Getty | Getty It's been a great year for music. But what's been even…
- Posted on Jul 31st 2011 11:15AM by Jonathan Dekel
Scott Legato, Getty Images
Like DFA1979, whose triumphant return to Montreal was slightly undermined by bassist Jesse Keeler's blasé -- standing and smoking onstage does not an exciting visual feast provide -- though newly-blond drummer/mouthpiece Sebastien Grainger more than made up for his bandmate. Basking in the refound spotlight, Grainger took the opportunity to both mock Eminem ("How was Eminem last night? Does he still hate his mom? Am I going to die tonight?") and laud the day's headliner -- for whom they were direct mainstage support -- leading a Costello chant before singing the chorus to his hit 1977 hit 'Allison.'
Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, was New York electro duo Ratatat, whose live-instrument dance attack managed to bring a staggeringly large audience to the smaller 'Green' stage, dwarfing Bright Eye's mainstage gathering and proving both the climax and the denouement to most festival-goers' evening.
Coming on shortly after Conor Oberst's crew finished up their surprisingly peppy set, Costello started out well but soon found himself running through too few hits early on, losing the majority of the small but respectable crowd before ever getting to the fan favourites -- presumably the set was meant for a dedicated audience who would stick around for the encore medley of 'Pump It Up,' ' (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes' and a trio of covers ('(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding,' the Who's 'Substitute' and the aforementioned 'Purple Rain').
Though to lay the blame at Costello's feet would be ignorant. To book him as a headliner playing after two mid-level acts who aren't exactly his style was a miscalculation on the part of festival organizers; the decks were stacked against him. While Eminem's Friday performance underlined what Osheaga can achieve should organizers continue to be bold with their headliners, Costello's poorly attended Saturday night set proved the state of grandfather rock is on shaky ground.