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10 Acts to See at Osheaga 2019

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Osheaga Festival is arguably Canada’s best music festival. Held in Montreal across three days, it features major international touring acts—big and small—and it offers a taste of everything from electronic, hip-hop and latin to rock and pop. This year’s festival has been moved to Parc Jean Drapeau, the newly-renovated original site, and it’s a walk or bike ride away from Jacques Cartier Bridge in downtown Montreal. According to the festival, this move “offer[s] more comfortable and spacious festival grounds than ever before, our iconic side-by-side main stages, activities, spectacular art installations and assorted culinary options.”

Last year’s festival lineup included Travis Scott, Arctic Monkeys, Florence + The Machine, The National, James Blake, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more. The 2019 edition will host The Chemical Brothers, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, The Lumineers, Janelle Monae, Interpol, Kurt Vile and more. As Paste gears up to cover this year’s fest (Aug. 2-4), we’re studying up on our French and loading up our Spotify playlists with artists on the 2019 lineup. Below, we’ve listed 10 performers we’re most excited to catch at Osheaga. Stay tuned for a recap of festival highlights and video clips on Paste’s Instagram stories. Follow all our Osheaga shenanigans on Instagram here.

1. King Princess

After releasing her 2018 debut EP Make My Bed, which spawned the hit single “1950,” King Princess was christened a queer pop icon—and rightly so. Ever since that first EP, she’s impressed with singles like “Pussy is God,” “Prophet” and “Cheap Queen,” and she’s set to release her debut album Cheap Queen this fall (release date TBA) via Zelig/Columbia Records. King Princess’ breathy, arresting vocals are perched gracefully on a throne of hip-hop, sophisti-pop and R&B textures. —Lizzie Manno

2. Francis and the Lights

Though I’ve never seen Francis and the Lights live before, I have an enormous feeling that his set at Osheaga this weekend is going to be downright beautiful. For those uninitiated into the realm of Francis and the Lights, it’s almost entirely one man named Francis Farewell Starlite. His music is electronic, simple, and subtle R&B, a modern mix between Bon Iver, Phil Collins and Frank Ocean. Expect lots of focused, solo grooving at this set, and don’t be surprised if you catch yourself riding the groove wave yourself. —Annie Black

3. Nilüfer Yanya

Miss Universe, the debut album from London-based singer/songwriter Nilüfer Yanya arrived at just the right time—a post-genre world with anxiety falling like an ACME anchor on top of nearly every twenty-something. Her critically-acclaimed 2019 LP proved her early buzz wasn’t a fluke—her sassy, moody vocals perfectly depict the personal insecurities that exponentially inflate in our minds. With eccentricities like sparkling synths and spoken-word interludes from a fictional, dystopian medical company, Yanya seamlessly glides between indie rock, pop, soul and jazz. —Lizzie Manno

4. Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe is the type of artist who is enjoyable to watch regardless of whether you know her music well, know just the hits or have never heard of her at all. Which, if you haven’t heard of Janelle Monáe, you might be living under a rock, especially after her fantastic record last year. She is the definition of “small but fierce”—though she’s barely five feet tall, her powerful, soulful performance makes her a force to be reckoned with. —Annie Black

5. Fontaines D.C.

Fontaines D.C. have been pigeonholed as the British Isles’ next great post-punk export à la Shame or Idles, but this Irish five-piece deserve more than that reductive framing. Frontman Grian Chatten doesn’t have a rough, throaty punk roar, but his droney, poetic speak-sing packs just as much of a punch. When he’s not evangelizing in a distinctly Irish tongue, he wanders anxiously around the stage rather than throwing himself around or into the crowd. Tracks like “Boys in the Better Land,” “Too Real” and “Big” are all winners—their gritty social commentary is powerful and their no-frills rock riffs possess a meaty, spring-loaded energy. —Lizzie Manno

6. Childish Gambino

If you ever have an opportunity to see Childish Gambino, you absolutely must see Childish Gambino. We already know Donald Glover is a visionary between his acting, directing, singing, dancing and songwriting, but what you might not know is that when performing live, Glover gives it his all— physically, emotionally AND mentally. It’s absolutely fascinating to be in the middle of an enormous festival crowd, full of willy-nilly distractions, and not be able to tear your eyes away from the stage. On top of that, Glover has said he’s going to retire Childish Gambino eventually, so who knows if this is your last chance to see him. —Annie Black

7. The Chemical Brothers

English big beat duo The Chemical Brothers—aka Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons—are ready to start a rave at Osheaga 2019. Having been around for more than two decades, the four-time Grammy winners are the masters of disorienting bleeps and bloops and the commanders of transcendent live shows, bolstered by massive displays of psychedelic motifs. Expect hits like “Galvanize,” “Go” and “Hey Boy Hey Girl,” and lock into the grooves that have soundtracked the lives of electronic music fans for generations. —Lizzie Manno

8. Young Thug

Full disclosure, I live in Atlanta and love to see and support Atlanta talent, especially when they’re performing outside of the city. But with Young Thug, the part of his performance I’m most excited about is seeing what he’ll wear. Young Thug is known for his avant-garde, sometimes genderbent fashion, and there’s no question he’ll bring it to the stage in Montreal. A very 2019 question, as well, is if Young Thug will perform his remix of “Old Town Road.” We can only hope. Many, many bonus points if Lil Nas X and the yodeling kid are present. Could you even imagine? —Annie Black

9. Tierra Whack

Tierra Whack quickly emerged as one of the most exciting new rappers of the last few years. Her 2018 album Whack World was a bold idea—to create an 15-track album with each one clocking in at exactly one minute. Not only that, Whack also created a 15-minute video to accompany the album, and music fans’ jaws collectively dropped not just because of the Philadelphia rapper’s ambition, but also her natural talent. She fuses alternative hip-hop, rap and R&B and marries them with lyrics touching on economic anxiety, the friend zone, grief, racism and much more. Her embrace of all things eccentric make her a modern hip-hop X-factor. —Lizzie Manno

10. SebastiAn

Were you a big Justice fan back in the mid-aughts? If so, you need to be at SebastiAn’s set at Osheaga. SebastiAn is the aforementioned French electronic duo’s label mate at Ed Banger Record, and though he hasn’t released a full album since 2011, his three singles this year are incredibly promising. SebastiAn holds close to heart the signature maximal sound that Ed Banger artists are known for while also keeping things fresh and contemporary. —Annie Black

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