TURF Day 3: Hollerado, Jeff Tweedy, Gogol Bordello, July Talk & More

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Jon Langford & The Burlington Welsh Male Chorus (East Stage, 12:45PM)

TURF: Jon Langford & The Burlington Welsh Male Chorus @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Devin Cuddy (South Stage, 12:50PM)

The third day of a festival is often tough and can prove difficult to drag yourself to the grounds early. It was however worth the early morning in order to catch Devin Cuddy, whose set of rootsy country and blues solidified the fact that he doesn’t require an introduction referencing his father (*cough cough Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo cough cough*) in order to garner people’s attention. Devon Richardson (Jane’s Party) provided gorgeous harmonies while snappy keys brought a New Orlean’s/Deep South-inspired feel to much of the set. Highlights included “Ode to a Gypsy’s Daughter” as well as a couple of cover songs – “Maggie’s Hardware Store” by Jack Marks as well as an old-timey Hank Williams tune dedicated to Pokey Lafarge who had played the day before.

Cuddy’s record Kitchen Knife was recently released on Cameron House Records. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch him at the bar of the same name some night soon.

TURF: The Devin Cuddy Band @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: The Devin Cuddy Band @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: The Devin Cuddy Band @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: The Devin Cuddy Band @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: The Devin Cuddy Band @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: The Devin Cuddy Band @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: The Devin Cuddy Band @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Ladies of the Canyon (South Stage, 1:50PM)

We only had time to stick around for the first song of Ladies of the Canyon’s set, but the quartet let loose their inner Stevie Nicks with their countrified classic rock in those few minutes and it was pretty great.

TURF: Ladies of the Canyon @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Ladies of the Canyon @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Ladies of the Canyon @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Ladies of the Canyon @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Ladies of the Canyon @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Twin Forks (West Stage, 2:10PM)

There was much left to be desired from Twin Forks’ performance. The exit of Suzie Zeldman (vocals, mandolin, banjo) from the lineup unfortunately resulted in a significant disintegration of the happy and joyful dynamic of the band that could not be remedied with the entrance of two new members – Kimmie (vocals) and Kelsie Baron (vocals, mandolin). Despite Chris Carrabba’s (vocals, guitar) obvious happiness to be on stage and back in Canada, much of their once-bouncy and zealous performance sadly fell flat. Back and forth singalongs during songs like “Can’t be Broken” and “Kiss Me Darling” felt stiff and almost forced, lacking Zeldman’s sweet and genuine enthusiasm. The band did however catch everyone’s collective attention – and took their breath away – by playing “Stolen” from Carrabba’s Dashboard Confessional days, and successfully got a call-and-response going for “Come On.” They also pulled out a cover of “Blister in the Sun,” which felt a bit odd to hear from another band after seeing Violent Femmes do it less than 24 hours prior.

While any band that involves Carrabba will likely always have a draw, it will be interesting to see if Twin Forks is able to regain some of the great momentum they had going for them throughout 2013.

TURF: Twin Forks @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Twin Forks @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Twin Forks @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Twin Forks @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Twin Forks @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Twin Forks @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Twin Forks @ Fort York, 06-07-14


July Talk (East Stage, 3:20PM)

Toronto’s July Talk has been exploding as of lately and they put on a show worthy of praise. Sporting a Darcys snapback, Leah Fay was a ball of spunky energy that could not be contained while Peter Dreimanis rolled out his deep drawl opposite her for “In the Garden” and “Summer Dress.” The interaction between the two of them was less outlandish than we’ve seen in the past, but no less dynamic, and they had the crowds eating out of the palms of their hands – women’s undergarments were even thrown up on the stage in response. I’d say you’ve made it, at that point.

TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14
TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: July Talk @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Jenny Lewis (West Stage, 4:30PM)

TURF: Jenny Lewis @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jenny Lewis @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jenny Lewis @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jenny Lewis @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jenny Lewis @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jenny Lewis @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jenny Lewis @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Noah Gundersen (South Stage, 4:10PM)

In stark contrast, folk artist Noah Gundersen (vocals, guitar) proved that sometimes, a voice is all you need to leave a lasting impression. With gut-wrenching lyrics and the simple and rustic accompaniment of his sister Abby on violin, the two soon had the South Stage transfixed. Before set opener “Poor Man’s Son” had ended, a hush had fallen over the audience on the hill. You could have sworn the temperature had dropped a couple of degrees, so deep were the chilling shivers sent down my spine by the emotional “Boathouse.” The agony expressed in “Ledges” then proceeded to turn me into a puddle of feelings and the forlorn harmonica on “Cigarettes” left my heart aching. The Gundersens may not sing “happy songs appropriate for outdoor music festivals,” but they spun beauty out of sadness. If that wasn’t enough, they also covered “Helpless” by Canadian great Neil Young, and did so splendidly.

Gundersen returns to Toronto on October 31 at the Horseshoe Tavern. Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss this one.

TURF: Noah Gundersen @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Noah Gundersen @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Noah Gundersen @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Noah Gundersen @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Noah Gundersen @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Gogol Bordello (East Stage, 5:30PM)

New York’s Gogol Bordello was just plain crazy. Even if their gypsy-influenced Caribbean-flaired punk sound wasn’t quite your thing, their live show was something else entirely. Like a band of gypsies, the massive eight-piece group seemingly came out of nowhere and quickly placed everyone under their dancing spell, transforming the grounds into a mass of moving bodies and kicked up dust. A non-stop flurry of adrenaline it felt like there was constantly a band member leaving and then reappearing, rushing the front of the stage to bait the audience further. Eugene Hütz (lead vocals, guitar) also took to spraying the audience with red wine as he gulped it down from the bottle. Similar to my experience watching The Cat Empire at last year’s festival, it felt like we had been picked up and transported somewhere far, far away from Toronto.

TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14
TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Gogol Bordello @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Joe Pug (South Stage, 5:20PM)

TURF: Joe Pug @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Joe Pug @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Joe Pug @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Bidiniband (South Stage, 6:30PM)

TURF: Bidiniband @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Bidiniband @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Bidiniband @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Bidiniband @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Bidiniband @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Bidiniband @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Jeff Tweedy (West Stage, 7:00PM)

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy had one of the largest draws of the festival for his set, with sports broadcaster Dave Hodge proclaiming it as “the event of the weekend” in his introduction. Playing low-key and sombre “dad rock” at its finest, Tweedy’s sleepy vocals were the most soothing and a nice come down from the insanity of Gogol Bordello. Joined by his son Spencer on drums, Tweedy joked that he started working on a record 18 years ago, but had to wait until he had grown a drummer. Sukierae drops September 16 but we got to hear “Down From Above” and “Nobody Dies Anymore” ahead of its release.

The band exited midway through the set, leaving the venerable master to delight the audience with solo renditions of older Wilco and Uncle Tupelo songs, including personal favourite, “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.” Having never seen Wilco live, it’s a moment I won’t soon forget.

TURF: Jeff Tweedy @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jeff Tweedy @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jeff Tweedy @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jeff Tweedy @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jeff Tweedy @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jeff Tweedy @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Jeff Tweedy @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Man Man (South Stage, 7:40PM)

TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14
TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Man Man @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Neutral Milk Hotel (East Stage, 8:30PM)

Playing a rare live performance for the band, it felt sacred to witness indie-folk legends Neutral Milk Hotel up on stage. After the first song, the reclusive big-bearded frontman Jeff Mangum politely requested that audience members put away their cameras and restrain from further photographs. And that was just fine. Like the sighting of a mystical creature, there was something special about just getting to see this band perform “Holland, 1945” and “King of Carrot Flowers Parts 1-3” from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea that you wanted to experience it with every one of your senses, rather than secondhand through a camera lens.

TURF: Neutral Milk Hotel @ Fort York, 06-07-14


Hollerado (South Stage, 9:00PM)

While we were spellbound by Neutral Milk Hotel, we wanted to end the festival with locals Hollerado and so we made our way through the gopher hole-filled hills to the South Stage one last time. There was a larger crowd awaiting them than even the band expected, and frontman Menno Versteeg expressed that it was the “biggest compliment to the band” that people chose to be there rather than NMH (where even his wife had chosen to stay). Their youthful and outgoing energy soon stirred up quite the dance party as the kids jumped around to White Paint and older favourite likes “Juliette” and “Fake Drugs” until the the clock struck 11PM. Oh, and they ended their set with a rousing singalong to “Oh, Canada.” It doesn’t get much more fitting than that as TURF is quickly becoming a gem in the Canadian summer festival schedule.

TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14
TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14
TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14 TURF: Hollerado @ Fort York, 06-07-14

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Categories: Live Music, Toronto Urban Roots Festival 2014

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