Concerts Concerts Toronto Urban Roots Festival: Day Four

Toronto Urban Roots Festival: Day Four

Toronto Urban Roots Fest
Belle and Sebastian
The Wooden Sky, The Sadies, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Yo La Tengo, Whitehourse, Cat Emprie, Xavier Rudd, Neko Case and Belle Sebastian
Fort York n Toronto, ON
July 7, 2013
  Review by: Melissa Adamson

Despite heavy rain, day four of TURF was as seamlessly executed as the previous three days and drew the largest crowd.


The last day of TURF started with sets from The Wooden Sky, The Sadies, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, Kurt Vile & The Violators and Yo La Tengo. Though this writer didn’t arrive on time to catch the solid line-up, the large crowd indicated that it was a great morning and early afternoon.

As the dark clouds began to roll in, the significant crowd of supporters remaind for Whitehourse’s late afternoon set. Comprised of married duo Luke Doucet and Melissa Mclelland they offer a folk rock sound that is simple and sweetly executed with perfect harmonies over a shared microphone.

Cat Empire also had a solid group of fan up and dancing at the front of the stage. Despite a downpour during their set plenty of fans stayed out in the rain, jumping and bouncing to the music and splashing around in the mud. The band fuses together jazz, funk and ska to create a unique sound full of party beats and anthemic choruses.

Xavier Rudd maintained the heavy beats and commanded our attention by starting his set with a throbbing drum and digerdoo solo. The beat pulsed through the field drawing in the crowd close to the stage. Rudd’s lyrics touch on themes of love and the environment and you could tell from his serene expression and loving glances at the sky and nature around him that he was in his element performing outside. Rudd’s positivity is also infectious and pulses out of him with each note. Everyone was smiling and dancing to the music.

Neko Case was a huge draw for the day and unfortunately played most of her set in the pouring rain. She powered through the heavy rainstorm and delivered a heartfelt set to a large group of soaked fans. The fans seemed thrilled to be there and the band was clearly touched by their energy and dedication. At one point Case thanked the crowd for sticking it out and said, “this is so sweet, I want to cry.”

Belle and Sebastian were lucky to start their set after the last downpour of the day. Under a clear sky they started with “Judy is a Dick Slap” and had the crowd immediately dancing in the mud. Lead singer Stuart Murdoch is incredibly engaging and his dead pan, sarcastic sense of humour had the crowd laughing throughout the set. He also got up close and personal with the crowd in many different ways. He invited a girl on stage to sing with him, played scrabble with another on stage, stood on the barrier and sang “Lord Anthony” into the crowd while a fan applied mascara and invited a group of people on stage to sing with the band. The highly interactive set was vethe perfect way to end the four day festival.