There was a little juggling again with the schedule on Day 2 as Montreal DJ Deadmau5, who had collapsed while playing a show recently, had cancelled his appearance. Canadian band Metric graciously stepped into the slot right before headliners Weezer, which come to think of it was not such a great sacrifice.
I started off my day at the Ariane Moffat set. Now, I have to admit that I have been curious about this Quebecoise star, but have never seen her play live and don't really know her material. I have just heard great things about her, so I was looking forward to "discovering" this local talent. Wearing a striped dress and a very cool pair of Rayban sunglasses, Moffat took the stage around 3:30 p.m.
Not intimidated by the fact that she was playing on one of the large stages she seemed completely at ease with her surroundings. Even acknowledging the hot temperature, she welcomed her fans "bronzés" as she took her place at the piano. Very mature for an artist as young as she is as it seems like she can adapt what she does on stage depending on who she is playing for. Capable of playing somberly on the piano or pepping things up by grabbing a tambourine and rocking out. I could see right off why she has become a star here and other places in the world (she leaves for a tour of China next) as she has genuine stage presence and seems to love performing, which is a contagious demeanour.
Next up at 4:20 was The Black Keys. The duo have experience with Osheaga as they played the festival two years ago. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney blew the crowd away then and built upon that feeling this year. For roughly 40 minutes they had the crowd eating out of their hands.
Hailing from Ohio this indie rock band was greeted by a large crowd gathered around the River Stage for their set. Firmly in the Jimi Hendrix area of rock and similar to The White Stripes with only a drummer and a guitarist, The Black Keys rounded out their live sound by having a bassist and a keyboardist play with them.
The two are music veterans having released seven albums over the span of their career, but still they are not guys with huge stage presence. And that kind of works for them as they have music that is quite introspective and draws you in. The crowd did not seem to need them to be engaging and jumping around as they were loving what they were hearing.
Rapper Snoop Dogg played on the large Mountain Stage around 6:30 p.m. A large crowd gathered to watch the veteran Californian rapper. If you have seen him perform before you know how comfortable a performer he is on stage. With his laid back demeanour, he lead his smaller-that-usual accompanying band through numbers like Carmina Burana, Gin & Juice and That's That. With his catchy beats, weed references and cool persona he I'm sure brought more fans over to the Snoop Dogg camp.
Starting just before the headliners Weezer were the crown princes of 80s one hit wonders, Devo. Yes, they are still around and even released an album recently. They took the stage just after 9 p.m. in their iconic Lego robot headgear, but it was interesting to see that their hair had just a little grey in it. My, how time flies!
Paying homage to their new wave roots the band did not disappoint. Accompanied by a huge screen that played colourful clips along with their songs, it was slightly weird in the beginning to see these five guys on stage together again. It has been roughly 20 years since they released any new music. But as one of the two Mothersbaugh brothers, Bob, stated, "It is 2010 and we are ready to whip it again!" They seemed game, so many of my doubts went away.
To be fair, the band did not seem all that rusty despite having been out of the live show scene for many a year. The band's catchy electro pop beats and silly lyrics made for a head bobbing good time.
It fell to American rock band Weezer to close up Osheaga's fifth edition and they did it in style. Playing a set that really rewarded their fans, Weezer played hit after hit during their set. From the opening notes of "Hash Pipe" the band, led by that weird little man – Rivers Cuomo, got the party going. The filled the summer night with a mix of songs from the beginning of their catalogue right up until the present.
Cuomo, in his typical "nerdy" attire, reminded the crowd of how the band played at the (dearly departed) Spectrum in 1995. This show was of a completely different scale and the frontman seemed totally aware of that. Showing no signs of his serious injuries from a tour bus accident over this past winter, Cuomo was all over the place, dancing around energetically. What can you say about a supposed rock star that at one point during the show brought a white parrot onstage with him? Strange, but it worked.
Seemingly feeding off the energy from the crowd, the band were the consummate professionals and pulled out every trick in the rock star book. They threw out huge beach balls into the crowd, while his bandmates were off doing something else the lead singer took pictures of himself with fans, signed autographs, hid underneath the stage, and Cuomo showed his savvy by stealing an Expos baseball cap from a member of the crowd and wearing it to the delight of the crowd. The man knows how to please. He even made a joke out of the fact that all that he could remember from his high school French classes was the phrase "Have you heard from my brother. Yes, he is Italian".
By the time the band got to the final third of their set that included MGMT and Lady Gaga (??) covers the crowd was going wild. The band could do no wrong. And they didn't. You couldn't help but have a smile on your face during it all. They definitely showed what they are capable of live and that they get it – a concert should be all about the fans and not the band. Smart boys!
Well, you can chalk this year's edition of Osheaga up to being a huge success. Beating last year's attendance figure (40,000) by a mile, an estimated 53,000 people attended the festival this year. Each year the figure goes up and up and that is what you want from a music festival as an organizer. What is more positive than the raw numbers is the fact that more than half of the attendees come from outside of Montreal. It is an event that music lovers deem worthy to travel to. Osheaga is now an anticipated event that happens at the beginning of August each year – the growing pains seem to be gone. This is pretty good news for a festival whose future was touch and go as recently as 2007.
Ariane Moffat (partial) Setlist:
3) Le Coeur Dans la Tête
4) Paper Planes (MIA cover)
1) Don't Shoot (I'm a Man)
3) What We Do
4) Going Under
6) That's Good
7) Girl U Want
8) Whip It
9) Planet Earth
10) (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (Rolling Stones cover)
11) Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers cover)
12) Uncontrollable Urge
14) Jocko Homo
15) Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
16) Gates of Steel
17) Freedom of Choice
18) Beautiful World
2) Hash Pipe
3) Trouble Maker
4) Undone (The Sweater Song)
5) Surf Wax America
6) Perfect Situation
7) Dope Nose
8) Say It Ain't So
9) Can't Stop Partying
10) Island in the Sun
11) El Scorcho
12) My Name is Jonas
13) Beverly Hills
14) Pork and Beans
15) Kids (MGMT cover)
16) Poker Face (Lady Gaga cover)
17) If You're Wondering
18) Buddy Holly