Canada turned 150 this year, and it’s still pulling out all the stops for what’s turning into a year-long party. If there were time to come up and experience the best of what the country has to offer — including its premier festival experience — Montreal from August 4-6 isn’t a bad bet. A metropolitan cultural hub, Montreal is also home to Osheaga, Canada’s biggest, baddest festival of the year. As you might expect, this year’s lineup features some excellent Canadian content, including heavy hitters like the Weeknd, Broken Social Scene and Death from Above, fixtures like Plants and Animals, badbadnotgood and Arkells, and up-and-comers like Majid Jordan, Harrison and Samito.
Osheaga’s undercard is quite strong this year, so while it’s easy to post up at the festival’s two biggest stages, River and Mountain, we will, as usual, be scrambling from stage to stage. The festival is shifting to Île Notre-Dame this year, instead of the usual Parc Jean-Drapeau. Here's where you'll find us this weekend. Grab a poutine from Dunn’s or a smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s and enjoy.
1:00pm – Samito @ Valley Stage
We’re starting with local product Samito. Originally from Mozambique, this multi-lingual artist works in English, French, Portugese and Tswa. He’s an otherworldly blend of world music, acoustic and electronic elements. He released his self-titled debut last year.
2:45pm – Angel Olsen @ River Stage, or badbadnotgood @ Green Stage
Take your pick: Smooth, classy indie rock or jazzy instrumental electronica. Angel Olsen released one of the strongest albums of last year, whereas badbadnotgood’s gleeful live abandon is always thrilling.
3:25pm – London Grammar @ Mountain Stage
London Grammar just dropped their follow-up to their magnificent 2013 debut, If You Wait. Moodier and more contemplative this time around, London Grammar seem to have found a groove live, intense and soaring.
4:10pm – Glass Animals @ River Stage
Glass Animals’ meek, dimpled arrangements can be thunderous in a live setting. Expect early hits like “Gooey” peppered in among a rundown of their latest LP, How To Be A Human Being.
5:40pm – Car Seat Headrest @ Green Stage
Teens of Denial was my favorite album of 2016. I’ve never seen Car Seat Headrest live before. You bet I’ll be there.
9:45pm – Lorde @ River Stage
Lorde returns for her second round at Osheaga — this time as a headliner. She appeared in 2014 when she was still 17, in awe of the size of the crowd she’d drawn. Expect a little more maturity and polish, and all the big cuts from her excellent new album Melodrama.
1:00pm – Harrison @ Island Stage
Prodigious Toronto beatmaker Harrison makes his Osheaga debut and offers an opportunity to shake out the cobwebs early. This is sure to be a rousing start to your Saturday.
3:25pm – Temples @ Valley Stage
Mellotrons abound, Temples are touring in support of their sophomore album Volcanos. If Tame Impala are your cup of tea, you’ll dig this British four-piece.
3:45pm – Sofi Tukker @ Island Stage
If you miss Harrison, New York-based Sofi Tukker offer breezy dance music perfect for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. They don’t have an LP yet. Consider it a chance to get in on the ground floor.
6:30pm – Broken Social Scene @ Mountain Stage
The legendary indie group released their first record in 7 years just last month, and it’s like they never left. No other show this weekend beckons quite as strongly to scream along at the top of your lungs.
7:20 – Solange @ River Stage, or Arkells @ Green Stage
Should be an easy choice based on genre preference. Arkells will likely receive a warmer welcome, how can you deny Solange, who dropped A Seat at the Table (a career and year-defining album) last year?
8:20pm – Father John Misty @ Valley Stage
If all you need is total entertainment forever, Father John Misty is your man on Saturday night. His stage presence is massive, a blend of irony and sincerity. His latest album, Pure Comedy, took his detached, incisive perspective to new heights.
To close out the night, take your pick between Nicolas Jaar @ Island Stage at 9:25, Cloud Nothings @ Tree Stage at 9:35, or Muse @ River Stage at 9:20.
1:30pm – Cherry Glazerr @ River Stage
We’ll begin our Sunday with California upstarts Cherry Glazerr, who make indie rock with a mean streak. The title of their new album, Apolcalypstick, captures the sentiment nicely.
3:25 – Whitney @ Valley Stage
Risen from the ashes of the Smith Westerns, Chicagoan act Whitney are touring on their acclaimed debut Light On the Lake. Colour me curious.
5:40 – Run the Jewels @ River Stage
Run the Jewels have toured relentlessly since their inception in 2013. This will be my fourth time seeing them in 5 years. Always entertaining, always ferocious, and expect some political commentary from the always outspoken Killer Mike.
8:20 – Alabama Shakes @ Mountain Stage
Alabama Shakes are due for a new album anytime now. Their latest, 2015’s Sound & Color, was a consummate grower, but there’s no waiting period when they’re live. Britney Howard is a towering stage presence who can do it all.
9:20 – The Weeknd @ River Stage, or Death from Above @ Green Stage
Again, a serious stylistic schism. Be crooned into a haze by Abel Tesfaye, or thrash around with the seminal dance-punk two-piece?