Another Osheaga 2016 Guide
Our List of Who to Look Out for This Weekend
Osheaga kind of sucks.
In general, outdoor music festivals kind of suck unless you’re into watching a lot of musicians play for a short amount of time in extreme heat.
Entering its eleventh year, Osheaga, which is held at Montreal’s gravel dust storm island—known locally as Parc Jean Drapeau—has become a “foreign” getaway for fraternities and sororities up and down the east coast.
If you bought a $100-plus ticket for this weekend’s three-day event, be prepared to rub shoulders with tank top bros with nice biceps, wait in long lines for insect-infested port-a-johns, and sneeze from the pollinated flowers lurking behind every female attendee’s right ear.
Also get stoked for three-days of talented artists from as far as Germany and as close as Montreal’s South Shore. The lineup this year is absent of big mainstream names like Kendrick Lamar or Outkast of years past, but there’s definitely artists on each day to get excited about.
Here’s a few we’re looking forward to seeing.
Caveboy: 1:00 p.m.
Born and bred in this strange bilingual city, Caveboy is a self-described “dreamy synth pop” band. Comprised of Michelle Bensimon, Isabelle Banos and Lana Cooney, the trio has begun garnering media buzz and almost comically appeared on Breakfast Television recently. The reason for the acclaim? Their debut EP, simply titled Caveboy, was released last year and honestly sounds legit. Think of a less melodramatic, poppier version of The XX or a more synthy version of Haim.
Silversun Pickups: 3:55 p.m.
“I’ve been waiting. I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life—but it’s not quite right.”
That line from the Californian band’s song, “Lazy Eye,” struck the core of angsty teens around the world in 2008. What is this moment and why did they wait all their life for it? Those are just some of the questions fans in attendance will have this Friday afternoon.
Like also, what the heck happened to the Silversun Pickups? They’ve certainly dropped off since their hit, “Panic Switch,” appeared in that creepy, overly-sexualized Zack Snyder film, Sucker Punch. There’s been another album and a hyped single released since, but for the most part, they’ve gone AWOL.
This is not to discourage anyone from seeing them—the foursome of Brian Aubert, Nikki Monniger, Chris Gunlao, and Joe Lester have a tight sound live. Just listening to Aubert’s best Smashing-Pumpkins-unnatural-high-pitch-shriek impression is worth Friday’s admission alone.
Years & Years: 7:15 p.m.
One of Years & Years music videos has over 150 million views on Youtube. Another three have at least 50 million. Those are Bieber-level view counts, but for the most part this young electronic trio seems unheard of, at least in the U.S. and Canada.
Led by Olly Alexander on the lead vocals—who’s also the star of almost every video—the London-based group is a more synthy, slightly less cheesy version of One Direction. Not the highest praise but their stuff is catchy and obviously appealing to millions around the world. It’ll be interesting to see what’s up with them.
Vince Staples: 9:00 p.m.
There are not enough superlatives to describe the 22 year old from Long Beach, California. Read this Fader feature or watch this video. Guarantee you’ll fall in love with Vince Staples’s dry wit and fine-tuned observations.
As a rising pop culture icon, Staples is almost unmatched. As a musician and rapper, there’s similar vibes. It’s a far-cry from the jazzy hip-hop and emotional trap music we’ve grown accustomed to. Backed by a slow production full of bass, his lyrics are hard, unapologetic, yet patient as he describes life as a Black man and former gang member in modern America. He goes on 20 minutes earlier than the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but please don’t go leave his set to see the Chili Peppers. C’mon, guys.
Kaytranada: 8:00 p.m.
We interviewed this guy from the suburbs south of Montreal last year before the release of his debut album, 99.9%. Lucky us because Kaytranada—whose real name is Louis Kevin Celestin—has blown up since. As a producer, Kaytra first made his name remixing Janet Jackson’s song, “If.” With his own original score, the local boy turned international superstar has collaborated with some of the biggest names in hip hop right now, such as Syd tha Kyd, Anderson Paak, and Vic Mensa. Anyone looking to dance and have fun must see his set on Saturday.
Melanie Martinez: 1:00 p.m.
This is going to be one big pity party.
Melanie Martinez is kind of weird—the good kind of weird. Think: a precursor to Grimes, or perhaps a kawaii Lana Del Rey. Her music—while definitely not up everyone’s alley—is a unique mix of electropop and music box melodies, harmonized by Martinez’s sugary-sweet vocals.
Now, with a foot in the door after releasing her first full length album, Cry Baby, last Summer, Martinez has been soaking in the love and attention of Tumblr girls everywhere. Singing twisted tunes laced with heavy lyrics, her sound manages to be catchy and fun while still maintaining dark undertones.
She’ll be one of the opening acts on Sunday afternoon, so come early and check her out!
St. Lucia: 3:25 p.m.
An 80’s style synth-pop quintet, St. Lucia is a solid band with super positive vibes. Fronted by South African-native Jean-Phillip Grobler and his partner-in-crime, Patricia Beranek, the band boasts not only some awesome musicians—Nick Paul, Ross Clark and Nick Brown—but a freaking married couple. In an era where long-lasting relationships are rarer than ever, it’s incredibly refreshing to see two people in love—eleven years!—making music together.
With two albums out, St. Lucia has been making the rounds across the globe, from opening for beloved Two Door Cinema Club to touring some of the raddest festivals around, such as the Governor’s Ball in New York City and now on Montreal’s very own man-made island of Parc Jean Drapeau.
St. Lucia’s show should be full of catchy beats, smooth vocals and slick synths that you can bust your best 80’s dance moves to.
Grimes: 5:40 p.m.
Claire Boucher and Montreal go way back; like old friends, they’re always happy to see each other. Well, we’re not sure about McGill—the prestigious university kicked her out while she was studying neuroscience for throwing haphazard shows in an abandoned textile factory, later dubbed “Lab Synthese.” But the rest of us? We’re fucking stoked to see the coolest chick in Canada.
Calling her sound something like “ADD music,” Grimes’s unique blend of electronic music, poppy synth, russian rap and dreamy instrumentals is all over the place—and we love it. It seems as though her third and latest LP Art Angels only gets more popular by the day, garnering love from her home country all the way to Japan, with every stop in between.