May as well start Day 2 of Osheaga with friends, yeah? Off we go to the Piknic dance stage to see my homies, Humans, a Vancouver electro-vocal-soul duo made out of Robbie Slade and Peter Ricq. Peter grew up in Montreal so his mum and brother are in the audience. Always good, then, when your bandmate introduces a song as being about sex and drugs.

But nevermind, we had a bit of a lunchtime dance, then wandered across to the quiet Arbres stage to check out the buzz on local half-dozen Groenland. With strings, keys, and all the other regular fixins, Groenland’s earnest indie folkpop was perfectly lovely.

Wandered back to the mainstages via The Heavy (how we like you now? Yeah, s’alright) toward Jimmy Eat World, who were, bless their mainstreamy alt-rock socks, absolutely nailing the great big Montagne stage. We kicked back and pondered the philosophical questions relating to the band’s name, a sugar high and exhaustion, then followed Flogging Molly, who destroyed the even bigger Rivière stage with their Irish punk free-for-all, dedicating a song to a dude with a 2-foot-high mohawk.

Once they’d wrapped, we bounced next door back to the Montagne stage for another batch of local heroes:
Stars. Impeccably charming, happy and dorky (with singer Torquill Campbell wearing a small pin of Game of Thrones’ character Ser Rodrik Cassel – either that or Ibsen), Stars opened the eight-song set with “The Theory of Relativity” then hopped into “Fixed” and “A Song is a Weapon.” They stood on stage beaming at the vast expanse at bouncing fans….

….but we had no time! No time! We needed to get to the Verte stage, across the Parc to see Tricky. Wait? Tricky? As in the ambient trip hop king and fabled member of the Wild Bunch? Rapper on Massive Attack’s classic Blue Lines? The guy I interviewed in 2005 whilst he was stoned and who said he was going to go off and write a song about me? Yeah that guy.

It really didn’t matter what Tricky did on the Verte stage, which is a good thing – because his set was pretty much a slow, stoned ramble with his band, including a deep purple-lipped backup singer, doing most of the heavy lifting. But who cares? It’s TRICKY TO ROCK AROUND TO ROCK AROUND IT’S RIGHT ON TIME IT’S TRICKY!

Tricky stood on stage, smoking his weed, raising his shirt up to his head to reveal his tattoos on his still-awesome 45-year old body and singing a bit. Four songs in, as I flipped through my photos, a stagehand came to where I was leaning, beckoning me to follow him. What? Who me? Yeah, me, and about 15 other people suddenly found ourselves….ON STAGE WITH TRICKY. And there we were, dancing around like tools to his band playing “Ace of Spades” while he just danced along with us. Want to see what that looked like? Someone (me) had my camera on the whole time. Watch the totally nauseating but incredibly first-hand video. I hugged him and thanked him – and he thanked me. Did that really happen?

“Bonjour, said Kelley Deal from the Breeders, before launching into a translated-to-French introduction that she read off her guitar indicating that yes, it was the anniversary of Last Splash, and thusly (like at Primavera) they were going to play it from start to finish. And JUST like at Primavera, it was incredible to see Kim Deal beaming, hear Josephine Wiggs’ bassline for “Cannonball”, hear Kelley Deal’s charming banter and soak up modern history.

“How about the Breeders, hey?” said a different, smiling legend: Bob Mould, he of Hüsker Dü and Sugar-ness, just as it began to rain. Standing on the small Arbres stage as a growing clutch of people with immaculate taste in music – including members of Jimmy Eat World – gathered, Bob ripped into “The Act We Act”. At which point the universe righted itself and light rain became immaterial.

Waving and grinning at Bob’s band, guys I’ve met before, aka the former Telekinesis guy Jason Narducy and the current Superchunk/Mountain Goat guy Jon Wurster (both guys of tremendous rock and rollness), I geeked out, even dancing a bit in the pit as I shot. “Changes” “A Good Idea” “Hoover Dam” et al inspired neck-thrashing glee in the damp first row, just as it had back in February in Toronto. All I could think of was this: “this guy is right now crapping all over half of the musicians half his age and deserves to be on a stage bigger than – respect to them for being here, but still –  Jimmy Eat World.” Highlight of the day, including hugging Tricky.

Then we bounced past the lovely quiet-loud-quiet-loud of Explosions in the Sky, and lapped them up for a brief moment before heading back into the fizzy excitement of Macklemore & Lewis, with Mack all good vibez, ‘splainin’ how he’d come to Canada to get sober, talked about good-influence stuff and did a rather quite funtimes version of “Can’t Hold Us”. Then, the set ended and we shifted over to watch Beck next door. But Macklemore kept talking for what felt like 14 years. Blah blah blah ginger rapper white wife-beater, fine. This is a guy who is loving the spotlight – and the spotlight clearly loves him. As did a field of frothing fans.

But I’ve never seen Beck and while the drizzle came down, so did a little man with a hat. “Devil’s Haircut” sorta rolled out, followed by the underrated “Black Tambourine” (a fab track I got obsessed with playing Lumines II). “Modern Guilt” segued into Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” and “Think I’m In Love” merged into Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”. “Stop with the covers and play the hits,” someone yelled, and we were eventually rewarded with “Loser” while “Where it’s At” finished the night. A functional not stellar show, but it was good to see Beck, back. Onward to Day 3! \m/



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