By Dave Macintyre
Sunday, August 4, 2019
Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal, QC
Osheaga saved the best for last. While the Chemical Brothers put up one of the festival’s best headliner sets in the festival’s recent history, it was poised for an even grander finish in the form of Childish Gambino. With other acts like Kaytranada, Boy Pablo and Tierra Whack rounding out the impressive roster of talent on the final day, Osheaga’s final bow of 2019 closed things out with a confident roar.
Between her recent appearance on Colbert and her critically-acclaimed debut, Miss Universe, it’s a shame that Nilüfer Yanya was relegated to an early afternoon set on the main stages while people were still flowing into the park.
Yanya’s skill at jumping between jazz, soul, grunge and indie rock without it feeling jarring was on display on Sunday afternoon. Although Franklin Electric’s soundcheck on the adjacent River Stage threatened to drown her out, she played a solid, well-rounded set for those fortunate enough to make into the park early.
This Norwegian pop songstress has been riding high off her debut LP, Sucker Punch, released earlier this year, and a visibly excited crowd showed up to watch her mid-afternoon set. Blending trademark Scandinavian pop music, Sigrid isn’t your typical pop star, but her songs are catchy and easy to sing along to. Jumping from 80s inspired cuts like “Mine Right Now” and “Never Mine,” to eerily Adele-ish piano ballads like “Dynamite” and synth-pop slappers like “Strangers,” the 22-year-old brought dance moves, confidence and a bubbly attitude to an already warm and sunny afternoon.
Mac DeMarco recorded his 2012 breakthrough album, 2, while living in Montreal and he’s still treated as a local hero of sorts. His local fan base was swelling in the large, packed-like-sardines crowd. Immediately following Normani (of Fifth Harmony fame)’s absolutely nuts set on the Mountain Stage, DeMarco re-staked his claim as indie rock’s resident class clown in front of a fresh-faced audience with multiple mosh pits breaking out in the crowd. With an old school EarthBound video game playing as his backdrop, DeMarco and his bandmates ran through unique arrangements of songs from throughout his career, giving him a chance to showcase his consistent songwriting capabilities alongside his infamous gap-toothed grin.
Sunday was the day most people bought one-day passes to Osheaga this year, and it’s in large part because of Tame Impala. Despite giving fans no new music aside from previously-released singles “Patience” and “Borderline,” the Austrailian psychedelic pop masterminds put on a colourful, kaleidoscopic show full of fan favourites that spanned most phases of their career.
The general area around the stage was packed from top to bottom, but no matter where you were standing the group put on a great show, reminding the crowd of band leader Kevin Parker’s already brilliant songbook, providing optimism for whatever is next.
An epic showman and performer, Donald Glover is one of the most multi talented people in pop culture, and his Childish Gambino set closed the festival in incredibly satisfying fashion.
Glover took the tens of thousands in attendance to church and doubled down on his desire for a communal experience by asking everyone to put their phones away — even though he did wind up taking selfies with a couple fans regardless.
Opening with newer songs, “Atavista” and “Algorythm,” Gambino and his incredibly contagious charisma carried the set on its back, while continuing with songs from Because the Internet and 2016’s psychedelic funk-driven Awaken, My Love! before launching into an emotional performance of “Feels Like Summer” and later making the crowd go batshit insane with “This is America.”
Glover had fireworks, Marvin Gaye wails and pure spectacle on his side, making his show well worth the hour-long wait it would take many festivalgoers to get back to the metro at the end of the evening.
Childish Gambino, Mac DeMarco, Osheaga, Sigrid, Tame Impala