Just a year short of its 10th anniversary, Osheaga Music Festival is like a young kid who appears streetwise and all the cool older kids let him hang out on the corner. What I mean is, it’s pretty impressive that a festival not even a decade old sees Nick Cave rocking out on a stage beside Jack White, where HAIM ends a set just as Modest Mouse begins, where Shlohmo rocks the after-party, where Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day makes a guest appearance with The Replacements, where the forest is full of hammocks and white lights and, because this is Montreal, there was a lot of painting.

Dazzled by the Hollywood-esque Osheaga sign that glittered from the hill, impressed by the Mark of the Beast-styled wristbands this year (you had to get the chip in your bracelet scanned by cellphones and gate devices before roaming free to different areas), I also found myself intrigued, in an anthropological sort of way, by the thousands of girls in flower crowns.

In my Top Picks, I wondered if Modest Mouse would still be relevant. Answer? Yes. “Float On” will never fade. “The Good Times are Killing Me?” Are they ever. Isaac Brock had painted his fingernails turquoise and pulled off a live performance satisfactory enough that I actually stayed in one place for almost all of it.


When Nick Cave came on…goddamn, I still don’t think I’m ready to talk about it yet. It’s been burned into my brain like a brand of awe and now I understand. I can’t write about this. It was too good. As for Jack White, well, this goes out to the entire crowd in front of the stage: FUCK YOU. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. I wasn’t even trying to push to the front, I was trying to push to the BACK and the aggression…My life flashed before my eyes. I thought I was going to get my skull crushed. And it wasn’t even from females. It was from males. Tall, aggro males who glared down at my lil’ 5 foot 3 self and refused to budge.

Finally, I raised my face to the sky and roared, “Let me the fuck through, and nobody touch my fuckin’ camera!” When the crowd realized that I was a loose cannon, they shifted uneasily. When I made it out of the pig pen, I climbed up the hill overlooking the grounds; as Jack White reminded us that being cool is still a concept that does in fact exist, fireworks exploded white hot in the background and I pulled an Irish exit to the metro so that I wouldn’t be stuck in line for three goddamned hours.

I want to use this area of screen to say a huge thank you to the people who were running about in green T-shirts, cleaning up after the troglodytes who still think it is acceptable to litter. And another thank you is due the festival itself, for providing such a great area for media and artists: Beanbags by the water, the comfiest outdoor furniture; mad style; bathrooms that weren’t traumatizing…I was rolling around back there like a pimp in a fur coat, totally drunk on my own power and sense of self-importance. Thanks, Osheaga! That wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Photos by Pat Beaudry courtesy of Osheaga.



Few things are more epic than a performance by long-time musicians Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Here’s the thing though, and this is going to require you dropping your pretentious exterior of superior music-connoisseur-identity. Do you really listen to Nick Cave or do you just have all of his albums, name-drop frequently and switch your iPod to Riff Raff when you’re alone? Just curious. No judgement.

The Australian alternative rock band involves stuff like The Birthday Party (I guiltily admit I listen to them more), it involves novels, Grinderman, and spans decades. But The Bad Seeds are indeed a product of the 80’s, meaning sometimes it can get a little too cheesy and keyboard-y for my own personal tastes. But are my personal tastes really that important here? Not really.

I haven’t had a thirty year career full of crashing international success and innovative black-valentine ballads full of blood-and-lace lyrics. With album titles like Abattoir Blues, Tender Prey, Murder Ballads and The Boatman’s Call, Nick Cave is rich in madness and, even if you just like to say you listen to him rather then actually listen to him, maybe that’s because deep inside yourself you know Nick Cave has at least earned your creative respect.

For those of us born in the late 80’s, a good few years after Nick Cave was already doing his thing, this is your chance to really dig into the mystery of Nick Cave; there’s no better way to make up your mind about an artist then to get your ass to a live performance. And for veteran fans who already know the mystifying wonder of Nick Cave’s shadowy mythology, Osheaga is just another outlet for you to be there, experiencing it. Because I’m a rock writer, I can sit on the fence, observing, entitled to opinions and giving advice without taking it. Do I listen to Nick Cave? Sometimes. Do I switch to Riff Raff when no one is around? Fuck no. Will I be there, taking in this live show with mild awe and respect? Sure.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds perform Saturday, August 2 at 8:05 p.m. at the Molson Canadian Mountain Stage. Osheaga takes place August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.