To be honest, I’m a little too old to be part of the target audience for the organizers of Osheaga. 15 years ago, when the festival started, things were still going well. I’m from the Lollapalooza generation, my ideal for a big festival doesn’t really exist anymore, except maybe in Primavera, in the Iberian Peninsula. But hey, the one who was to cover the festival for the Canal had caught COVID, so I picked her up on Sunday. To balance my grouchy old perspective, I invited my two daughters, ages 13 and 15, to join me.
With the contribution of LP Labrèche in words and Alexanne Brisson in photos.
Between the three of us, we knew the majority of the guests: me, it’s rockers and rappers, they’re pop and TikTok artists. We had some common ground: we should not miss Wet Legand it was necessary to avoid Machine Gun Kelly as much as possible. Like what apples never fall very far from the apple tree.
Start of the day under the sun
We arrive early so as not to miss Genesis Owusu. I was hoping for a full group like Owusu presents it on occasion, but we were rather entitled to a version with backing tracks, the musicians being swapped for three dancers/hypemen. Anyone familiar with the flamboyant Australian singer and rapper knows he’ll get noticed even on a shoestring, and he does. Spectacular openness for the day, and level of energy pretty much unmatched by the others thereafter. My girls’ verdict: He’s weird, but he puts on quite a show.
After a brief look at Coco & Clear Clear (there is something charming about their amateurism, but it’s still very, very thin), we go to the main stages to try to see Gracie Adams (because an app compares her to Olivia Rodrigo). We arrive in the middle of the set of Sam Fender, a good boy whose pop-rock will never bother anyone. My daughters’ verdict: It’s not their style, but at least her voice isn’t whiny (a criticism they level at Justin Bieber as well as Win Butler).
None of us three have the patience to wait Grace, so we’re going to try the Ferris wheel. The line is a bit long, but the three of us get along: it was worth it, and the presence of free rides on the site is a good thing. Some will say it has nothing to do with music, but I would say that some of the guest artists paradoxically have very little to do with music too.
Cross to the other side!
Back to the Green/Valley pair of scenes to see Mahalia, Jamaican-born British soul singer. She attracts a small mass of playful fans who manage to make a lot of noise. Her secrets about her loves and her relationship with her body make her very endearing. Music-wise, it’s smooth and well-played, but like many artists this weekend, the whole thing depends on a backing track that provides backing vocals and some sound effects. The drummer therefore certainly has a metronome playing in his ear, which makes the whole square, impeccable, but a bit robotic. Girls’ verdict: She’s great.
LP: Oh hi family! While you guys were having fun between all those shows, I went and rocked my pelvis to the Mexican beats of La Dona. The American carries on her arms the heritage of Mexican music which she brings up to date with her two companions: Naomi Garcia and Tano Brock who are also childhood friends. The family side and especially comfortable on stage means that we embark on its proposal as if it were our high school friend who finally found herself on stage. A very good concert. I can’t say the sameInhale which counts in particular on the presence of Bono’s son. This rather generic performance inspired Marc-André Mongrain who, diving into my student job in a pharmacy in his early twenties, said: “At 23, you sold generic drugs and he made generic tunes. Back to the regular program.
Another trip to the main stage to see girl in red, a Norwegian pop-punk singer proudly out of the closet who piques my daughters’ curiosity. However, we arrive a little early and we have to undergo a good part of the set of Royal Blood. The duo’s hard rock pop is quite successful, but the drummer wants the public to let go of his madness. He even looks angry that his fans don’t do more. They are however numerous and agitated, there is a circle pit and all. What more does he want? A fire? Murders? Calm down, dude. The world is having fun. Endings of songs are so endless that my girls are exhausted before even the arrival of girl in red. We stay for a handful of songs from the latter, and the three of us get along: she’s very good, but here we need a break. Verdict of my daughters for Royal Blood “When do they end? »
Yet another move to the smaller stages for eating and waiting Wet Leg listening Lucy Dacus. The indie rocker from Virginia makes an appreciated effort to use her slightly rusty French, which she says she studied for six years. Even if, as she says, “my grammar sucks,” it does a lot to charm her audience. And when she asks the audience “Who here is gay?” » by presenting his play Kissing Lessons, she is answered with the 2nd loudest cry I’ve heard all day. Girls’ verdict: She’s good.
Next come to the scene of the trees Wet Leg, which will provoke THE loudest cry of the weekend. This group attracts a particular segment of the public of Osheaga, the one who is closer to my age and in whom I recognize myself a little more. The female duo from the Isle of Wight, accompanied by their drummer and bassist, were eagerly awaited. Their debut album, released earlier this year, is fun through and through, and the band is clearly not at all jaded by the success that smiles upon them. We are entitled to 45 minutes of pogo, good humor and jokes that fly deliciously low. (For the scream, go listen to the song Ur Mum and you’ll understand.) Girls’ Verdict: “Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! »
To end the day in a more restful and comfortable way, we choose to settle on the grass mound far in front of the main stages for the main course and the reason why my girls wanted to be there today: Dua Lipa. Our precautions and our advance make us undergo a good 20 minutes of Machine Gun Kelly, the epitome of all the quirks of LA: it’s desperate to be cool, it’s rowdy, whiny, flashy, but ultimately empty. The guy who does everything to be the target of tabloids and Internet rumor mills constantly complains about what people say about him on the Internet. Go hide in the mountains of Idaho, big boy! No one is holding you back.
I leave my daughters alone like grown-ups and I go back and forth to see at least a little piece of‘Idles, but the sound is curiously at an insufficient volume, and there is something that annoys me in the routine order of their stage performance. You’d think these British neo-punks would be an intruder on the lineup, but their lack of spontaneity suits the weekend pretty well in general.
LP : oh hello again Mathieu, if I may say so, towards the end of the performance, Joe Talbot replaced a young man who accused him of being afraid to go down in the crowd. To which he replied: I worked to get on stage man and so what if I’m afraid? Can’t you respect my limits? Do you want me to do something that I don’t want to do?” The crowd started to go up against the guy who had just been replaced and as everyone wanted to settle the whole thing with their fists (always the best idea right?) Joe Talbot intervened to say that the guy didn’t did not need to be replaced, but to be supported and surrounded by love. It’s quite the most peace and love rock proposal I’ve seen in recent years. The Robitailles are yours.
Sparkling Dua Lipa… but…
So I come back quickly to find my big ones, who are very happy to have more than an hour of music where they know all the songs. What to say about Dua Lipa who hasn’t been said yet? She is at the top, she is the heiress of the queens of pop music who came before her. We think of Madonna, Janet Jackson, Pink, Lady Gaga, Abba, etc. Everything is run in, everything sounds good, nothing seems too synthetic, it’s flawless. The singer is surrounded by a dozen dancers and we witness a tornado of perfect bodies moving to the rhythm of a distillation of decades of pop music, recovering bits of various currents to create a Frankenstein of catchy melodies and uplifting rhythms. It’s blood-curdling.
I can’t help but think that this music is the opposite of individual expression. It’s the fruit of a huge team, led by dream salespeople, united to highlight an ex-model who reveals absolutely nothing to us about herself when she’s on stage. She has it all, and millions of fans around the world are ready to give her even more. She risks nothing significant, and she gets absolutely everything.
Manifestation of capitalism number 743,765, you will tell me. What’s the use of being offended, made there? I know, I shouldn’t be surprised. But I can’t help but think: what am I doing to my daughters by exposing them to such an impossible example to follow? How can a young girl watch Miss Lipa without her self-esteem suffer? I wanted to make them happy with these tickets, but I’m afraid I’ll break them for life. I console myself with the thought that we can at least talk about these things honestly on the subway on the way home. They accompanied me to see Dua Lipabut I dare to hope that the girl in red, Dacus and Wet Leg they saw today will stick in their minds as a counterbalance to the tyranny of the perfect image that manifested itself in various ways in Osheaga.
Photo credit: Alexanne Brisson