Travel Blog

27 Jul



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    It’s no secret that the best bands in Canada are from Montreal, or at least they moved to Montreal and then became the best. Festivals like Osheaga build the momentum of the music scene by offering lesser-known bands exposure and a platform to play for a larger audience than a loft or club allows. Here, then, are some Montreal bands and a DJ/Producer playing Osheaga that you shouldn’t miss…

    Although Osheaga (July 29-31 at Parc Jean-Drapeau) features chart-topping musicians from all over the globe, they couldn’t forget the world-class talent born and bred in their own backyard. Here’s some of that talent that you should make sure your festival schedule includes…

    Karkwa is playing Osheaga on Saturday, 5:40-6:30. The band formed in 1998 and have been together ever since, garnering acclaim from fans and critics alike along the way. Persistence paid off for the band last year when they took home the highly-coveted Polaris Music Prize for Les Chemins de verre. If you’re a fan of cinematic folk rock, do yourself a favour and head to Osheaga to see the Kark.

    Braids moved to Montreal from Calgary in 2008. The band made a splash with their album, Native Speaker, that was short-listed for this year’s Polaris Music Prize, a serious honour in Canada. It’s an award judged by a panel of critics and solely based on artistic merit, not record sales. Based on that criteria, it’s no surprise that Braids are contender for the prize. Braids play music the way a lot of people should play music. They’re experimental, atmospheric pop that is sincere but still fun. They play Saturday, 3:10-3:50.

    Malajube is yet another French band from Montreal playing Osheaga. They might sing in French, but that hasn’t stopped the band from branching out of Quebec to achieve Canada-wide acclaim (yes, another Polaris nom was involved). Maybe their success has something to do with their album, Le Compte complet, being produced by Martin Pelland of The Dears. Or maybe it’s just the pure charm of their infectious pop sounds. They hit the stage on the final day of the festival, Sunday, 5:10-5:50pm.

    The Barr Brothers are playing a small stage at Osheaga on Friday, 9:10-9-55. They’re the kind of band that will surely be filling up arenas in the near future, so catch them while you can. The raw onstage energy of The Barr Bros is what launched them into the category of best live band in Montreal right now. Well, that and Brad Barr’s virtuosic guitar playing. If you think The Black Keys sound too much like a beer commercial, you’ll love rustic and bluesy Americana sound of The Barr Brothers.

    Galaxie play the fest Sunday, 10:20-11:00. They’ve been playing their Franco garage rock since 2002 and throughout their reign they’ve received help from collaborators like Groovy Aardvark and members of Karkwa. Their latest album, Tigre et Diesel, had made a big enough splash to be awarded with a spot on this year’s Polaris short-list. A wise man once told me that you can determine how good a song is if the song would be cool to play while driving around in a ‘78 Camaro. Galaxie passes the Camaro test, which is no easy feat. But you should go see for yourself.

    Jacques Greene offers a bit of a change of pace from what I’ve been writing about. He’s a Montreal DJ with Night Trackin’ and he has been making waves as a producer with the release of his solo EP, The Look . If you’re into house and RB vocals check him out Saturday, 6:30-7:45. If it’s good enough for Thom Yorke, it’s good enough for you, yes?


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