You know that old saying “you can’t please everyone all the time”? Well, the people at Osheaga, July 29-31, beg to differ. The three day festival in Montreal’s verdant Parc Jean Drapeau features so many bands and musicians that now it seems like you can indeed please everybody all the time…
The Osheaga festival is the ideal oasis for people who like music, picnics and outhouses. While the Osheaga in the City series may rock Montreal proper, the actual festival’s location, Parc Jean Drapeau, is a lush and sprawling island minutes away from the downtown core with perfect hills to perch on while watching the shows. Osheaga is a big draw for world class-bands because, well, who wouldn’t want to be in Montreal in the summer? This year, like every other year, promises some seriously heavy headliners: Eminem, Elvis Costello and The Flaming Lips are just a taste of what the festival promises.
In earnest or for the sake of curiosity, I highly recommend seeing Eminem who closes the first day of the festival. If for some inexplicable reason you’re not an Eminem fan, then why not check out Montreal’s very own The Barr Brothers. Their style is a kind of dusty Americana held together by excellent musicianship. If you’re already at Timber Timbre, who are slated to play an overlapping set, then you’d be remiss not to catch the last twenty minutes of The Barr Bros set because they’re up your woodsy alley.
On Saturday, pack a lunch and catch Braids and then head to see Merge Records’ The Mountain Goats. Expect a full-on dance party for the Lupe Fiasco set just after cocktail hour, and, for a change of pace, Death From Above 1979 is back in action with a live show that never disappoints. Seriously, their South By Southwest spectacle incited a riot that resulted in beer bottles being thrown at horses.
After, dash to see New York City’s Ratatat, but if you’d rather take it real easy check out what Conor Oberst has been up to while he plays in support of his new album, The People’s Key. If you can’t decide who you’d rather see, the great thing about Osheaga is that you can magically do both. Finally, the man and the legend Elvis Costello & The Imposters‘ close Saturday night with some grumpy greatness. This is your chance to see one of the greats in the flesh and I suggest you take it but consider pulling yourself away for a bit to see Toronto’s Fucked Up do what they do best.
Sunday is the last day of the festival, but that doesn’t mean the party winds down. It’s just getting started and it’s no surprise that Cypress Hill takes the stage at 4:20 sharp, am I right? From there, lounge in the evening sun until Beirut and if you’re into Canadiana, The Tragically Hip bring their catalogue that Canadians legally have to have memorised. Finally, The Flaming Lips close the entire festival by playing songs off of their most popular record, The Soft Bulletin, under a starry sky on a hot Montreal summer night. With so many bands, Osheaga has outdone itself yet again. Mark your calendar and pack a picnic.
Osheaga, July 29-31, 2011
Osheaga in the City, July 27-30, 2011