Evenko presents the OSHEAGA 2022 music festival from July 29 – 31 @ Parc Jean Drapeau
It is once again time for Osheaga! The 15th edition of the festival promises to be yet another epic adventure! But with three full days of bands performing on multiple stages, how will you determine which ones are not to be missed? To assist you in your selection process, here are my top picks for the 2022 edition.
Local heroes Arcade Fire need no introduction. They were the perfect choice to replace the Foo Fighters who cancelled all their tour dates due to the tragic death of drummer Taylor Hawkins. Having just released their new album “WE”, this gig at Osheaga kicks off their new world tour. They are guaranteed to put on an incredible show for the hometown crowd.
But in my opinion the opening night of the festival is all about The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Like many Montrealers I first discovered this power trio when they opened for Bjork at Parc Jean Drapeau in 2003. They hit the stage like a tornado with Karen O frenetically jumping about, moaning and shrieking like a banshee. Guitarist Nick Zinn layering intricate melodies using loop effects pedals before erupting into a snarling wall of distortion over top of Brian Chase’s cerebral post-hardcore drumming. They were like a hybrid of Sonic Youth, Fugazi and early Pj Harvey combined with punky 1970s bands like The Stooges & The New York Dolls. Cock rock swagger turned on its head by this badass, stylish and raunchy front woman.
The entire audience was gobsmacked wondering “Who the hell is this band?”. Thus began our city’s love affair with their music. Their debut album Fever To Tell has just been released, a raw and blistering rock album that was a sharp contrast to the mellow indie rock of their contemporaries. The album reminded us of a time when rock music was sexy and dangerous.
This love affair increased exponentially with the release of their more electronic second album It’s Blitz that spawned the hit singles “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll“. Their new album “Cool it Down” will be released in September. The band played an electrifying set at Osheaga 2018 so this will be the third time they play at Parc Jean Drapeau!
On Saturday I recommend checking out Parisian electronic duo POLO & PAN. Their eclectic music is a groovy blend of house, lounge and downtempo music with various world music styles. Their performance is guaranteed to cause big smiles and a packed dance floor.
Staying on the electronic tip, SEBASTIEN LÉGER is not be missed. Originally from France he has been living in Amsterdam for many years. In contrast to his countrymen Polo & Pan, his music is much more uptempo: a diverse blend of house, electro and techno. But don’t be fooled by the more atmospheric and melodic tracks full of trippy synths, he also produces some badass funky electro dancefloor bangers!
He is partners with British DJ Lee Burridge in the travelling event All Day I Dream that was hosted at the AIM Festival a few years ago. With that project derailed by the pandemic, Sebastien did an incredible live stream performance from the Great Pyramids in Egypt.
For all you music producers out there, I recommend following his Instagram. He often posts amazing videos of his intricate modular synthesizer setup when he is working on new songs. It is total synth porn!
Now for the rock music enthusiasts, my pick on Saturday is KHRUANGBIN. This trio from Texas blends musical styles like funk, soul, dub, rock and psychedelia with folk traditions & 1960’s pop music from countries like Iran, Thailand, Spain and Afghanistan.
Easily recognizable by the elaborate wigs they wear, their striking sense of style is just as unique as their music. They gained a wide audience by touring as the opening act for bands like Massive Attack, Bonobo and Tycho. Which led to gigs on the major festival circuit and on popular live stream shows like KEXP and Tiny Desk Concert. Their music is mostly instrumental and showcases their musicianship without degenerating into an irritating Prog Rock Jam Band fusion wank-a-thon.
Start your day with the sheer silliness of WET LEG. It has been ages since I heard an indie band that inspires such infectious fun! Their killer pop hooks, campy quirkiness and silly double entendre lyrics gets audiences immediately bouncing and singing along.
In contrast to most indie bands, they don’t take themselves too seriously, they just rock out and give the audience a reason to smile. Which of course infuriates the Fun Police Gatekeepers of Indie Cool who badmouth them on social media. Which makes me enjoy their music even more! It is impossible to not to get up and dance when your hear their hit single “Chaise Longe“, a ridiculously catchy song reminiscent of The Breeders “Cannonball“.
Continuing with uptempo rock music, IDLES is a band that delivers incendiary live performances. Their music is an aggressive assault reminiscent of Nick Cave’s old band The Birthday Party. If you are looking for a mosh pit at Osheaga, here is your chance!
They are not so easy to categorize. Some call them post-hardcore, others call them post-punk. The band refuses to be classified by any of those terms. Their stage presence is incredible to behold. They formed in Bristol in 2009 by a blend of British and Irish musicians. Their albums have met with widespread critical acclaim leading to a Mercury Prize nomination and winning several awards at ceremonies like NME Awards, Brit Awards etc…
On the flip side, LUCY DACUS creates beautiful melancholy music that blends indie pop with neo-folk. Since 2016 she has released three critically acclaimed albums on Matador Records. Her beautiful voice has a unique tone. I first discovered her music as part of the supergroup Boygenius that also features Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker. They are absolutely brilliant. I was awestruck when I first heard them. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve watched their concert at Brooklyn Steel.
In conclusion I have one final tip on how to maximize your enjoyment at Osheaga. Try spending the first half of the day at the side stages. You will discover amazing artists you have never heard of before. Plus the festival party vibes kick off much earlier on the side stages because they provide a lot of shade from the blazing sun. It can get really hot at the main stage which can lead to the crowd being pretty mellow until the headliners hit the stage.
The side stages are usually programmed with groovy electronic artists who create more of a fun dance party vibe. Which really helps pump up the crowd and get them into the spirit of a music festival.
It’s a short walk to head back to the main stage to see any bands you are interested in. Or you can wait until evening falls and just check out the main headliners. Enjoy your Osheaga Experience :) Be safe, have fun and look out for each other!
North American Premiere anyone? The “Stranger Than Kindness : The Nick Cave Exhibition” is at the Galerie de la Maison Du Festival in Montreal. It is an unprecedented look into the creative world of this fascinating musician, storyteller and cultural icon. It is no mere collection of memorabilia, it is a cohesive art installation and is open until August 7th. You can read our review here.
Simon is 20 years into a life sentence in the music biz. He's performed at major international festivals and worked with Grammy Award winners. As Music Curator for BKM he gives you a sneak peek behind the curtain...