What makes Montreal’s Osheaga Music Festival different from the UK’s Glastonbury, Chicago’s Lollapalooza and LA’s Coachella? A focus on Canadian music, and a good cause. The festival may boast a well-chosen line-up of artists such as Eminem, the Tragically Hip and Kid Cudi, as well as electro-royalty like Crystal Castles and MSTRKRFT, but the best reason to spend this weekend rocking out is the festival’s focus on Canadian musicians. Many of our musical Canadians can be found wandering Parc Jean-Drapeau while “Busking for CHANGE” to raise funds for War Child, the non-profit organization that raises awareness and support for war-affected children globally. Though other Osheaga performers, like Death Cab for Cutie or the Flaming Lips, have the massive fanbase, these lesser-known Canadian rockers have the talent and the passion for a good cause that makes them worth checking out.
Hey Rosetta! (pictured)
Out of St. John’s comes Hey Rosetta!, and they have been making quite a name for themselves in Canada, with their third studio album, Seeds, being shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. Produced by Tony Doogan (Belle and Sebastian and Wintersleep), the album ventures from indie-rock into “afrobeat grooves and reggae off-beats.” Well known for their eccentric live shows and intricately layered piano, violin and cello fused into a conventional four-piece garage rock sound, Hey Rosetta! does not just write songs, they create anthems. Hey Rosetta! is scheduled to play Saturday at 2:40 p.m. on the Scene de la Rivière stage.
I saw Mother Mother perform four years ago in small hole-in-the-wall in London, Ontario. They succeeded in blowing an unexpecting audience out of the water while touring for their first album, Touch Up. With their toe-tapping basslines, youthful vocals and hyperactive stage presence, this five-piece indie-rock band from Vancouver have worked their way to mainstream status. Their third album, Eureka, was released in March and has seen two singles make it onto the Canadian Hot 100 released by Billboard magazine. Their single, “The Stand,” has received an explosion on radio airwaves this summer. Mother Mother can be found on the Scene des Arbres stage on Saturday at 3:10 p.m.
For all you classic pop/rock lovers, the musicians of Sweet Thing have a little something up their sleeve for you. Drawing inspiration from bands such as The Beatles, The Band and Fleetwood Mac, as well small doses of funk from the likes of Stevie Wonder and Micheal Jackson, this Toronto 5-piece has come up with an array of infectious pop tunes. These boys hit the stage Friday at 4 p.m. on the Scene des Arbres stage.
The Midway State
A relatively new band, The Midway State has already opened for big names such as Death Cab For Cutie, Silversun Pickups, Kate Nash, Shiny Toy Guns, Mika, Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind and K-OS. On their just-released latest album, Paris or India, The Midway State have aspired to make music that both entertains and tells a story. Frontman Nathan Ferraro captures listeners with his lush vocals and calming synths, while band-mates Daenen Bramberger, Mike Wise and Mike Kirsh blast out an intense (and BIG) sound. Catch The Midway State on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on the Scene de la Rivière stage.
Hey Rosetta!, Mother Mother, Sweet Thing and The Midway State will be joining other bands including The Barr Brothers, The High Dials, Jesuslesfilles, Elephant Stone, Joseph Arthur and Passwords in the Busking for CHANGE initiative to raise funds for War Child Canada. To support the efforts of one or more of these artists, please visit Busking for CHANGE. Osheaga Music Festival takes place July 29 – 31 at Parc Jean-Drapeau. For ticket information, visit the Osheaga Festival website.
Image courtesy of Martin Cathrae.