[Event Coverage] OSHEAGA Festival – Day 3 (Cypress Hill, Jamie xx, Shad, Baths, Crystal Castles)

The Day 3 scheduling at Osheaga, more than Day 1 and Day 2, makes me to think of that common mantra about quality over quantity. There were too many must-see artists playing at the same time, which required too many early and unwanted departures mid-performance to check out other groups playing across the grounds. But I’ll be honest and admit there are bigger problems and criticisms I could have faced and articulated, like the porto-potty line ups for instance, or I dunno, being bored. I couldn’t help but laugh this morning when I got a voice message from another Osheaga-attending friend two days after he left it, calling from the media tent to ask if I had any “tips on what to do – how to stay un-bored.” If only I could have banked even a slice of his worries. I was running around like a rag doll with my head chopped off all weekend, just to keep up with the cluster fuck of artists the organizers had billed. Looking back over my Sunday experience in particular, I’m left wishing I had drawn straws and fully immersed myself in a few sets rather than skipping fleetingly across sound worlds like they’re mere lily pads in a pond. Less is more, jah?

For yesterday’s Day 2 coverage I talked about how the best advantage of mega-concerts is that they offer a little bit of a thrill (and education) for music voyeurs of all stripes, so if you’re a hard nose hip-hop fan and are wondering why I cover Baths and Crystal Castles here, please check out that article to get more of a grip on why. Or, you can click directly below to dig some unreal pics c/o moi, Pat Beaudry, and Nick Leger.

The way it works at Osheaga, is they have two alternating mega-stages side by side which acts alternate between so set-up can go on during performance. While The Stereos were doing their thing on one stage, the pot heads were gravitating towards the Cypress Hill set, some were rolling up spliffs, others were double checking whether or not their filters were still in tact, getting ready their lighters, pipes, and other pot paraphernalia.

Given people seemed there mostly to blaze, crowd favourites were a stoner medley of “I Want To Get High”, “Stoned Is The Way Of The Walk” and “Hits From The Bong”, as well as a latin-inspired percussion (Eric Bobo) vs. turntable (DJ Muggs) battle, and a stunning little solo tango shuffle dance from Sen Dog, before he, apparently, got way too stoned. “Must be your CANADIAN WEEEEEDDDDDDD” B-Real yelled. The crowd smoked it up.

Jamie xx isn’t the type of DJ that smiles and dances and jumps up and down when he phases tracks in and out, pulls back the beat, twists it inside out, then drops it again. He kinda leaves all that hype up to the crowd, if he is even aware of the existence of the crowd at all. It’s like we were watching him from behind some type of observation glass and he had no idea we were even there while he spun pretty straight forward electro tracks. Which was fine. In fact, it was awesome. Geniuses are allowed to do whatever they want. That said, we probably would have gone crazy to hear “NY Is Killing Me“. No such luck.

I’ve talked before about how I think Shad has the best smile in hip-hop, and as always it was nice to see it in full pearlies from up on the tree stage as he ran through a bunch of his hits from TSOL.

Dallas Green of City and Colour (who had a set earlier in the day) dropped by to open the set up with “Live Forever”, one of the tracks they collaborated on this past January.

He also whipped through some new stuff, but that said, I dipped out a bit early and am not sure if he played through his most recent – and ridiculously excellent – track “Flawless” with production from Frank Dukes, but I think the chances are probably there. If you know, let us know in the comments section.

There’s always a certain danger in messing with perfection, and in the case of Baths I was a little hesitant to hear what he would do with his pieces in a live setting. Baths is just one guy, Will Weisenfeld, who stands on stage alone in front of his mac and mixing board, so in such performance conditions it’s only right they should get a little inventive, but not everyone can pull it off. Will does. In his tiny gym shorts, thick glasses and loose tank, he twisted up remixes of tracks from Cerulean, musically exaggerating his physical interaction with the pots in the mixing board, flailing his arms into the air as he added glitches and stops into the mix.

“Did you hear that last one? EEEE that was kinda rough,” he admitted half giggling, referring to a mistake in phrase crossing that I’m almost fully positive no-one in the crowd noticed. “This is a true artist,” my friend next to me said. “True artists are never fully satisfied with themselves, are they?”

The Crystal Castles show was practically a straight rave. It was in the last quarter of the entire festival, right around the time when most people are realizing they only have a bit of time left to give it all they got. I think half the kids there was on E, sweaty bodies were everywhere in every contortion, as the CC light show emitted washy, almost impressionistic blotches of colour out onto the crowd. Alice Glass’s vocals were eerie, agressive, and androgynous, pulling the strings of the crowd like a cyborg dicto-bot. From what I could tell, most were submitting themselves not only fully, but willingly.

Words: Kara-Lis Coverdale
Photos: Kara-Lis Coverdale, Nick Leger, Pat Beaudry