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Music

Highlights: Osheaga, Day 1

Posted by Margot / August 1, 2010

Arcade Fire Osheaga Montreal 2010 SuburbsThere's a reason Arcade Fire was able to amass what seemed like each of the 25,000 Osheaga-goers for their return to the Montreal stage last night: because they're awesome. In the dictionary-definition sense of the word: inspiring awe, overwhelming, staggering. Of course, there were plenty of other noteworthy acts, too, so read on for a top five.

Pavement Osheaga 20101. Pavement: There's a reason that we had so much fun in the 1990s; the music rocked. Sure, I'm into what we've got now, but Pavement is representative of the original indie rock movement, and they reminded us yesterday why their music was (nay, is) straight-up good stuff to listen to. Self-aware and tongue-in-cheek, and opening with "Hi, we're Pavement, it's 1996 all over again," they played the main stage to an appreciative crowd for nearly a full hour (appreciative, of course, save for the douche-bag who threw a full cup of beer at Stephen Malkmus, who cooly brushed the incident off and kept on playing).

2. Robyn: Though slightly embarrassed that I chose to miss part of The National's set to head over to Robyn's show (which was delayed, resulting in a crowd of revelers chanting "Rob-yn! Rob-yn!"), I was not disappointed to see her intro, entourage, and the Swedish diva herself for a song or two. Dressed in white coveralls like some futuristic painting crew, Robyn's band was introduced with some weird space lift-off countdown. Adding to the hilarity were my friends actually knew the words to her new songs. Amazing.

Edwarde Sharpe Osheaga Magnetic Zeros 20103. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros: Though not necessarily one of the strongest acts, definitely an entertaining one. This vagabond group of family-band musicians is relatively new on the scene, and they're not technically that tight, but the person in me who really enjoys the Grateful Dead (and the occasional Phish concert in my adolescence) had a good time listening to these guys. Lead singer Alex Ebert just seems truly happy to be performing for "so many lovely people," and plays for the crowd. Rumours that there are relational difficulties between he and co-lead singer Jade Castrinos could have attributed to the perceived coldness between the two in Home.

4. Owen Pallett: Plays the violin like a maniac; is why I'm saving up for a loop pedal. Writes amazing music, performs the hell out of it, and gets better every time I see him. Could use a lesson from Miss Manners in how to be politely passive aggressive to completely incompetent sound techs.

Arcade Fire Osheaga Montreal 2010 Suburbs5. Arcade Fire: I'm not going to wax poetic about a band that's basically the reason the independent music spotlight was shone on Montreal about six years ago. But I will say that after three studio albums (The Suburbs is officially released on Tuesday), their live show is still amazing. Playing a good mix of classic crowd sing-along pleasers from Funeral, a surprising few from Neon Bible, and a number of yet-to-be-released pieces, the crowd of musicians said they were happy to be home last night. One of my new favourites is a song that Régine sang in the encore, a great Blondie-ish pop song about Boulevard Taschereau. And thanks to the International Fireworks competition, a good portion of their set was highlighted by exploding colours and lights in the sky.

Photo thanks go to Nadia Davoli, the Osheaga Festival, and Patrick Callaghan

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