Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Festival Season: Osheaga - Day 2

Day 2 in Montreal was overwhelming to the point where we're only collecting our thoughts over a week later, now that's journalism. Day 2 was the Georges St. Pierre to Day 1's Jon Fitch, or pick your analogy where Day 2 is much, much better. For the record, we caught The Black Keys and Gogol Bordello, though neither for long enough to make any worthwhile commentary here.

The Kills - 4:00-4:45
Grade: B

I’m not too familiar with this UK/US duo, despite having heard their name thrown about in all sorts of publications for several years now. With three full lengths under their belt, The Kills were consistent in their loud but minimal garage jams. They have a definite aesthetic appeal, not trendy really, just a refreshing “we could give two (choice expletive deleted) what you think of us or this song,” which was a pleasant way to start our day after missing Jamie Lidell’s soulful stylings for some Peel Pub $6 pitchers.

The Weakerthans - 4:15-5:00

Grade : C+

The Winnipeg post-punk veterans rocked the Mountain Stage in the late afternoon on Monday. For me, the music was overshadowed by lead man John K. Samson's actions about 'insufficient' set time, highlighted by a seemingly passionate exchange with an Osheaga staffer who I saw yelling from stage left. Despite the organizer's finest efforts to dissuade Samson, he decided that the Weakerthans needed more time on stage then what they were allotted, and the band played on. The songs were done well; it was a standard Weakerthans set. Advice for group for future time-crunched sets; avoid unnecessary (and boring) tangents about "the great game of curling", and you won't have these kind of issues.

MGMT - 5:30-6:15
Grade: B

Adorned with an oversized tie dyed t-shirt and an arsenal of beloved tracks to sing, Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT led the group in a relatively impressive performance at the Meg Stage. For a band surrounded by a great deal of hype, I found that MGMT came on stage with a refreshing level of modesty. Not too much chatter, just straight up psychedelic hipster indie rock. "Electric Feel" and "Kids" were favorites.

Duffy - 6:45-7:45
Grade: N/A

It was difficult to get a good look at the Welsh vixen from our spot on the grass, but I let my imagination roam. Duffy sounded confident and powerful enough to confirm her press package, though I can’t say she really caught our attention all that much. Where the day previous Sharon Jones barked bold statements and dared you not to pay attention, Duffy approached her set with slightly less bravado and we only stayed for a few songs. Hard to rate this performance based on our attention span at the moment.

The Go! Team – 7:00-8:00
Grade: B+

Ninja and crew took the stage with some authority, albeit some of the samples remained as simply playback to accompany live instruments. This wasn’t the case for every track, and I won’t try and make the argument that their songs should be, or are easily converted into fully fleshed out live tracks. Minor gripes aside, songs like “Grip Like a Vice” and “The Power is On” were catchy as they are on record and the band moved around the stage with the youthful energy they channel so well in song. As a big fan of both of their LP’s, I have no complaints about their live showing. They’re as charismatic as Benny Hinn and Randy Savage put together.

Broken Social Scene - 8:00-9:00

Grade: A

The evening BSS set was one of the most anticipated performances of the day for me. At Osheaga, the ever-changing live version of BSS consisted of its regular core (Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Andrew Whiteman of Apostle of Hustle, as well as Amy Millan of Stars, Liam O'Neil from the Stills. And I am sure there were others participating who I did not recognize as well…it is BSS after all. Highlights of the set include "7/4 Shoreline", "Diary Of a 17 Year Old Girl" and "Ibi Dreams of Pavement." Each song built on the next during the set, setting a gorgeous stage for the set's climax; a brilliant and powerfully enhanced version of "Pavement" played as the second last song. However, BSS's finale (an extended version of the already 9:55 minute "It's All Gonna Break") spotlighted Kevin Drew entirely too much, and it took away from the sets momentum in a very unfortunate way. Overall I was surprised by Drew's leadership/dictatorship on stage. Away from his vocal dominance, he presented himself akin to an overzealous high school band conductor, as he waved performers onstage when they had chosen to step aside, introduced members as if they were his own, and acted generally like he was the shit. Truthfully, the set reminded me of eating a cookie with too many chocolate chips in it. It was delicious, but at many points I just wanted to taste the sweet sweet cookie without being bombarded by cheap Kevin Drew cocoa bite after bite.

CSS – 8:30-9:30
Grade: A

The Brazilians, much like The Go! Team before them, brought a pretty bombastic, super-fun-happy-hour kind of set that worked perfectly in the dying light of the evening. Lead singer Lovefoxxx (parents lucked out she didn’t become an adult contemporary Jann Arden type, and yes I know it's a stage name) was pretty wild on stage in her technicolour bodysuit, with tons of running around and that cute Portuguese/Japanese/German/Whatever accent singing “Off the Hook,” “Let’s Make Love,” and new cuts like “Left Behind.” Cansei de Ser Sexy did not disappoint, and along with the Go! Team, buttered up the crowd real nice for the Meg Stage headliners and their bonafied lovin.

Chromeo – 10:00-11:00
Grade: A++

It was epic. A huge crowd chanted in unison when the lights went down. They chanted loud. They even chanted in tune.




Then Boom! The lights came up, and the music started. There was a fancy footwork epidemic spreading rapidly throughout the crowd. Tenderonis everywhere were grinding up on their man lovers. Kitschy dance music was played, and it had never been played better before. Chromeo's set at Osheaga stole the show. The well-traveled dance masters played an unbelievable set in front of a huge hometown crowd, dropping nothing but pure hotness. And best of all, they seemed genuinely happy to be playing at home. If BTA had an achievement award for perfection, Chromeo would be its first and only recipient.

Osheaga, we hardly knew ye. Until next year, hopefully headlined by Chromeo.

- mca & BA



This sounds pretty amazing, I like how everything just seemed to get better and better throughout the day - still all of the bands I would've seen (apart from Duffy, after a while I think she gets boring!)

Hah, still loving the coverage!


Anonymous said...

john k samson the shit disturber.

once a anarchist punk rocker, always an anarchist punk rocker.

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