Setting up shop in Montreal halfway through the tour, the live music extravaganza could have opted for a better location than the awkwardly laid out portion of Parc Jean-Drapeau no one ever really uses (it escapes me why VWT wouldn’t want to make use of the same space other major festivals like Osheaga do, as it is on the same island, after all, but more conveniant and strategically organized), but once you got used to the running around from stage to stage, it wasn’t really all that bad. And, I suppose, if the stages were any closer together, no one would have the full benefit of any band as they would just overlap into a giant musical mess.
Alert the Medic has been perking up the ears of fans and critics alike in Canada’s East Coast. They’ve made some major career strides so far, having toured alongside Ill Scarlett and shared stages with Our Lady Peace, Arkells, Hollerado and more. They received four nominations at the Nova Scotia Music Awards and in early 2011 it was announced that they were nominated for the much coveted “Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year” award at the East Coast Music Awards.
“We, the Weapon” is the band’s sophomore effort and was released last year, following their self-titled debut album from 2006. The band has gained a reputation for writing driving rock anthems and performing them passionately during their energetic live shows.
Sure, it’s only August, and 2010 still has four whole months to deliver musically, but The Gaslight Anthem’s latest release, American Slang, is already looking, or I suppose sounding, like the best album of the year. The New Jersey natives’ third album, which was released this past June, is easily the best punk/rock offering to have come my way in a very, very long time. The sense of truth which the record emanates is hauntingly beautiful, and there’s no arguing with the band’s musical abilities either. And turns out the guys put on a wicked live show as well, so what more can one really ask for?
Following the band’s set at Montreal’s Osheaga Music Festival – where Brian Fallon (vocals/guitar), Alex Rosamilia (guitar), Alex Levine (bass), and Ben Horowitz (drums) played to a crowd filled with devoted fans and entranced, soon to become devoted fans – Rosamilia took time to offer The Rock and Roll Report a glimpse into the explosive band, define his odd man out status, and even explain floccinaucinihilipilification. Yes, that’s a real word. And it all began with a bench by the water, a sigh of relief, and the declaration that, “It’s hard to have that much energy at like, three in the afternoon!”
Q: That’s what I was just going to ask – when you’re stuck with an early set time like today’s 3 p.m., is it hard to get on stage and be full force?
A: It is if you, you know, sometimes I’ve woken up and we’re on in like twenty minutes, but because of the border cross I got up pretty early today … But before we go on I listen to the same five/eight songs every day to try to get myself in the same mindset no matter where I am, or what time it is.
July 31 and August 1 saw the fifth annual Osheaga music festival in Montreal. Usually a pretty modest affair, most of what Osheaga does, it does right. Beer, for instance. Osheaga does beer really well: the lines are short and the price isn’t too steep. And they’ve done away with beer tents, allowing Canadians the freedom to roam with their brew – just as God intended. There isn’t an overwhelming sense of corporate sponsorship, and the free metro ride home is very much appreciated. Oh, and the music is pretty good too.
In past years, Osheaga hadn’t attracted as many big performers as Coachella, Lollapalooza, or Bonnaroo, but this year it joined the ranks of the heavy hitters. Weezer and Snoop Dogg were some of the high profile names, but the band that made Osheaga truly transcendent was Montreal’s own Arcade Fire.
When I texted a friend of mine to ask if she had ever heard of The City Streets she replied, “Haha, I listened to them once by accident while searching for The Streets.” I love being exposed to new acts that come all the way from the Prairies and sing about the tragedies that befall individuals in modern urban spaces, but let’s face it: we have all heard songs about drinking away your sorrows, driving around, and complaining about bourgeois tragedies. Dingy “punk rock bars” are not about “teenage war.” Read the Manifesto. Punk is supposed to be political. See the Dead Kennedys.
When F. Scott Fitzgerald coined the phrase “The Jazz Age” in the roaring twenties, he wasn’t referring to what these guys have in mind. The City Streets are a young band that vacillate freely between the genres of post-punk revival, indie, and emo without an established aesthetic. Their sound is more Vans Warped Tour than Osheaga.