Festival season hasn’t slowed down just yet. This past weekend, if you were stateside, you could enjoy the four day line-up that is Lollapalooza, and if you ventured further north, you could enjoy the three day line-up that is Osheaga. There was some overlap between the two, in terms of artists tapped — but all that means is that more fans got to enjoy more music — the more, the merrier.
Osheaga is becoming bigger and bigger each year, evidenced by the amount of additions to the scope of the festival– this year included amusement rides for anyone who wanted to get smashed and then go round and round on a swing, as well as various sponsored booths from everything from Trojan condoms to shoe-cleaning materials to a crazy Perrier-sponsored dance tent to yogurt brand Oikos (not sure what their booth was about, but they were outchea). Not to mention the abundance and choice in terms of food tents/trucks this year. Lolla has always been a force in the ‘festival industry’ as it were, with roots dating back to the early ’90s, whereas Osheaga is still much younger, with its first festival back in 2006. Since that time, though, it’s not only managed to attract more sponsors but it’s managed to attract more and more genres, and more fans (from Canada and the U.S.-alike– it was evident from the amount of Metro card/payment stumbling and general lack of French words). While not an abundantly hip-hop heavy festival by nature, this year Osheaga ensured to have the perfect amount, and not to mention, the perfect names, for any hip-hop fan to satisfy their ticket purchase, regardless of the day– each day had at least three worthy hip-hop acts to catch. Still, it’s unlikely to catch them all, to borrow a Pokemon catchphrase (?).
As it happens with a lot of rap shows these days, a mosh pit is to be expected — however it’s a little different when it’s literally an entire sea of festival goers that are moshing, and it’s not relegated to a small closed-off corner in the front of the stage. It’s intimidating to watch, let alone be apart of. However it’s all the proof you need that fans were beyond pleased with his album-release-day set. A backtrack is seemingly inevitable with a rap concert these days as well — and while I despise it, Travis handled his own well, ensuring he properly rapped along, and perhaps more importantly, rapped louder, than the backing track. I can’t say as much for Smokepurpp.
Smokepurpp was allocated a smaller stage, with a performance that was timed hours before Travis. I cannot say that his fans weren’t satisfied with his set — the crowd he drew was substantial, to be sure, and college-bro-y — however as an onlooker, not necessarily attached to the music either way, it was a jumble. He dedicated a song to fallen friend XXXTentacion, which is common enough fare for his sets these days. He also randomly enough played a Kids See Ghost song. He played some of his own music too (“Bless Yo Trap,” “Do Not Disturb” and “Nephew” made the cut), but that was the issue basically — it was like a DJ set, complete with Smokepurpp ad-libs and jumping. Smokepurpp acted as a hypeman and rapper to his own music, punching in lyrics here and there.
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
While punching in your rap set is definitely becoming more common, there are artists who do still rely more on their live vocals than anything else. Of course, as a singer, Anderson .Paak is among them. He brought along his band The Free Nationals for a Saturday night performance, also one of the last acts that night, and a highlight of the weekend. Not only did the raspy-voiced singer bring an energy like that in his song “Bubblin” across the stage/for the entire set (he performed that song too!), his Free Nationals band did some dope cover work, surprising the audience with their take on some vintage Dr. Dre, rightly so as one of .Paak’s mentors, and some good ol’ Ginuwine (“Pony,” duh).
Post Malone helped close out Sunday night, making for a headliner and a highlight. Although it seems like he pulled similar tricks at his Lolla set– smashing a guitar is a common and somehow endearing trope for Posty — it doesn’t take away from the genuineness of his Osheaga set. He came to rep Canada too, rocking maple leaf-branded Beerbongs & Bentleys attire, as well as Canadian flag patches on both knees. So we know it’s real. Sometimes you just wanna hear an artist’s best singles/biggest hits, and often times, that’s what festivals do best for a listener. Indeed, that’s what Post did, taking fans through his catalog in a non-chronological manner, including records like “Pyscho,” “Stay,” “Rockstar,” “White Iverson” and “Congratulations.”
I cannot complete this without mentioning BROCKHAMPTON. They also helped close out the Sunday festivities, although at a smaller stage on the festival grounds. Still, with the type of show they put on, and the type of crowd they drew, they are fast approaching mainstream/headlining calibre. In true boy band form, they had synchronized dance moves and matching outfits on deck, making good use of the artificial grass stage. Among the songs the animated crew performed, we got to hear “Rental” and “Queer” live.
Peep photos from a few artists across the weekend in the gallery above, including BROCKHAMPTON, NAV, Killy, Smokepurpp and Tyler, the Creator. Until next year.