Phoenix, Palma Violets, Vampire Weekend, The Cure, Daughter

Osheaga Festival 2013 Day One: The Cure, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, Palma Violets, Daughter and more, August 2nd, 2013

Aug 04, 2013 Photography by Pat Beaudry Bookmark and Share


Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau provided a gorgeous backdrop for the first day of the annual Osheaga Festival. The sold-out event, which is now in its eighth year, boasts a lineup that features some incredible indie-rock upstarts such as Alt-J and Palma Violets alongside renowned veterans including The Cure, Beck and New Order.

The festival got off to a strong start on day one with several impressive sets. Although rain clouds threatened all afternoon, they never opened up, making it the perfect day to enjoy some music while admiring the view of the Montreal skyline across the St. Lawrence River.

British folk-rock trio Daughter packed out one of the festival's two main stages – an impressive feat given their relatively early start time. Frontwoman Elena Tonra proved she's a force to be reckoned with as the band blew through tracks from their recent debut album, If You Leave.

Next up was Wild Belle, an intriguing reggae-rock band led by Chicago siblings Elliot and Natalie Bergman. Don't let the reggae-rock label fool you – their sound, which is punctuated by saxophone blasts and calypso beats – is more original and less clichéd than the label might imply. They drew a sizable crowd to one of the festival's smaller stages, and had nearly everyone grooving to their mellow vibe.

One of the day's highlights came from Palma Violets, a British quartet that exhibits some serious rock-star swagger and has the goods to back it up. Channeling tremendous energy and confidence, co-frontmen Samuel Fryer and Chilli Jesson tore through songs from their debut album, 180, and had audience members dancing on stage by the end of their set. Although they drew one of the smallest crowds of the day, that's likely to change very soon as word gets out. The night before their Osheaga performance, the band made their U.S. television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live and caught a red-eye to Montreal that same night, leaving them no worse for the wear.

Osheaga's trio of evening headliners delivered a powerful punch. Vampire Weekend proved why they've gone from playing small clubs to massive festival stages in a relatively short amount of time. The New York band played tunes from their ambitious recent album Modern Vampires of the City with several crowd-pleasers from their back catalog including "Oxford Comma" and "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" that got the adoring crowd cheering and dancing. Frontman Ezra Koenig appeared to be in good spirits, smiling throughout the entire set while showing off his formidable vocal chops.

Fortunately for Phoenix, there were no untrue rumors swirling around that fellow Frenchmen Daft Punk would join them on stage, as there were at the Coachella Festival earlier this year, which left the crowd disappointed when the robots were a no-show. This time we could focus on what the band does best – deliver '80s-tinged pop tunes without a hint of irony. Singer Thomas Mars looked like he was having a blast. He was able to address the Quebecois in his native tongue and ended the set by crowd surfing across dozens of adoring fans, kissing a few lucky ones on the cheek.

The Cure's live shows have been hit-or-miss over the last few years, but fortunately for Osheaga-goers, the godfathers of goth were at the top of their game for their headlining set on one of the festival's two main stages. The band made a dramatic entrance just after the sun had set (which happens quite late in this northern city). Rather than a brooding, self-indulgent set as they've delivered at some other large festivals, this was a crowd-pleasing, hit-filled affair. "Pictures of You" and "Lullaby" got the crowd primed for what would be a performance that included plenty of their earlier (and arguably best) material. Robert Smith, who still sports a tangles bird's nest of black hair and plenty of makeup, even cracked a joke. "If I were a spiderman I'd be having a f-ing ball up here," he said in reference to the moths swarming around his head and a well-known "Lullaby" lyric. Then came "In Between Days" and "Just Like Heaven," which had the massive crowd singing and dancing along. One of the Cure's many highlights was their flawless delivery of the dark and driving tune, "A Forest," with its relentless bass line ringing out clear and true across the park. 




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December 22nd 2015
1:48am

Phoenix, Palma Violets, Vampire Weekend, The Cure, Fille
Osheaga 2,013 Day One: The Cure, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, Palma Violets, sa fille et plus, le 1er Août, 2 013
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