Osheaga Festival Preview and Band Recommendations (Montreal, August 2 to 4)

Despite living a (mere) 5 hour drive away from Montreal, I have never been to the August weekend long festival that is Osheaga. Part of this is because I’ve been to Lollapalooza 4 times over the past several years, and they fall on the same weekend. The other part is because I cannot stand French people – just kidding, J’adore!

This year, I pop my Osheaga cherry and go join the fun on Parc-Jean Drapeau on Ile Ste-Hélène in Montreal. If you’re going, you probably want to know what bands are worth checking out. With a festival this strong, you really can’t go wrong without any preparation (unlike last night’s turkey dinner – 800 degrees for 2 hours is not a substitute for 400 degrees for 4 hours).

If you’re pressed for time, slightly hungover, or like being told what to do, then here are 5 bands that you should be sure to see each day at Osheaga. We’ll be reviewing the whole thing, so follow us @PeteHatesMusic and heck, we’ll even let you buy us a beer if we run into you in Montreal.

Friday August 2

Majical Cloudz, Sennheiser Green Stage, 1:00-1:30pm: The sunshine will hopefully lessen the dark, brooding stage presence of singer Devon Welsh that we witnessed at North By Northeast.

Daughter, Molson Canadian Mountain Stage, 2:50-3:30pm: Delicate, London three-piece band (that we interviewed) that write tunes that make you happy.

Alt-J, Molson Canadian Mountain Stage, 4:15-5:00pm: The current Mercury Prize winners for Best British and Irish album, they put on a strong live show.

Alt-J – Breezeblocks

Palma Violets, Galaxie Tree Stage, 5:45-6:30pm: The first band that I’m recommending that I haven’t actually seen live. Apparently their live shows are legendary, and their debut album isn’t half bad, either. Keep your eyes out for an upcoming interview on our site with them.

Beach House, Sennheiser Green Stage, 8:15-9:15pm: A well-received fourth album from the band seeing them bagging a late slot in the day. Beautiful music to watch the sun set to.

Bonus: Baauer and A Tribe Called Red both. Rich saw both of these bands at Ottawa Bluesfest and will want you to see them here at the Piknic électronik stage.

Saturday August 3

Stars, Molson Canadian Mountain Stage, 4:20-5:10pm: Canadian bedroom pop born out of Toronto and Montreal. Also cool because we interviewed them.

Tricky, Sennheiser Green Stage, 5:00-5:45pm: A legend after his debut album, Maxinquaye, currently touring his latest effort, False Idols.

Tegan & Sara, Virgin Mobile River Stage, 5:10-6:05pm: More Canadiana in Montreal. Can you really go wrong with the phrase “twin sister indie pop duo”?

Explosions in the Sky, Sennheiser Green Stage, 8:00-9:00pm: One of my favourite (post-rock) instrumental bands. If you don’t like vocal-less, ambient, slow building instrumental music, stay away. Also great music to watch the sun set to. Check out our new interview with the band, too.

Beck, Virgin Mobile River Stage, 9:05-10:45pm: In revisiting his catalogue in preparation for Osheaga, the man has 1) a lot of great albums and 2) a lot of underrated albums. He might not have radio hits (post 1996), but his albums rarely have duds. One of his few headlining dates this year – do not miss Beck.

Beck – Cellphone’s Dead

Sunday August 4

Frightened Rabbit, Virgin Mobile River Stage, 2:15-3:00pm: Scottish indie rockers who put on a good show, and have a new, solid album. I might sound like a broken record, but check back on PeteHatesMusic for an upcoming interview with the band.

Big Boi, Virgin Mobile River Stage, 5:15-6:00pm: Due to an injury, his free show in Toronto at NXNE was cancelled and we ended up with Ludacris instead. Let’s hope he doesn’t get food poisoning and Osheaga gets Ja Rule to replace him.

Father John Misty, Sennheiser Green Stage, 6:50-7:35pm: A surprisingly excellent debut record from the former Fleet Foxes drummer makes him a worthy early evening attraction.

Hot Chip, Sennheiser Green Stage, 9:45-10:45pm: The hottest I have ever been in my entire life is when I saw Hot Chip at Coachella back in 2007. Who holds a fucking festival in the desert anyway?! I have yet to see Hot Chip tour their recent and excellent 2012 album In Our Heads. They conflict with festival headliners and banjo connoisseurs, Mumford & Sons.

Mumford & Sons, Virgin Mobile River Stage, 9:15-10:55pm: For me, a conflict for the ages. I have already seen Mumford & Sons tour recent chart topping album, Babel, last summer in Portugal. Then, singer Marcus Mumford had an arm in a cast. Now, bassist Ted Dwane is recovering from a brain tumor – slightly scarier than a broken arm. People either love or hate Mumford & Sons – they’re the new Nickelback. I’m not going to try to sell them to you, but they are definitely a festival closing band.

So that’s our Osheaga 2013 recommendations. Any tips for secret beer stands, trees to hang out at, or food to avoid – post them in the comments or tweet us @PeteHatesMusic.

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