In the wake of last week’s three-day music and art extravaganza, some of us are only just emerging out of the scores of new tunes and playlists discovered at the fest. For my part, the third and final day offered up some of the best acts of the weekend. The challenge of course was how to see them all! Sadly my day started out a lot later than planned, since I was commuting to the island by metro (my bike gave out the previous day as I arrived to the festival) and I was faced with the task of weaving through hundreds of bodies on the metro system to get to the entrance. This transportation delay caused me to miss most of the soulful Aloe Blacc, but his unforgettable single “I need a dollar” rang through the complex as I made my way to my first show.
Finally reaching the Piknik Élektronik stage, I joined a mass of dancers drumming the floor in front of Zombie Disco Squad. Nat Self’s disco/house infused sound kept the crowd perpetually thrusting and bobbing, and if my two Aussie gal pals had not whisked me off to the next act, I would have ground a dancing pit with my moves. Although we had left the electro behind, the beat still coursed through us as we skipped our way to the Green Stage to watch Austra. Coming to Montreal from Toronto Ontario, this blonde songbird drew us in immediately with her haunting voice (not unlike that of her fellow Torontonian Basia Bulat) and who could take their eyes off of the fantastically coloured clothes on stage! Rumor had it (my Aussie friends spotted her coming out of their hotel later that day) she never shed the gypsy garb – go Austra!
Pulling ourselves away just before Austra’s grand finale, we ran to the main stage field to catch Santigold and her electro/hip-hop set. Not long after reaching her show, we noticed a group of front-row audience members clamber up on stage with her – at her invitation of course. This immediately took me back to Osheaga of 2007 where M.I.A (Santigold’s sound-sister in the world of beatz) called up her fans to join her onstage as well. At this point, a British bud and I made plans to rush over to the Tree Stage for a dose of James Vincent McMorrow before returning for Tame Impala on the main stage. It was well worth our migration to see a few ballads by JVM, whose creamy voice captivated us so much we could swear we were flying back to that beach house where Early in the Morning (his debut album) was recorded. Possibly the hardest part of the day was tearing away from McMorrow’s set to get back in time for Tame Impala.
Our Aussie pals were not going to let us miss their hometown act however, so we positioned ourselves in time for the psychedelic-rock group’s performance. Despite the sunny sound the four Aussies were emanating onstage, the island grounds had grown dark and threatening due to sudden storm cloud cover. The energy amid the crowd quickly grew anxious, fearing that something was going to fall out of the sky. As Tame Impala closed, the crowd quickly gathered in front of the neighbouring stage for The Shins to come on. Not a minute following frontman James Mercer’s first note, the sky opened up and let loose a full stream of downpour sending the entire audience into a united rain dance. Blending new and old songs into their set, The Shins had the crowd singing along through almost all of their performance. It was under this rainfall and familiar soundtrack that we left to watch some Bloc Party. The UK crew, led by vocalist Kele Okereke, vowed to the audience they would bring some relief from the sogginess that started to spread throughout and this they would keep. With the rain ceasing for a moment and heat taking over once again, we all began to un-dampen, especially those who got some open-air treatment while crowd surfing.
Feeling much fresher, we all moved back to the main stage area to see Metric who would be closing down the Mountain Stage for Osheaga 2012. Not having heard any of the new songs off their recent album Synthetica, I was vouching for the group to drop some of their older tunes. Luckily to my dismay, they did mostly new material and I was immediately hooked. It was also obvious how widely their album had already reached, with viewers mouthing along to every one of their songs. To end their spectacular set, frontlady Emily Haines bid farewell to Osheaga 2012 by leaving the audience with an acoustic “lullaby” version of Gimme Sympathy. At the close of the Canadian rockers on the Mountain Stage, the crowd turned to the River Stage for the closing act of The Black Keys. I was feeling very hesitant about watching the duo since having been disappointed by their slightly dry act two years previous, but having reached a greater level of success in the past year and a half I thought they might bring a gutsier performance forward. I was sadly mistaken. Although I was able to recognize more of their material and follow the melodies of their fairly similar repertoire, I was left pretty bored quite frankly. I attributed it again to how large a scene the two musicians had to live up to, as I had noticed before with Day 1’s performance by the Solids, they seemed to focus on producing a big sound instrumentally which in the end overpowered the intoxicating melodies of their songs. With some time left in M83’s set, my friends and I rushed back toward the Green Stage. We had arrived much too late however, as they were bidding farewell to the crowd and delivering their last song of the night. Feeling a bit defeated, we made our way back towards the entrance to join the flow of people waiting to get off the island. We were pulled away from the path at the sound of Knife Party still holding out strongly at the Piknik Électronik stage. It was there we decided to end our night, exerting every last bit of dance we had left in us and I felt completed having returned full-circle to the part that is Osheaga 2012.