Osheaga 2016: 21 Must-See Acts

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As city-based festivals go, Montreal’s Osheaga is Canada’s heaviest hitter. It now has some temporal and geographic competition as Wayhome establishes itself. But with a capacity of 40,000, it’s still the country’s biggest and most prestigious festival. Osheaga has always been about variety, and 2016 is no exception. They swung for the fences with their headliners this year (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey, and Radiohead), but even all the way down to the early afternoon acts, there’s a startling amount of talent to be found. The festival’s two biggest stages, River and Mountain, are side-by-side and right by the entrance to the grounds, so it’s all too easy to plant yourself right in the middle and miss out on your new favourite band. Per our itinerary below, we’ll be running around all weekend. Here’s where you find us in Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Photo by Annemarie Wall

Photo by Annemarie Wall

Friday

Elephant Stone 1:35 @ Valley Stage

Do you like Tame Impala? Do you think sitars are cool? Then you’ll like Elephant Stone. These locals play an early set on Friday. If you’re up for a 10-hour foray on Day 1, they’re the best of the first wave.

Kaleo 2:25 @ River

This Icelandic rock act broke through in North America this year with their single “Way Down We Go”. They offer a pastiche of folk, blues and indie influences that has piqued our curiousity

Wolf Parade 4:55 @ Green Stage

We were impressed, though not blown away, by their set last weekend. But how can you resist a hometown show from these indie icons?

Beirut 5:30 @ River Stage

Another band double dipping into Wayhome and Osheaga, and another band worth revisiting. A perfect late afternoon set before the evening proceedings.

Marian Hill 7:15 @ Trees Stage

The charismatic Philly electro duo absolutely crushed it last weekend. Round 2? Yes. Yes please.

Red Hot Chili Peppers @ River Stage

Their new album is surprisingly good, and you know you know the lyrics to all of their hits. How many more chances will you get to see them?

Flume 9:50 @ Green Stage

The Australian DJ will close out Friday with a set of undemanding, feel-good bangers. Montreal is renowned for its nightlife, and Flume will put you in the proper frame of mind.

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Saturday

The Damn Truth 1:30 @ Valley Stage

Rowdy garage rock isn’t everyone’s cup of tea this early in the afternoon – I myself prefer 1:30 am to pm. But for raw, visceral energy, The Damn Truth is an easy choice.

Tennyson 2:30 @ Electronic Picnic

There isn’t a lot of info on this duo, but they create IDM with world influences. It's a very interesting combo that we’re intrigued to see live.

Frightened Rabbit 4:10 @ Valley Stage

These Scots pen anthemic tunes more often than not, and they’re joyous live. Their most recent album, Painting of a Panic Attack, was released earlier this year.

The Range 5:40 @ Electronic Picnic

Saturday is a big one for electronic music, and what better way to start than with one of the breakthrough artists of 2016? James Hinton released Potential, his third and best album as The Range, earlier this year.

Kaytranada 7:50 @ Electronic Picnic

Another local boy, Louis Celestin aka Kaytranada is having a huge year. Working with crisp house and hip-hop aesthetics, his debut album 99.9% is one of the best dance records in recent memory. His music is euphoric live, and the crowd is going to be electric.

Lana Del Rey 9:40 @ River Stage

Todd Terje & The Olsens 9:50 @ Electronic Picnic

Future 9:50 @ Green Stage

Yeah, this is a bit of a cheat, but this is a veritable smorgasbord of pop, new-school disco and hip-hop, Whatever you’re in the mood for Saturday night, there will be something for you.

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Sunday

MØ 1:40 @ River Stage

Another act from Wayhome that was good enough to see twice, MØ will get things cracking very early on Sunday.

BØRNS 2:25 @Mountain Stage

Michiganite BØRNS makes indie pop with psychedelic undertones. We’ll be seeing him based on the strength of his debut album, Dopamine, which was released late last year.

Foals 3:55 @ Mountain Stage

One of the most distinctive guitar sounds of the 2010s belongs to Foals. We caught a bit of their show last weekend and can’t wait to see an entire set.

Grimes 5:40 @ Mountain Stage

In what is sure to be one of the biggest draws of the weekend, Claire Boucher returns to the city where she started Grimes in support of Artangels, one of PMA’s favourite albums of 2015. Miss this one at your peril.

Disclosure 7:40 @ Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage is apparently the place to be on Sunday. Their sophomore album Caracal may have been a slight step backwards, but Disclosure’s live show is still phenomenal to watch (and move to).

Radiohead 8:50 @ River Stage

Radiohead make their first trip to Osheaga this year, and have been tasked with closing it out. Their new album A Moon Shaped Pool is somber and contemplative, but they’ll bring a little fire too. There is no legitimate reason to not see them.