Choice: It’s not just a word frat bros use to describe their bro gear.
Cheery festivalgoers will have to look within their hearts to make some serious choices on who they’ll see and who they’ll skip at this weekend’s Montreal bash. Even with the schedule released well in advance, there’s bound to be some heartbreaking decisions for your average Osheagite to make. That’s what happens when you’re spoiled for choice. Aren’t you the lucky duck!
In an effort to highlight the most competitive time slots at the festival, we’ve compiled a rundown of the 9 trickiest schedule conflicts at Osheaga 2015. Choosing between some of these acts will have you tearing your hair out, sobbing in the Port-A-Johns (or Port-A-Jeans seeing as it’s Montreal) and screaming at the sky. Or maybe the choice in each of these scenarios is super obvious. Either way, we’re sure you’ll come to the best decision.
#1. Marina & The Diamonds (Friday at 4:45 PM – Scène de la Montagne Molson Canadian) vs. The Kills (Friday at 4:55 PM – Scène Verte)
The Showdown: Genre-melting pop vendor Marina Diamandis squares off in a Friday afternoon tilt versus the reliable USA/UK garage-blues menace of The Kills. Both acts come equipped their brand of edge™ and crackling charisma that turns casuals into devotees.
We Might Nudge You Towards… Marina & The Diamonds. Diehards of The Kills (they’ll be easy to spot as they’re dressed all in black and making a show of how they’re exclusively smoking American cigs) will be salivating over the prospect of new tunes tumbling out, but we’re bullish on Marina. She’s a pop colossus that’s made a habit of taking home run swings with her output (see: the creation of her 2012 alter-ego Elektra Heart) and her most glorious tunes pull off the unlikely feat of hitting you directly in the chest while remaining stadium-sized. That’s always a welcome festival combo.
#2. Young Fathers (Friday at 9:00 PM – Scène de la Vallée) vs. Viet Cong (Friday at 9:00 PM – Scène des Arbres Stingray musique)
The Showdown: Mercury Prize certified Scots Young Fathers go toe-to-toe with Polaris short-listed post-punk gladiators Viet Cong.
We Might Nudge You Towards… Viet Cong. Both are absolutely sterling options, really. You’re choosing between a Wunderbar and a Snickers, so you can’t lose. Young Fathers manages to have a warlockesque command of several different sounds at once (pop, electro, hip-hop) and can swirl them around with soaring results. Viet Cong will knock you on your ass with cuts like “Silhouettes” and have your skeleton vibrating for weeks.
#3 Florence + The Machine (Friday at 9:35 PM – Scène de la Rivière Virgin Mobile) vs. ScHoolboy Q (Friday at 9:50 PM – Scène Verte) vs. A Tribe Called Red (Friday at 9:55 PM – Scène Piknic Électronik Honda)
The Showdown: Friday headliner Florence Welch brings her skyscraper tunes to Montreal, but equally tempting are sets from “Man of the Year” dynamo ScHoolboy Q and First Nations dance marvels A Tribe Called Red. It’s almost cruel to have to catch one and neglect the others.
We Might Nudge You Towards… Teleportation? Are you fast enough to catch chunklets of all three performances in the 9:30-10:55 slot? Based on the layout of the stages, cutting this baby in three might not be efficient or helpful. If you’re game to try divide your time, you might be able to enjoy the early portion of Florence + The Machine (you’ll likely get “What the Water Gave Me” “Ship to Wreck” and “Shake It Out” off the top and have “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” tempting you stay) and sprint off to A Tribe Called Red or ScHoolboy Q for the second half of their sets. If you haven’t yet earmarked something electronic for your visit (which it is now festival law to do), seriously consider A Tribe Called Red as your Friday closer. They’re fantastic, they offer up something no one else at the festival can and you’ll likely waggle your body next to some very attractive new friends.
#4 Action Bronson (Saturday at 3:25 PM – Scène Verte) vs. St. Vincent (Saturday at 3:40 PM – Scène de la Rivière Virgin Mobile)
The Showdown: Provided Ghostface Killah doesn’t toss Bam Bam into an active volcano before the weekend, we have “Easy Rider” MC Action Bronson gracing one stage at roughly the same time the magnificent St. Vincent conquers another.
We Might Nudge You Towards… St. Vincent. Look, we’re not saying this to place another hairdryer on the melting goodwill towards Action Bronson. (Normally it’s hard to pass up a show where there’s a 5/1 chance you’ll see a partycrashing dickhead get slugged or bodyslammed offstage.) St. Vincent’s just an unshakable draw no matter where you put her on the card. Shit, we’d put a bouncy castle party with unicorns on the backburner if we knew there was a chance to see the mighty Annie Clark wielding a guitar live. Are you really going to pass up seeing “Birth In Reverse,” “Rattlesnake” and “Digital Witness” in the flesh? Get the fuck outta here.
#5 Interpol (Saturday at 6:20 PM – Scène de la Montagne Molson Canadian) vs. Nas (Saturday at 6:15 PM – Scène Verte)
The Showdown: Former Joy Division babies Interpol are still riding high on 2014’s comeback record El Pintor and they’re fighting for the early Saturday evening attention versus NYC hip-hop hero Nas. Only one veteran act can emerge victorious. (Y’know, provided you’re not planning on catapulting back and forth between stages.)
We Might Nudge You Towards… Nas. 00s indie nostalgists and 90s rap enthusiasts might club each other to death over who’s the better value, but we’re going with a nod towards Nas. Sure, Interpol might trot out “Evil” and “PDA” and that’s swell and all, but Nas has tracks off Illmatic to work with. How can you compete with that? You can’t.
#6 Kendrick Lamar (Saturday at 9:20 PM – Scène de la Rivière Virgin Mobile) vs. Caribou (Saturday at 9:50 PM – Scène Verte)
The Showdown: What Saturday night finale suits you best? Rap genius Kendrick Lamar’s 90 minutes headline slot or a Scène Verte counterattack from Canadian electronic maestro Caribou? THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
We Might Nudge You Towards… Kendrick Lamar. It feels silly to steer someone away from the prospect of soaking in Dan Snaith enchanting the masses with a back-to-back gift of “Odessa” and “Can’t Do Without You,” but we’ve got the map and Kendrick’s the big ol’ X where the treasure’s buried. For all the completely reasonable Drake and Kanye chatter, Kendrick Lamar’s quite possibly the most important act in hip-hop and music outright at this very moment. There tends to be a bit of moaning that his sets are still (mostly) light on To Pimp A Butterfly cuts. We say quit your bellyaching. It’d be nice to have more, but you’ll still see “King Kunta,” “i” and “Alright” performed before your very eyes. The dude has a completely earned reputation for being incredible live and now you’ll get to brag to anyone within earshot (family, friends, bus drivers, desk drawers with googly eyes on them) that you can confirm his greatness. Don’t just see him for your sake. Go for all of us.
#7 Future Islands (Sunday at 4:30 PM – Scène de la Montagne Molson Canadian) vs. Charli XCX (Sunday at 4:55 PM – Scène Verte)
The Showdown: Christ, this feels like a leftover trap from the Saw franchise. To truly know life you’ll have to take a acid-laced cheese grater to your face, etc. In this case, you’ll have to choose between life-affirming synth-pop outfit Future Islands and human hook factory Charli XCX.
We Might Nudge You Towards… Future Islands. There’s going to be an influx of pushy dinks that will bumrush the stage the moment “Seasons (Waiting On You)” kicks in because that’s all they came for. Don’t let that ruin the soulbursting joy of seeing frontman Samuel Herring radiate within every single moment of that signature tune plus cuts like “Tin Man” and “The Chase.” It’s with a heavy heart that we serve up this recommendation, because Charli XCX is anything but a bargain bin consolation prize. The “Break the Rules” live wire puts on marvellous and energetic live performances that will you completely spent in the best possible way. Heck, this might be your last chance to see her perform “Boom Clap” outside of a sold-out arena where tickets go for $200 + your first born.
#8 Hot Chip (Sunday at 6:10 PM – Scène de la Montagne Molson Canadian) vs. Brand New (Sunday at 6:25 PM – Scène Verte)
The Showdown: UK dancefloor necromancers Hot Chip are in the market to command your hips to do their bidding, but they’re up at roughly the same time as Long Island emo warriors Brand New.
We Might Nudge You Towards… Hot Chip. Odds are, if you hold Brand New super dear to your heart (or have their lyrics tattooed in questionable font on your forearm) this decision’s already been made for you. For the rest of us, it’s gotta be Hot Chip. Their daring live sets are the sort of thing that inspires journos and festivalgoers alike to recall the evening with religious fervour. Considering that a good chunk of Hot Chip’s singles sound like something plucked from a futuristic doomsday cult’s hymnbook, that totally makes sense. Check out this cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” and feel yourself ascend into the clouds.
#9 The Black Keys (Sunday at 9:20 PM – Scène de la Rivière Virgin Mobile) vs. Tyler, The Creator (Sunday at 9:30 PM – Scène Verte)
The Showdown: Osheaga comes to a close on Sunday night and you get to put on your fanciest selection mitts and point at either The Black Keys or Tyler, The Creator. (Or you can skip them both and check out ZHU or EZ3kiel. We’re not your dad, do whatever you like.)
We Might Nudge You Towards… Tyler, The Creator. End your festival experience with a little chaos. Arena-packing dad rockers The Black Keys are still victory lapping with their 2014 record Turn Blue, so why not embrace the (former?) Odd Future mastermind as he serves up key cuts from Cherry Bomb. Shit, being tucked into the crowd when “Deathcamp” kicks in is like being in an earthquake simulator with a touch of The Purge tossed in for good measure. But yeah, maybe grooving to “Lonely Boy” might be more your thing. It’s up to you.