Osheaga 2014 Gogol Bordello © Bianca Lecompte

Osheaga Day 3 started at the set of Foxtrott, a Montreal native that has an innovative and powerful style, a mix of electro and pop, definitely worth watching. Her 2012 Shields EP has brought her a lot of acclaim. Keep an eye out for her upcoming debut full length album, A Taller Us, this fall.

Then we moved on to Travis Scott. He was delayed, apparently due to a hold-up at customs, but his DJ put on quite a show. The crowd was going wild to some old school hip hop, with remixes from Daft Punk to Jay-Z and even NIN.

Amsterdam’s Tom Trago was at the Piknic Électronik Stage with some tracks influenced by afrobeats, soul and latin genres; he kept it jumping. The temperature rose and the people multiplied to welcome Cyril Hahn to old school remixes such as Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name”, among others.

Meanwhile on the Green stage The Temper Trap played a mix of both old and new material. They closed the set with “Sweet Disposition” from their 2009 debut album Conditions.

While heading to Duke Dumont’s set, we stumbled upon Epic Meal Time’s Harley Morenstein. His friends couldn’t help it and had to get his pic!

To ensure an epic close to the day, we went back to the Green Stage (yeah it was our favorite, I said it) to see Gogol Bordello and they did not fail to impress. Tons of energy from the very first song and followed by at least 30 crowd surfers on a 45-minute set. Big shout out to Fortas for catching people safely and effectively. I lack the words to describe this show. Maybe it was a combination of the fans’ enthusiasm and the constant jumping around but that set was nothing but euphoric and that extends to all of the 2014 edition of Osheaga.

There was a bit of everything for everybody and I had to make tough choices in between bands. Gladly, we made it to Arctic Monkeys, who closed the festival with old tunes, such as “505” from 2007’s Favourite Worst Nightmare and newer ones such as “Knee Socks”, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” and “Arabella”, all from their current album AM. Honestly, we were spoiled this year.

Osheaga 2014: SundayOsheaga 2014: Sunday

Click on the photo to launch the slideshow. Photos by Bianca Lecompte.

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.


So, I’ve slid past the thousands standing in line this morning at Osheaga and am now in the press tent— there’s free water and a cool view to a couple of stages.

Let’s get it in. First went over to the Piknic Électronik stage to peep the Dream Koala set. Dude was so young and gracious. He took the stage with a black telecaster and proceeded to tweak a few knobs on his console— the bass drop hit me in the solar plexus like a black belt’s front kick. The crowd was laid right back, plumes of acrid smoke arching up over the bouncing ballcapped heads. This one guy had one of those scrying balls, which he slid from hand to hand preternaturally. Really fresh set and nice to see a performer who is still unjaded in their new-found fame. Plus I saw my Mom and her boyfriend in the crowd and got to share that moment with them.

Next I moseyed over to see July Talk, one of the rockingest acts of the day— they had a big Toronto crowd and they knew how to wind them up. Peter Dreimanis, who co-fronts the band, took the stage like a banshee with a large bottle of wine in hand, then toasted one of the greatest cities in the world to visit. Werd up MTL!?!

The femme side of the lead vocals, Leah Fay, brought her own bag of tricks. At one point she captured a beach ball, shoved it up her shit and halfway through a song gave birth to it. I wasn’t real struck with these guys when I heard them on the radio in recent months, but they put on a great show.

Of course I had to check out NYC rapper Pusha T, at exactly 4:20 – he meandered his way through some new trap stuff and treated the red-eyed crowd to snippets of Clipse bangers from the past. Big bass and clean, clear vocals made for a pretty dope set. His lyrics about bubbling crack and other dark fantasies really changed the crowd’s vibe— not for the worse, just got a little grimy; elbows out as you walk through the masses!

After that I was getting kind of tired so I went to find a couch in the VIP lounge— that’s when shit got live. I ended up sitting down beside a Montreal DJ that shall remain nameless. Suffice it to say that he knows everybody. We drank some special water and booked it over to the Piknic stage to see Flume. As soon as we were in the vicinity the whole vibe changed like something out of Fear and Loathing and suddenly we were in a zoo.

Girls with flowered crowns had taken to climbing the I-beam structure, there we people in the trees grinding their teeth— and the crowd was a sweat-drenched leviathan writhing wildly; I was caught in its coils.

Flume really spun fire. At one point I had to turn and seek more stable ground, and find water. By this time I was wide-eyed and mud covered and remembered I had a camera; so I went back to shoot some of the debauchery.

The Piknic stage was out of control. This moment was one of profound introspection and connection with the external world— paradoxical and true and definitely the highlight of my experience at Osheaga. The scene at the electro stage marks an important shift toward the EDM subculture, and the wave’s not cresting yet so that there’s still this visceral authenticity to be accessed. The Piknic stage was absolutely fucking bananas. I have no words.

Then we went to the big stage for the second half of the Skrillex set. I’ve had different things to say about him over the years. Granted, I’ve always thought he was genius, but felt at times his sound was getting homogenized. I don’t know how many of you have seen this guy play a festival or an after party, but I gotta tell you he murdered it; his set was beamed in from Andromeda, and it was a pristine feed. W#Rd.

There were at least 20 000 from the stage to the hill. And as the sun sank and the lasers cut through billowing clouds of smoke and mist, I though for a second I was gonna pass out. By then I’d lost my homies from the VIP lounge and I was on my own. I ended up trekking up the hill and bumming some cigarettes from a girl whose eyes were all pupils—.

I did stay for a bit of the Outkast set, but yo, it didn’t even come close to the sub-60 bass and photon blasts from the previous set. I’m not saying Outkast was bad, I’m saying Skrillex straight up destroyed my cerebellum. Good night in a Tom Waits voice, know what I’m saying.

Very fresh day— saw my Mom, met some insanely cool people, ate free gourmet sandwiches in the restricted area before and after chilling with journalists in the press tent. A lot of people ask me why I do these articles for FTB and I always say because, in doing so, I get to witness some of the dopest shit that goes on in our city, chill with artists and get to know them then share what I find out with other people. I do it because that’s what I do. Yesterday was way off the meat rack. Fuck getting paid— LOUWBRE.

Osheaga 2014: FridayOsheaga 2014: Friday

Click on the photo to activate slideshow. Photos by Jesse Anger.


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.

The music frenzy that is Osheaga starts today which means you’re almost out of time to choose which acts you’re going to see. We’ve been helping you out with our suggestions (check out Jesse Anger’s suggestions for Friday and Caile Donaldson’s must-sees for the weekend). We’ve got you covered for Sunday too, so here they are:

Matt Mays

Canadian-born Matt Mays is a true nomad, having traveled all over North America while writing his 2012 album Coyote. The places he’s called home (California, New York, Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica) have influenced his sound in a way that is instantly recognizable.

Hey Rosetta!

East-coast indie rockers Hey Rosetta! have experienced massive success since their 2008 breakout album Into Your Lungs. They’ve toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, even making their way to China and Australia and have been short-listed for the Polaris music prize. They’ve been praised by critics for their ability to blend indie rock with classical elements (the band includes a string section and French horn) in a way that is more innovative than others that attempt to do the same with less interesting results.

Gogol Bordello

There’s nothing quite like seeing Gogol Bordello live. They have some of the most die-hard fans of any band I’ve ever seen and I can proudly count myself among them. I started listening to them when I was about 15 years old and they’re one of the few bands from that period of my life that I’m still interested in. Expect drunken buffoonery, crazy dancing and singing along to every word.

Mozart’s Sister

Caila Thompson-Hannant’s solo project, Mozart’s Sister, is a good example of why Montreal music gets so much praise from the outside. Blending electro-synth-pop with powerful vocals, Mozart’s Sister keeps things fresh with the complex layering of many different elements in her music. She’s played SXSW, CMW and Pop Montreal and it’s cool that she gets to add Osheaga to the list.

Dead Obies

For so long, Quebec rap got such a bad rep, mostly for good reason. Dead Obies, along with other groups like Alaclair Ensemble and The Posterz, are turning it around. They released Montreal $ud in 2013 via Montreal label Bonsound and have been attracting lots of attention due to their explosive live performances and some controversy surrounding their franglais lyrics.


Montreal-born Tiga is legendary in the dance music scene and is largely credited with helping to bring techno music to Montreal in the 90s. He owned famed nightclub SONA, where he booked electronic acts and then started Turbo Recordings in 1998. The label was instrumental in launching his own career and, later, others as well, including fellow Osheaga 2014 performers Chromeo.

The 2014 edition of Osheaga Music and Arts Festival takes place August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Photo by Chris Zacchia.

Mac DeMarco

Who is this grinning young ‘un who looks like Flea’s kid brother and makes music so lo-fi and strange that it makes you want to go running through the streets with a tall can and a lover?

Mac DeMarco is another Canadian (god, we grow good musicians here. Suck it, Slovakia) and probably a result of growing up in the 90’s. All that grunge has trickled down over our souls, giving way to music that is simultaneously full of longing for what’s been lost and rife with sounds that have no name. DeMarco, for all of his twenty four years, is already a force of brilliance, jamming in this sunny, simple way that showcases stiff songwriting skill and a style that is wholly his own. While, sure, there’s room for your garage rock and surf punk and of course, let’s not forget the new staple, psychedelic rock, DeMarco is taking the formula and fuzzing the lines a bit more; he’s really got his fingerprints all over his tunes.

But DeMarco isn’t some serious suffering poet. Or maybe he is. I’ve never even hung out with him, what the fuck do I know? I guess the reason I said that, about the serious poetic stuff, is because of what I’ve read. You know, about how his concerts are described as a “raunchfest” and how he gets naked onstage. Which, while not being serious, could be construed as a little poetic. In my opinion. (And that’s mostly all this article consists of: my opinions.)

Anyway, DeMarco has released two full length studio albums (Salad Days being the latest, released just this year) and with that comes the touring. While it’s a nice sentiment to say that music should only be about music, fans are always interested in more: they want it all, the personal life, the inspiration, the friendship and yeah, the nudity. Bring it on, man. DeMarco’s hitting up Osheaga Music and Arts Festival this year (I’ve included him in my Top Picks) and I personally am really excited, clothes or no clothes.

Mac DeMarco performs Friday, August 1 at 9:50 p.m. at the Scène des arbres Galaxie. Osheaga takes place August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau. 

Flume’s ephemeral pulsing is something I imagine one might hear perusing the racks at American Apparel, but don’t let that somewhat abrasive association put you off. This young beatmaker from down under has serious chops; and please, don’t buy that T-shirt.

Flume, whose given name is Harley Streten, is by all reports an unassuming 22 year-old, but his self-titled first album has caused quite the reverberation— reverb being in this case, an apt modifier.

His beats are emotive and lilting and laced with that classic J Dilla warp and wooze. There is a distinct hip-hopness to Flume’s sound, but it’s also infectiously poppy and danceable. I’d go so far as to say that some of these tracks could play on pop radio, which in nearly every case is the most damning statement a critic can make.

It’s always been a preoccupation of mine, this pinning down what makes a tune more than the sum of its parts – like why is Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn so good? I don’t know, it seems to me like it should suck. But it doesn’t; it sings minory, sad and emotional right down my spine. I can’t tell you what it is, though. In Spanish they call it duende — having soul, a heightened emotional resonance, an authenticity of expression.

For real, though, Flume’s got that unquantifiable something that makes his music resonate with a listener on an emotional level. I’m so looking forward to seeing him spin at Osheaga. You should most definitely let this album play through and tell me it don’t pull you in.

Flume performs at 7 p.m. at the Piknic Électronik stage on August 1. Osheaga runs from August 1 to August 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

So you’ve scanned Montreal’s Osheaga lineup for the 9th year in a row, getting that feeling of desperate excitement, visualizing how you’re going to stake out the stage and trample the audience in your madness to get to the front… I’m doing the same, only I have a forum to air my arrogant, opinionated top picks and you all have to be subjected to it. I love it.

Anyway, this is my own personal list of who I wanna see at one of Montreal’s most explosive music festivals. Unlike Rolling Stone’s Best Guitar Players of All Time, this is not a popularity contest masquerading as a definitive collection. Nope, this is just me going through the list and saying yea or nay, in no particular order. Here we go:

Jack White

Naturally. Is that too obvious for you? Who the hell cares? He’s innovative as hell (check out his record-breaking record pressing!), and for our generation — a generation of fast food/shopping mall/computerized music/apathetic cellphone relationship crap — we should all be going down on our knees and thanking God that we’ve got Jack White. And that he’s coming to Montreal.

Half Moon Run 

These guys keep getting compared with Mumford & Sons. Honestly, fuck Mumford & Sons. Half Moon Run’s album has nothing to do with that country folk revivalist crap. They’re local to Montreal, and when artists like Half Moon Run do what they do, they’re keeping the standard of incredible Montreal musicianship high. You’ve probably heard their songs from debut album Dark Eyes being played every two seconds on the radio, but it’s about time the radio actually played something decent.


I want to see Temples for one reason, and one reason only: my band was going to be called Temples first, but these dorks beat us to the punch. Like every new band, they’ve branded themselves “psychedelic rock” and they’re coming all the way from England. They’re probably great too, the bastards.

Modest Mouse

Remember when Modest Mouse was relevant? (Good News for People Who Love Bad News changed me. But that was 7 years ago…) Anyway, are they still relevant? I’m going to Osheaga to find out.


The first time I heard him, it was in the early morning and ‘Places’ was coming from someone’s bedroom, breaking my goddamned heart. That’s how you know it’s good. I’ve never heard anything quite like his album Bad Vibes, and I started using it as my sleep album when I suffer from insomnia because Shlohmo is about as close to dreaming as you’re going to get without having to close your eyes.

Mac DeMarco

He’s twenty four years old. He’s from fuckin’ Duncan. And his albums, 2 and Salad Days, my god. Photo shoots with cigarettes raining down from heaven and songs that are so beautiful they’ll rip holes in your very existence, DeMarco is COOL. His songs are dubbed “blue wave” (probably because that’s what it feels like when you dig his stuff) and “slacker rock” (which is just silly but makes me feel better about my life), I scanned that list and couldn’t help but smile and chuck on “My Kind of Woman.” Oh baby.

Honourable Mentions

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Like God, Nick Cave is just so grandiose, I don’t even have to mention him.

Reignwolf: Another fucking wolf band?! Are you serious? Get creative, you fucks. There are more animals out there besides wolves. Aids Wolf, Wolf Parade, Wolf Mother and Reignwolf, you should all just form one big pack and go howl at the goddamned moon together.

The Dismemberment Plan: Yes, that is an actual name of an actual band. No, it is not a band made up of three homely, scorned feminists. It’s actually a couple of tragic looking white males. Maybe they’re eunuchs.

So that concludes my top picks. See you at the stages.

The 9th edition of Osheaga Music and Arts Festival takes place August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Photo by Chris Zacchia.