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Osheaga Round 2: Sarah's Roundup

Posted by Sarah / August 6, 2008

The KillsDay two of Osheaga started off with a bang for me. I managed to get out of work early and get down to the island just in time to see The Kills play. They were warmly recommended by a dear friend of mine, but we have pretty incompatible taste in music, so I basically just went down there to snap a few shots of them for him. Turns out, I've heard these guys before and they're pretty freakin' great. I really loved seeing those sexy Brits play, I just wish it would've been a lot darker, and I would've been slightly more intoxicated instead of still decompressing from work. Their style is dirty, sexy, garage-ish rock with that sexy British flare, or as Mike describes them: "Lou Reed's sister having sex with a robot from the '90's". They're hard but not heavy, very dark, and their sound smells of old leather, cigarettes and booze. I will desperately chase this band down until I can see them play again in a better (darker) setting.

Then, I spent a few hours wandering around unsatisfied. The Weakerthans were never really my thing and they didn't really impress me live any more than I hoped. The Black Keys sounded like a better version of The White Stripes. MGMT bored me half to death with their lack of substance and superficial poppiness. Gogol Gordello didn't turn my crank and Duffy made me cringe. I realize that it probably sounds harsh, especially since there were so many fans there enjoying themselves and having a great time. I'm super happy for all these people and don't think any less of them for it, but this is just my taste and between the hours of 5 and 8 PM, I almost decided to go home early. I probably would have if there wasn't a totally great lineup getting ready to explode.

Broken Social Scene was a fabulous treat after all that waiting around. I sort of lost interest in the band for a while after they became so huge, but the bottom line is, they're awesome musicians with great talent and solid songs. Live, the only thing I can really say, and forgive my French here: voilà un groupe avec le sens du spectacle. They create something epic with a subtlety that sucks you right in. I was just sort of bopping around taking pictures and enjoying them until they played Anthems For a Seventeen Year Old Girl. This song rises in intensity so slowly, with the sneaky repetitions of a poem that had me singing at the top of my lungs by the end of it. I have to confess that some of my favorite Canadian musicians are part of this collective (members of my two favorite bands: Apostle of Hustle and Do Make Say Think - I also have a soft spot for Amy Millan) and I was insanely excited to see them play together. The crowd jumped right into the giant craziness as well. I wouldn't have been surprised to see the giant stage move from the sheer intensity of their screams when Kevin Drew commanded it as a therapeutic gesture.

Radio RadioWith not a second to waste, I ran over to see Radio Radio who amazed me with their charisma and slick rhymes in chiac. Yes, so they're from my home and I might be a little biased, but I honestly loved their set so much, it hurt to have it be so short.

Since the MEG stage was behind schedule, I got a chance to check out a bit of CSS who also impressed me quite a bit. They were very entertaining to watch, their songs were easy to get into and they had a fantastic stage presence.

ChromeoThen came Chromeo. What can I say? Much of their music is pre-programed, but there's still quite of bit of stuff that they actually do play live, which made it interesting. This two man band is just as good and steady live as they are on their albums. Their main guy also made a great connection with the public and sounded like one of these super nice guys, which gave the big show an intimate atmosphere.

Altogether the festival was enjoyable, though I have to say that I enjoyed the evening lineups quite a bit more than what was going on during the day. As I was reading in La Presse yesterday, I also felt that Osheaga still feels like it's a bit confused as for the direction they're trying to take in terms of what type of festival they're trying to put together. It's not completely alternative, and still far from being a family festival. Many of the artists I saw were excellent, but I didn't feel like the lineup was solid. I do get the whole variety factor though; it was nice to get the chance to check out new acts and I did have a good time.

Also, it'd be nice to have at least one cheaper food option on site and I'm pretty sick of having various businesses take advantage of the generous public. Thing is, with these all-day events, you don't really have a choice but to eat at one point in the long day. But then again, maybe I'm just too broke to see the wider picture.

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R. / August 6, 2008 at 10:24 am
Gogol Bordello didn't do it for you, but Radio Radio did?......and I'm supposed to read this as a credible music review?
Sarah / August 6, 2008 at 10:35 am
I'm sorry, I don't understand. Because I didn't like Gogol Bordello I'm not credible?
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