No preamble this time, let’s get right to it.
I saw the Arkells with friends the first time I went to Osheaga 3 years ago. It was a much smaller show, partially because they weren’t playing one of the main stages. This time, it was a much larger crowd. The set list was good, but one thing I didn’t realize is that their audience interactions were a bit more “douchy” this time around. One thing I dislike that bands sometimes do is berate their audience for not being loud enough. In this case they would do the same call and repeat over and over again because “we weren’t trying hard enough”. This is just a time waster and not the point of a show in my opinion. Others might disagree, but it certainly wasn’t the best show I’ve seen at Osheaga this year, if not ever.
By contrast, this was an absolutely stellar performance. Both audience and artist were fully engaged. It certainly helped that the set list was amazing and it’s always fun to watch Smeer Gadhia (lead vocals) jump around on stage. In addition, they released about 20+ giant beach balls into the crowd which was slightly choatic. Still a blast though. One second I was watching the show and next 5 green balls are flying towards my head. Madness.
While I certainly don’t listen to St. Vincent on a regular basis, this show was a joy to watch. Their energy and aesthetic was quirky and cool, matching their eclectic art rock musical style. Another thing I enjoyed was how little “talking” Annie Clark did while on stage. She started with a simple “Bonjour Ladies & Gentlemen”, with a hint of a southern accent, and that was about it apart from an odd “thank you” here or there. While I’m not sure if it got me into listening to St. Vincent on a regular basis, I’ve learned their live shows are definitely worth seeing.
This probably the band I was the most excited to see all weekend. I had yet to see them live until yesterday and I am a huge fan of their music. Now, if you’re not a fan of chiptune, then their music might turn you off. But I think with the rise in electronic music popularity, Anamanaguchi can appeal to a lot of different people. That said, while the hardcore fans were up at the front (myself included) jumping around like lunatics, everyone in the back was just as engaged. Despite several people asking me, “do you know who’s playing right now?” One of the best Osheaga shows I’ve ever seen, it made me forget about all the things that weren’t so great. Soaked shoes from the rain? No problem. More giant beach balls attacking me? Don’t mind if I do. A mosh pit that was summoned as if on cue by someone saying “hey should we mosh?”, immediately followed by a girl tackling me? Why not? Throw in some new tracks from a future album and you’ve got a near-perfect show. Seriously, I cannot say enough things about how much fun I had. I can’t wait to see these guys again, preferably as the main act.
Another group that I wouldn’t say I’m desperate to see live, but I’m glad I did, Weezer’s set included classics and some new stuff as well. Probably the highlight of the show was when these little kids were on the stage, especially this tyke with an inflatable guitar. No idea who’s kids they were, but it definitely energized the crowd. All in all a good show.
While I saw less bands than Day 1, Day 2’s shows felt sweeter in many ways. It’s true that Of Monsters and Men and Florence and The Machine probably still take some of the top spots of my favourite Osheaga performances, but Anamanguchi is definitely up there now. On to Day 3!