Let me just start by saying this: woah. Osheaga 2014, it’s been real.
And I don’t say that because I had my media accreditation for the first time. I don’t say that because we had exceptionally good weather. I say woah because, quite honestly, I didn’t have the fondest memories of my first few rounds at Osheaga, and this year’s edition completely blew my mind. Whereas Parc Jean-Drapeau used to be stupidly crowded, this year’s attendees could navigate between the seven scenes quite efficiently; indeed, many smart improvements were made to ease traffic flow – 45,000 people, every day! – something that used to be one of Osheaga’s main drawbacks.
Being there as a new media also gave me the opportunity to experience Osheaga with a totally new set of eyes. I observed how people dressed (cut-off denim shorts and teeny tiny crochet tops, mostly), how they reacted to new artists and how the logistics affected them, all while sharing my thoughts and snaps in real time on my social media accounts.
It was a fascinating way to live Osheaga. Fingers crossed I can do that again next year!
Osheaga 2014 – A Photo Recap
Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of rap music, preferring heavy guitar riffs to groovy rhymes. But Childish Gambino had such a raw energy to him – not to mention his saucy dance moves – that it was hard not to enjoy the show.
While it was not one of my favourite act as far as music is concerned, it was definitely one of the most entertaining (also a joy to photograph, as per demonstrated above!). And frankly, I feel this is what Osheaga is about: discovering new artists, and having a damn good time while doing so.
Foster the People was one of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing live. I am a big fan of their new record, Supermodel, and I wasn’t let down – neither was the crowd, apparently, judging by their lively reaction to the band’s succession of hits (Coming of Age, Helena Beat, Houdini, and of course, Pumped Up Kicks). Their performance made me want to get tickets to their next show, just so I can hear their full set.
CHVRCHES was also a very enjoyable act, although I am not certain that having a synthpop gig in the middle of the afternoon was the wisest choice; I feel like an evening performance would have done this very talented bunch of Scottish lads better justice, especially on a smaller scene since their stage decor was quite sparse. It was still nice to hear Lauren Mayberry say that Osheaga was just about the best festival, though.
One of the biggest surprises of Osheaga this year, in my case, was Kate Nash’s energetic gig. I knew her as a folkish, almost cutie pie kind of singer but she completely transformed her style, becoming a punk revival princess in the process. And it suits her extremely well; she and her musicians delivered one hell of a performance, giving a more upbeat twist to her classic hits Foundations, Do Wah Do and Mouthwash.
Quick anecdote: while telling the crowd that she had a nightmarish journey to Montreal, she started wheezing a bit, quickly asking if anyone had any Ventolin, “the dorkiest thing I’ve ever done on stage”, she said. I found it quite adorable, to be honest, and almost ran to the stage to lend her my own inhaler!
Talk about a happy homecoming! Montreal’s dearest electro duo, Chromeo, was back to their hometown after being away on tour for several months. Their happy mood was contagious, and even the photographers in the pit zone were smiling and head-nodding to the funky beat. Honestly, if you want to have a good time and dance like nobody’s watching, just go see Chromeo.
Of the most appreciated novelties this year were the many chill-out zones throughout the site. Nestled in the woods away from the warm rays of the sun, these areas acted as a much-needed space for taking breaks during performances. Having these new zones also played a major role in regulating the massive flows of people flocking from one end of Parc Jean-Drapeau to another, giving the impression that the site wasn’t as crowded as it used to be.
The weekend ended on a high note for me, for two reasons; first off, I discovered Lorde’s magnetic presence on stage. She captivated the entire audience with her deep voice and alluring dance moves – her wild mane alone deserves a prize for its outstanding performance! I only knew of Royals and Team, but I returned home later that night and immediately purchased her album, listening to it religiously ever since (I’m at 14 listens so far).
But the main reason why I enjoyed Osheaga so fully this year is because of Arctic Monkeys. Having been a fan since 2007, having seen them live over 6 times on two continents and having stuck along their musical evolution throughout the years has made me nothing short of an expert on the topic. Their newest album, AM, has already been deemed one of the best records of all time by NME and Rolling Stone magazine, and luckily the live version did not disappoint (especially Knee Socks, Arabella and One for the Road, and from their previous record, the ever so rarely played 505). Alex Turner definitely turned the sexy switch on with his early Elvis hip moves and sultry eyes, a far cry from the skinny teenager he used to be.
Whether or not you love the Arctic Monkeys for their non-traditional good looks, it’s impossible to deny the musical geniuses they are, growing up from blurting out genuinely brilliant lyrics about their hometown’s prostitutes to the intricately crafted, complex love ballads and the sexy after-midnight vibes found on AM. The perfect way to end Osheaga 2014, in my opinion, and one of the best performances of the weekend.