Besnard Lakes -- Osheaga Opening Party - Amelia Robitaille-16

To celebrate the Osheaga weekend festivities, The Corona Theater hosted a spectacular opening weekend party (priced at a modest $5) featuring indie darlings Valleys , Dusted, Hôtel Morphée, and of course, the always impressive Besnard Lakes.

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Stepping onto the stage first were the lo-fi duo Dusted, composed of Holy Fuck’s co-founder Brian Borcherdt, and percussionist Leon Taheny, who’s also a mixer, producer, and music engineer. Without words, Dusted launched into their set with melancholic intensity, playing songs off their debut album Total Dust to a crowd of curious onlookers. Singing with a kind of emotional heaviness reminiscent of a young Neil Young, Borcherdt, accompanied by the stripped-down stylings of Taheny on drums, tambourine, and the occasional drum machine, delivered an explosion of sound that started the night off right.

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Next up were Montreal’s own Valleys playing tracks off their latest record Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night? which was reviewed by our resident writer Amelia early last month (read review here). As expected the performance was both ethereal and ominous – a delicate balance created by the perfectly harmonized Tillie Perks and Marc St. Louis, on keys and guitar respectively. Known for their thoughtful lyrics and explosive live shows, Valleys definitely delivered, filling the venue with their serious, synth-heavy sound that left the floor vibrating even after leaving the stage.

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Following the duo was Hôtel Morphée, the Quebecois indie rock band with bite. Composed of Laurence Nerbonne on vox and violin, Blaise Borboen-Leonard on (lead) violin, Andre Pelletier on acoustic guitar, and Stephane Lemieux on drums, Hôtel Morphée launched into their set with rockstar-like intensity, with the wonderful Laurence moving about the stage like a blonde, Quebecoise Allison Mosshart accompanied by her band of equally talented multi-instrumentalists. Playing tracks off their record “Des Histoires de Fantomes” released this past February, Hotel Morphee made sure that they were memorable.

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And last but certainly not least were the Besnard Lakes, one of Montreal’s finest musical gems. Entering to a stage full of smoke in true rock fashion, the band (headed by husband and wife team Jace Lazek and Olga Goreas) launched into their set — much like their openers — with a distinctively seasoned intensity. Looking like a bass goddess in a long, red dress, Goreas and co. let their signature grandiose, shoegaze, psychedelic sounds do the talking, Lazek’ voice serving as another layer to the band’s already complex sound. Playing songs off their latest release Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO released this past April, the band also decided to include a wonderful talented xylophone player halfway through their set – an undoubtedly lovely touch. Overall, the band, preceded by the best up-and-coming acts in the game today, demonstrated just how powerful great indie music can be. 

Photos: Amelia Robitaille. All rights reserved.

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