Photos by Katrina Lat & Sean Chin.
The third and final day of the Osheaga Festival in Montreal brought out the obviously largest crowd of the weekend. It also saw the rain taking a break for the day so everyone was ready to really get their party on.
It took us over an hour in line before we cleared the gates, that’s how busy it was early, so we walked in just as Phantogram was wrapping up their set on the Montagne stage.
I was getting myself sorted and reacquainted with some new friends while Local Natives played the Riviere Stage which was too quiet to really discern what was going on.
I may have heard only one Tegan and Sara song in the past but was very pleasantly surprised by their bouncy pop. While the sound was great from my vantage point, the band was getting mixed messages from the crowd who wanted it louder, which may have had the band on edge, but they still delivered one of my favourite sets of the day.
Run the Jewels packed the side stage the last time they played Osheaga and this year found them packing the main Riviere stage. The sound for their first song was so low and distorted beyond belief, my heart sank. The issue would only last the one song, rebounding quickly and rightfully Killer Mike and El-P were filling the field, seemingly addressing the low volume that plagued this stage all weekend. The two boys still have that great chemistry that makes them so entertaining to watch, the chemistry almost as good as their tunes. The crowd went rightfully bonkers and there you have another one of the best sets of the weekend.
Foster the People just released their third album to mixed reviews but the large crowd gathered gave two hands way up in the air for all the material. While I have yet to hear the new album, everything sounded fine to me. Not surprisingly their hit “Pumped Up Kicks” got the entire field dancing.
I’ve always wanted to see Alabama Shakes so I made sure I was ready and Brittany Murphy and company did not disappoint. Murphy is such a compelling presence and that voice soared to the skies, probably frightening off any clouds. The bulk of the set was made up of their latest album, Sound and Color and even ran over their allotted time when the mics were cut during “Over My Head”.
The Weeknd closed the weekend out with an even bigger show than when he played here a few years ago, a few slots down. Abel Tesfaye was one of my highlights that year and since then he’s seen a meteoric rise in his star power, so naturally he’s kicking his set off with “Starboy”. The transition from shy, content to lurk in the shadows of The Weeknd’s shows of the past to the confident, stage-commanding presence this evening is great to see. It’s a fitting end for the festival.
So in the end, this year’s Osheaga was different. Not necessarily a bad thing but the vibe was different this year. The number of cancelled sets was particularly deflating as was the weather, but these are factors out of organizers control. While some may have just taken the two years off to focus on the renovating of the grounds, Osheaga bravely marched on with a temporary site. Definitely improvements can and need to be made but for a temporary home, they did a fine job. At the end of the day, I had a great time, met great new people and enjoyed a lot of different music I wouldn’t have heard otherwise.