine with Ben Bridwell
Although I missed the first bit of the set (stupid train), I did manage to watch most of Iron and Wine’s set with Ben Bridwell. For those who aren’t aware, Ben Bridwell is the lead singer of Band of Horses. Now, while I was really excited to see this act, hence why I was rushing to get to Osheaga from the train station, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m a fan Iron and Wine and Band of Horses (still need to see them live), but what I experienced was somehow neither or them. I liked the collaboration album, but maybe it’s a little too country for my liking. It was still a great show, but I think that if I get the chance to listen to both of them individually, I’ll do that instead. Ideally late at night in a bar because that’s when they should be heard.
Run the Jewels
Now, I really only watched this because I was trying to meet up with some friends who were also at Osheaga this year. I’ve always had mixed feelings towards hip hop. That said though, these guys have hilarious stage banter with the audience and they really know how to get everyone excited. It was still a ton of fun, even if you’re not into that kind of music, which I believe is one of the best parts of festivals like Osheaga. That and they said “You kids are crazy”. Good times.
Marina and The Diamonds
Marina has always been someone who I’d like to have seen live but never someone who I would have gone out of the way to go see. This is why I love Osheaga, and music festivals in general. I can go see tons of bands in a weekend, even if I’m waiting for another band to play in the stage next to the one that’s playing. So while I was waiting for The Decemberists to come on stage, I was treated to a great show that had everyone in the crowds dancing. Especially during Primadonna Girl, which I’m pretty sure had everyone jumping.
Well done Marina, well done.
The last time I saw The Decemberists was 8 years ago and a lot has changed since then. Even still, that show is probably one my favourite shows I’ve ever seen. So as Colin Meloy came on stage to start playing his guitar, I was taken straight back. Now, the Decemberists have a lot of songs to choose from, which means that when you only have 45 minutes to play, you end up picking songs that might not be everyone’s favourite. That wasn’t to say I didn’t like the songs they played, I loved the whole set. They even played Oh Valencia which is one of my long-time favourites, but there are so many songs I’d like them to have played and they didn’t. It just reminds me that like Iron and Wine, I’ll need to go to a show of theirs where they’re the main act. Not one of many.
The Avett Brothers
I’d heard songs by The Avett Brothers occasionally, but again it never occurred to me to go out of my way to see them. At this point I’d been up since 5am and it was around 7pm, so I was starting to feel exhaustion kick in. But since the rest of the bands I’d wanted to see were at the main stages, where The Avett Brothers were playing, I figured I watch them as well.
It was probably the best thing I could of done at that point.
These guys are phenomenal live and can get an audience pumped up. And they’re a folk rock band, a genre not necessarily known for that behaviour. After their show I was ready for the rest of the night. The music was awesome, their antics on stage are hilarious, and I would definitely be happy to go see these guys again.
Of Monsters and Men
I’m going to keep this brief, simply because words can’t really describe how much I love these guys. Not to mention that their set list was perfect. Seriously, it’s one of the best set lists I’ve ever seen live. Playing what could be considered the best of both of their albums, these guys put on an absolutely stellar performance. Just brilliant.
Florence and The Machine
When I first went to Osehaga back in 2012, one the first acts I saw was Florence and The Machine (funnily enough it was also after Of Monsters and Men), and it was a fantastic show. At the time she wasn’t headlining, which I thought was a travesty. Funnily enough the Montreal Gazette and Osheaga seem to agree with me.
While her energetic movements on stage differed from her serene 2012 performance (dancing-wise, not the music), The show was simply sublime. To put it as she would say (sing?) it herself: it was louder than sirens, louder than bells, sweeter than heaven, and hotter than hell. Queen Flo knows how to put on a show, and the world is a better place for it.
Day 1 set the bar really high for the rest of the weekend, but considering what great shows I’ve heard so far, I’m ok with that.