Concerts Concerts Toronto Urban Roots Festival: Day Two

Toronto Urban Roots Festival: Day Two

Toronto Urban Roots Fest
Fitz & the Tantrums, Justin Townes Earle, JD McPherson
Fort York in Toronto, ON
July 5, 2013

Review by: Melissa Adamson

The second day of TURF started with some showers in the early evening but ended with clear skies and Motown music. 


Singer song writers JD McPherson and Justin Townes Earle started night two of TURF on a warm note. While McPherson had the crowd dancing in the rain Earle had everyone listening attentively to his well crafted stories about family, relationships, loss and New York. Earle was particularly charming with his singing grin, jerky leg and arm movements, soft spoken drawl and remarks about the importance of taking care of your Mamma.

Next, Fitz & the Tantrums upped the evening’s tempo with a jolt. They bounced and danced around the stage, doing their best to encourage dancing from the crowd. However, despite their best efforts they didn’t receive much of a reaction, until they played a cover of "Sweet Dreams" by Eurethmic.

Arkells ended the night with a 50 minute set of their own songs followed immediately by 40 minutes of Motown covers. The band pleased everyone by first plowing through a packed set list of their singles and fan favourites, before inviting the Arkells' Motown Review to join them on stage. Motown hits that they covered include “Get Ready”, “Uptight”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, “My Girl”, “Same Old Song”, “Can’t Hurry Love”, “Tracks of My Tears”, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”, “Want You Back” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” as the encore.

The band is known for their tight sets and lively stage presence, and lead singer Max Kerman oozes charisma while he interacts with the crowd during each song. It is also hard not to dance to Motown music, so the amped up crowd quickly turned into a huge dance party. Dance circles were set-up across the field and loud cheers filled the night with each hit.