Osheaga 2014 – Executive Summary Day 2 (Saturday Review)

Osheaga 2014 Day 2: Jack White rocks the crowd, while I take notes in an non-sober manner.

Today was equally humid, with threats of thunderstorms in the weather forecasts. Thankfully, they never panned out, much like my music career.

Local Natives: The band have a couple of solid albums under their belts and brought their indie collection to the Montreal crowd. I missed half of their set due to meeting some folks up from New Jersey (the Mario Kart folks from Day 1) and partaking in some parking lot drinking, as the kids say.

"We'll seduce you with our harmonies" - Volcano Choir, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

“We’ll seduce you with our harmonies” – Volcano Choir, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

Upon hearing You & I and the lovely falsetto chorus, I regretted exchanging sobriety for half of their set. Well, sort of.

Airplanes garnered large cheers upon its intro and was tight sounding, adding to the regret I had accumulated.

Who Knows, Who Cares continued the stretch of excellent vocals, with sustained harmonies throughout the chorus.

I only caught four songs but they were a band in fine form, musically and vocally. A solid (half) set.

Volcano Choir: I admittedly don’t know too much from the Justin Vernon / Collections of Colonies of Bees project. I do know Justin Vernon has collaborated with Kanye West to much acclaim as well as being a part of hugely successful Bon Iver, so that must count for something.

The band had a mix of melodic and harder, less catchy songs. They had several singers and a few meandering songs that never really captured my attention.

At times, the band’s music lacked the depth a band that lists 7 members in their touring line up should have.

While vocally and musically apt, the tunes didn’t really do it for me on the Saturday afternoon. Maybe an afternoon session with their discography and my stereo would be a better use of my time.

HAIM: The California sister trio are designed for festivals. Full of energy and dancey pop songs, they make people want to dance. And since the rain held off until this point, why not dance?!

The band immediately got the fans moving with hit Falling. The cameramen had a field day filming, with their instructions apparently to pan from foot to head for each of the female members (a tactic that also applied to the back up dancers in J. Cole’s show).

"This is my rockin' out look" - HAIM, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

“This is my rockin’ out look” – HAIM, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

If I Could Change Your Mind was next, and the unflattering and unsexy faces from the bassist continued. Do you remember the freeze frames of Monster Beyoncé from the Super Bowl? Well, you didn’t need to pause this set to see the unflattering facial expressions in HAIM.

The band definitely needed some louder volume from their set to maximize the dance potential. The band wanted the crowd to shake their asses to My Song 5, while they tore through a nice guitar riff and slow groove.

The set finished with catchy hits such as Save Me and The Wire. During one song, they promoted the deplorable act of asking fans to get put up on the shoulders of their friends – clearly the worst thing one can do at a concert. Why?! I didn’t pay $250 to look at your pimply back.

"Let me block your view" - HAIM, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

“Let me block your view” – HAIM, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

More rocky and less dancey than I expected, it was the fun sort of set crowds love and I pretty much hoped for.

Basia Bulat: After friends raved about the excellent Modest Mouse show in Toronto on Friday, I made the tough call of leaving after a few Modest Mouse songs to catch Basia Bulat. We caught the end of Gold Rush and it’s fast pace, followed by the equally excellent Heart of my Own, with Basia demonstrating her many instrumental talents by playing the harpsichord.

When I saw her in Toronto, she was part of a six-piece band. Osheaga saw her as the singer of a small three-piece act.

She had a joking diva moment before Snakes and Ladders, asking for her keyboard to be turned down. How does the sound board put up with her?! The upbeat track from her first album had her in high spirits and the crowd bobbing along with equal enthusiasm. Five Four followed, from recently shortlisted Polaris Prize album Tall Tall Shadow.

"I play every instrument" - Basia Bulat, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

“I play every instrument” – Basia Bulat, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

She brought out a backing vocalist for Someone and she remained for the rest of the set. The next track, Run, had a synth sound that sounded like the beginning of OutKast’s B.O.B, which was fitting. The track was an interesting take on the song.

The Wire – not a HAIM cover – continued the organ sound from Basia Bulat, with the slow intro leading to a loud drum backing part.

Basia spoke some French, which pretty much lost me, as I’m one of those ignorant folks who only really speak one language. However, I was rewarded along with the rest of the crowd with the title track from recent album Tall Tall Shadow. The band shared a few smiles between Basia messing up a few notes on the keyboard, but the song was excellent in general. Never Let Me Go with its emotional harmonies was well executed. A wonderful set from Basia Bulat and her band.

Jack White: Sorry J. Cole and Nick Cave, I was only using you to get as close to Jack White as laws would let me. However, Nick Cave was impressive with his set and desire to go into the crowd when he sings. But let’s talk about Jack.

Jack White, Osheaga 2014 (Copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

Jack White, Osheaga 2014 (Copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

Icky Thump immediately got the crowd into the Jack White way of rocking things, with repeated rock riffs exciting the crowd.

Fell in Love with a Girl was played at a blistering pace, with the crowd more than happy to try and drown out White’s vocals.

Lazaretto slotted in effortlessly, with a nice display of solo riffs, too. White even took a tumble on stage, but stayed on his back and played, and tried to make it look like he meant it.

Freedom at 21 kept the high tempo going, with White finally addressing the crowd, asking if they were there. Oh, we’re there, Jack.

Hotel Yorba prompted a sing along, while Temporary Ground slowed things down a bit. Love Interruption kicked the riffs and rock into high gear, with some jams extending the track.

"Let me blow your mind and ears" - Jack White, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

“Let me blow your mind and ears” – Jack White, Osheaga 2014 (copyright: PeteHatesMusic)

A ‘cover’ of The Raconteurs’ hit Steady As She Goes was next, with some more jams showing off the impressive guitar work an backing band up on stage.

3 Women followed, and Jack White coolly made reference to Montreal when saying where he had women, while he sat and played the piano.

Another slow singalong broke out, as White played We’re Going to Be Friends.

Blunderbuss was highlighted by the stand up bass, which was part of the six piece band that White had on stage.

Like the studio version, Ball and Biscuit was full of tongue-wagging great solos and riffs, with White starting things up with a foot kicked beat. This track ended the regular set.

The Hardest Button to Button kicked off the encore, with a crowd clap along all but inevitable. Sixteen Saltines showed some slightly wary vocals from White, but the track was high tempo and loud.

White said the next track was his next single, and launched into Would You Fight For my Love?, continuing the smoldering chemistry between Jack and the violinist. The camera focused on White’s foot, and he started kicking his white boots, slowly establishing a beat and launching into Seven Nation Army. The crowd hummed the beat throughout the song, and the band stopped playing during the last verse, letting the crowd do the tough work. The crowd was in fine form, with White smiling at the love he was deservedly being shown. A man in fine form, seemingly getting better live over 10 years into his career.

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