By Tyler Yank
One of Montreal’s most anticipated summer festivals, Osheaga 2010 (July 31 and August 1 in Parc Jean-Drapeau) will no doubt be another two-day outdoor bonanza. Both headlining bands – Arcade Fire and Weezer – recently performed at the two-week long Ottawa Bluesfest, where I was lucky enough to catch them. If you are having any reservations about coughing up 65$ for a day pass to Osheaga (or 120$ for the full-weekend pass) allow me to provide you with an idea of what to expect from the headliners, and some fair warning: Osheaga 2010 may blow île-Saint-Hélène right out of the water.
Why Arcade Fire is Worth It:
Largely, the appeal of Arcade Fire (apart from the fact that they are Montreal-ers) stems from the sheer quantity of instruments incorporated into their music, and accordingly, the great musicianship of each band member. No doubt, Arcade Fire has become widely popular since the release of their first album, ‘Funeral’ (back in 2004) when they were still relegated to the ‘somewhat-popular Canadian indie band’ genre. Yet, seeing them live in 2010 is truly something extraordinary: one fantastic, seven-piece orchestra of voices, violins, and much, much more. Dressed in a huge, baby blue dress with a giant red flower on her right shoulder, the lead female singer Régine Chassagne(married to the lead male, Win Butler!) spent the duration of the set alternating between the microphone, the drums (there were two drum sets, naturally) and the accordion – easily earning her a place on my ‘Musicians- I-Secretly-Want-To-Be’ List (right underneath June Cash). At the risk of sounding like I’m in high school, it was so, so cool – which is saying something, because I wasn’t really an Arcade Fire fan before seeing them live. In fact, the Ottawa Bluesfest scheduled them in the same timeslot as Alexisonfire, and my Dallas Green loyalties were only pushed aside due to some peer pressure. I even think I may have been scowling during the first few Arcade Fire songs. Simultaneously dancing and scowling, like a real music critic. However, by the end of the show, I recognized all of the songs (most of which were from their second album – ‘Neon Bible’), my dance moves were bordering on dangerous, and I was vaguely wondering where I could buy an accordion. Exquisite.
Why Weezer is Worth It:
Did you know that hooking your thumbs together and extending only your index and middle fingers creates a ‘w’ sign that everyone under 40 can recognize (except me, apparently)? While my incompetent transformation of this famous Weezer hand gesture started off looking like an awkward butterfly fluttering in the wind, the collection of 15 to 35 year-old men surrounding me in the Weezer-eager crowd did not seem to notice. Despite my momentary lapse in coolness, Weezer easily put on the best show I’ve attended so far this summer – the entire set list bringing me straight back to the days of cassette tapes and summer camp. While old and new songs were performed, emphasis was placed on ‘Blue Album’ classics, and sing-along’s were all the craze (hearing thousands of voices sing “HIP HIP” during ‘Island in the Sun’ was just heart-warming); essentially, Weezer lyrics are ingrained in your DNA from sixth grade onwards. During the show, Rivers also descended deep into the audience for a good ten minutes, giving those at the tail-end of the crowd a chance to participate, followed by the band performing several quick covers, including a Lady Gaga number (that featured the Rivers Cuomo in a long, white wig, prancing around the drum sets). By the end of the show, my friends and I were jumping around everywhere, arms and W’s held proudly above our heads, singing each and every word of ‘Buddy Holly’. When you attend a Weezer concert, you instantly revert back to the age of 16, and all you can do is embrace it. Don’t miss your chance.
For a full list of acts performing at Osheaga this year: http://www.osheaga.com/en/