Osheaga 2016: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers ready to blast off in Montreal
Thom Yorke from the band Radiohead performs at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
One thing is for certain: Canada misses Radiohead.
And how could they not? It's been a while since they stepped foot in our fair country — they played a single Canadian show in Montreal in 2012 (a Toronto show scheduled for the next night was cancelled after a tragic stage accident), and before then, they performed just three concerts here on their In Rainbows tour way back in 2008.
Well, the long wait is over. They are back this weekend at Montreal’s Parc Jean Drapeau to close out this year’s Osheaga Music & Arts Festival. In fact, fans of the Oxfordshire, England, vets are so thrilled they are back that their headline day Sunday, July 31, was the quickest to sell out in the festival's history.
Snagging one of the most popular rock bands in the world was a mix of persistence and a little bit of luck, according to founder and VP of Concerts and Events at Evenko, Nick Farkas.
"Radiohead is one of the acts we’ve been chasing since year one, so to finally get them, it’s amazing," beams Farkas. "We were really lucky this year to get them — we were one of the few festivals to get them in North America, and the only one in Canada, which was a huge coup for us."
They've even cleared the decks for them this year, with one less act on one of the main stages, which means the fans in attendance are in store for a two-hour plus set from the Creep hitmakers.
"They wanted to play for two hours, and to me, there’s no such thing as too much Radiohead," he says.
This year's event kicks off on Friday, with performances by headliner Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cypress Hill, the Lumineers, Half Moon Run, Bloc Party, Silversun Pickups and hometown indie heroes, Wolf Parade, among others.
Osheaga, now celebrating its 11th year of existence, is now considered to be one of the best music events in the world, with it frequently being mentioned alongside Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza as one of the musical destinations of the year.
Oh, and the rest of the lineup, you ask? It's not too shabby either. It includes Saturday headliner Lana Del Rey (who Farkas says is "hugely popular" in La Belle Province), Death Cab For Cutie, Disclosure, Haim, Future, Grimes, M83, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Dan Auerbach’s The Arcs, the Last Shadow Puppets and dozens more.
Last year’s edition included Kendrick Lamar, the Black Keys and Florence the Machine.
Top 5 wildcard must-sees:
Your hard-earned dineros has been dished out for the headliners, but with upwards of 100 bands in Montreal, there's a gamut of acts to choose from the other various stages at Parc Jean Drapeau.
Here's our top five must sees that are a little bit lower down on the festival poster:
The mountain man cometh. The full-bearded Missouri singer-songwriter and his gang of sweathogs have hit the big time with the foot-stomping, glass-clanking hit S.O.B., but no need for beer goggles here - there's more to them than meets the bluesy eye. The rest of their sizzling self-titled debut has more R&B hooks than a tackle box, and their live show seem like you're spending a hot night in a smoky club in Chicago.
If you’ve never seen the British twosome of full-time Arctic Monkey Alex Turner and ex-Rascals leader Miles Kane, you’re in for a set full of Elvis-like swagger, humour and musical chops. If you missed them at WayHome last week, be sure to check them out here.
If you feel like getting insane in the membrane with a little ‘90s nostalgia, then check out the long-serving rap trio, who are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their 1991 debut album. Here’s a PSA: Hits from the bong are neither sponsored nor endorsed.
This 26-year old American gospel singer blasted onto the scene with the hits Smooth Sailing and Coming Home, and continues to mesmerize audiences with his brand of soul music. And man, does he have soul.
Who said rock and roll is dead? These Montreal up-and-comers challenge that notion with Led Zeppelin-like riffs and piercing vocals from frontwoman Lee-La, who sounds like a cross between Janis Joplin and Courtney Love.