Osheaga 2022 brought the world’s best to Montreal

Starring Arcade Fire, Future, Dua Lipa, Mitski, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (pictured), Machine Gun Kelly

Photo: Kamara Morozuk

Published on 08/02/2022

After last year’s downsized, all-Canadian Get Together, Osheaga was back at it full force for the first time since 2019. For the 15th edition of the Montreal Festival, which took place this past weekend (July 29-31), 120,000 fans returned to Parc Jean-Drapeau to party in the sun and heat to the tune of powerful artists from around the world.

The five stages were back in their usual places (as are the damn stairs that take you from one end of the site to the other), along with the social activities and food trucks. The 2022 lineup was packed with newer artists (most of whom were nowhere near Osheaga’s caliber when they last held the full festival), making it perhaps the first lineup to cater to Gen Z ajar, albeit with a lot of love for millennials too. Between emerging artists (including several local standouts) and world-renowned established acts, Osheaga 2022 was packed with memorable moments – most of them good, some from Machine Gun Kelly. Here’s what stood out:

29th of July

Gus Dapperton


The US singer opened the festival on the Mountain Stage on Friday with a conventional performance. With a half-empty crowd in front of him, he sprinted back and forth on stage, trying to lighten the mood as best he could with songs from across his discography. The Friday afternoon deadline is a tough one, but Dapperton did its best to get festival-goers energized and prepared for the days ahead.

RobertRobert


The Montréal singer gave an excellent performance on the Tree Stage surrounded by his musicians, pacing the stage and delivering synthpop hits from the 2021 album Silicone Villeray like “L’été je m’ennuie”. His set was attended by locals who knew the area and curious passersby who ended up joining the dance party. The shady stage made a change from the heat, but also played in favor of Robert Robert, who certainly won some new fans with his performance.

turnstile


One of the standout performances of the day, Turnstile, was rocking in Osheaga. Their show was a reminder of the golden age of the Warped Tour, the crowd filling up with older punks, hardcore fans and ex-emos, and a huge mosh pit forming less than 30 seconds after the latest album’s opener “MYSTERY”. SHINE ON. The band was visibly excited to be a part; Bassist Franz Lyons smiled throughout the set and had the time of his life. On songs like “BLACKOUT,” “Drop,” and “UNDERWATER BOI,” it was difficult not to jump around like vocalist Brendan Yates (seen above), and the band kept the energy going into the final moments of “TLC (TURNSTILE LOVE CONNECTION ).”

Yes Yes Yes


It wasn’t the first Osheaga from Yeah Yeah Yeahs (the festival favorites previously played in 2009 and 2018) and audiences definitely enjoyed this explosion of past lineups. Karen O was magical to watch as she donned her typically flamboyant attire, danced on stage and happily engaged with her bandmates. An integral part of the millennial coming-of-age experience (which gave Gen Z a chance to observe the previous generation in their natural habitat), the band played classics like “Maps,” “Soft Shock,” and set-ender “Heads Will Roll”, “The perfect way to get the crowd in the mood for tonight’s headliner…

arcade fire


The long-awaited return of Montreal’s prodigal sons and daughters didn’t disappoint. Arcade Fire opened with a disco ball above the stage with “Age of Anxiety I” from the new album WE before moving on to hits from previous albums. The whole set was even interrupted by a laser show reflected Regine Chassagne’s belt during “Age of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)” and freaked the crowd out, and they even covered Wolf Parade’s “This Heart’s on Fire” with Dan Boeckner (currently touring member of Arcade Fire) leading the band Singing. The band ended on a high note with “Wake Up”, confetti and rain falling on everyone. Win Butler instructed fans to keep singing even after the band left the stage. The singing lasted five long minutes, during which fans were soaked from the rain but hearts were warmed by the performance.


30th July

Magician Merlin


As a last minute addition to Osheaga, Magi Merlin came in from Montreal to fill in for BIA, who was unable to perform. And what a great choice! The R&B is an electric, ecstatic performer – even in front of a tiny audience she had great interaction that made people laugh. Playful and endearing, Merlin delivered great renditions of songs from recent EPs drug music and Ex girlfriend. Next year she deserves a bigger stage and a better place!

Pierre Kwenders

People may have wandered to the Tree Stage in the early afternoon, mesmerized by the power of Pierre Kwenders’ ever-swinging hips, but they stayed for the Afropop grooves of his latest album, José Louis and the paradox of love. The Montreal dance music party starter didn’t miss a beat as he sang while dancing around the stage.

ski case


If there’s one artist not to be missed on Saturday, it’s Skiifall. The young rap genius delivered near-perfect beats while teasing the crowd. Skiifall represented his hometown of Montreal loud and proud during this special show by premiering a new song, performing his well-known “Ting Tun Up” and even bringing a fan for “Lost Angeles” on stage.

Sophia Bell

Although technical difficulties gave Sophia Bel’s set a shaky start, the Montreal native quickly regained confidence. Dressed all in pink and with a red tutu, she embodied her recently released debut album Fearfully avoidant as a Y2K fairy who comes to Osheaga to spread her pop punk anthems. And despite the initial problems, she obviously succeeded.

Mitski


As usual, Mitski appeared on stage ready to be as theatrical as she could. The singer is known for not speaking to the public during her sets and for standing out from the crowd. She didn’t change, only addressing the crowd once to say hello, but while her coldness was off-putting to first-time viewers, she still pulled off a perfect set. Mitski may be better suited for concerts than festivals, but with Osheaga she went all out and leaped the stage like never before.

Khruangbin


Dressed in their usual black wigs, Khruangbin arrived to an excited audience ready for their classic smooth soul tracks. However, as the crowd danced in the sun, the band played covers of well-known classics such as “Bennie and the Jets”, “Let’s Dance” and “Wicked Game”. Unfortunately there were too many covers and very few originals – a disappointing move by such great composers.

future


Saturday’s headliner Future arrived in Montreal fully loaded. The crowd was already smitten with his hypeman and ready to receive him. He didn’t disappoint, delivering a classic rap show that seemed to please everyone from the mainstream listener to the hip-hop fans in the crowd. Explosions, pyrotechnics – he spared no expense to deliver the best possible live experience. With hits like “Pushin P,” “Mask Off,” and “Jumpman,” Future used the energy of the crowd to his advantage to end Day 2 with a bang.


July 31st

SamFender


The British singer, who is often compared to Bruce Springsteen, took the stage at 2:40pm, an odd timing for someone who often plays in front of 45,000 people. But that didn’t stop fans from filling the space in front of his stage. Fender put on a strong rock performance, even getting fans moshing to his heavier songs, but he shone the most on softer tracks like “Spit of You” and “Seventeen Going Under.” Fendermania is now a thing in Canada.

inhaler


Inhaler, best known as Bono’s son’s band, rocked the Green Stage on Sunday afternoon. Her energy, charisma, and Irish accent made it difficult not to dance or faint to her indie rock songs. Elijah Hewson in particular was great with the crowd – which made sense since it was in his blood – but the band as a whole showed talent that deserves recognition.

Safia Nolin


Slightly delayed due to technical difficulties, Safia Nolin took the stage resolutely, ready to give her fans an excellent performance. Her voice was peaceful and her guitar playing was impeccable. With her presence, Nolin reminded everyone why she is one of the most talented singers from Quebec and even Canada.

Lucy Dakus


Indie favorite Lucy Dacus made a point of speaking only French during her performance to practice her skills. This won her the favor of her fans and made the set much more personal and tailored to the city. Dacus’ introverted personality may permeate her stage presence, but her open self shines through her lyrics.

wet leg


For their first ever performance in Canada, the British duo walked onto the tiny Tree Stage visibly intimidated. It may have taken them some time to warm up to audiences, but audiences gave them a warm welcome from the opening moments of their opening track, the hit single “Chaise Longue,” happily headbanging to their cheeky rock tunes.

Machine gun Kelly


Machine Gun Kelly positions himself as an emo and pop-punk legend by using the genres’ big names to his advantage, and it stinks — his use of “The Black Parade” to heat up the crowd ought to be a crime. Best moment of his performance? He was interrupted during his last song because he was over 10 minutes.

Dua Lipa


Less than a week after playing Montreal on her Future Nostalgia tour, Dua Lipa was back at it again, to a different delighted crowd. A born performer, she sings, dances, cheers for the crowd and struts the runway with ease. Beginning with “Physical,” she moved appropriately quickly across the stage, accompanied by her equally skilled dancers. Such a flawless performer was the perfect person to wrap up Osheaga 2022 and start the hype for next year.

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