Canadian Musician


Canadian Musician Does TURF 2016

Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Matt Good plays TURF 2016

Matt Good plays TURF 2016

The Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) has grown in recent years into one of the most anticipated and exciting music events in a city that’s ripe with them year-round. The unique inner-city setting and diverse but well-curated lineup help it stand out as a one-of-a-kind musical product, and for 2016, TURF organizers once again outdid themselves. Canadian Musician‘s Samantha Everts and Mark Matusoff were on the ground for TURF 2016, and we invite you to check out some of the Canadian and international acts that took to the event’s various stages this year. A full photo library follows Sam’s review below…

With the first winds of fall welcoming the somewhat sparse festival crowd to the Fort York grounds, TURF Festival was more relaxed and less pretentious than any of the others we’ve attended this year. It could be closest to the CBC Festival in May in comparison, but with less babies and more classic ’90s Canadiana in the form of Limblifter, Matt Mays, and Tragically Hip sing-a-longs via Dwayne Gretzky.

You got to love the band that declares at 4 p.m. in the afternoon that they are the best band in the world that the “clearly unemployed or self-employed” are lucky to see. So goes the grandiose personalities of Sweden’s The Hives. Having waited close to 15 years since I first heard “Hate to Say I Told You So,” this band had more energy than any of the crowd could muster – jumping into the crowd, encouraging singalongs, crowd-surfing, just pretty much working it. Ripping through classics like “Idiot Walk” and other cuts from Veni Vidi Vicious, the wait was well-worth it. There was no way any other band could follow up their solid hour-long set.

Spread out across three stages, the largest crowd the Friday night, and the one with the most dedicated fans sporting tattoos and even socks bearing their bag-pipe infused names, was that of The Dropkick Murphys. Always an energetic show, the frontman was hanging off the stage, closer to the audience the whole performance than any other band that weekend.

Explosions in the Sky performed in the background while everyone checked out the extensive food truck options. Seriously, there were more food trucks and variety than at WayHome. Kudos on the vegan ice cream cookie sandwiches!

It seemed a shame that The Hives weren’t on later so as to have introduced James Bay fans to their style of music, but his crowd came only for him. The 22-year-old Brit had a gorgeous light show that matched his stellar vocals as he played fan favourites that were sung back almost as loudly by those around us.

We skipped Day 2 due to previous work commitments.

Day 3 belonged to the almighty Jimmy Eat World. Otherwise, we stuck to the mainstages on the Sunday so to catch The New Pornographers, The Hold Steady, Matt Good, and Death Cab for Cutie.

Performing a set similar to their CBC Fest headlining spot, The New Pornographers played popular songs like “Sing Me Spanish Techno” and “Mass Romantic” to a warm reception.

The Hold Steady had the buzz of the day. Performing their now-classic 2006 album, Boys and Girls in America, people were ready to re-live the first time they popped the CD open in high school or university and all the moments that album came to share with them. So much energy, so much singing, and SO many Blue Jays caps.

As dinner time came around, Matthew Good took to the main stage, pushing even more ’90s nostalgia on those in the audience. Songs like “Hello Timebomb,” “Load Me Up,” “Apparitions,” and “Weapon” had people dancing in food truck lines and singing across the field as they went to chow down on a gourmet hotdog or donut.

From the moment Jimmy Eat World took to stage, I knew I wasn’t going to have a voice the next day. With Bleed American coming in close second to my love of their album Futures, people around me were equally as excited. Playing with more gusto than any Taylor Swift dance video could contain, Jimmy Eat World proved their place along Death Cab for Cutie as champions of the 2000s emo punk-pop era. Songs like “The Middle,” “Futures,” and “Praise Chorus” were as perfect as they were when locked on repeat on my Discman in high school.

Death Cab for Cutie closed out the three-day festival joking that they should join with Jimmy Eat World for title of sweatiest rock band. Singer Benjamin Gibbard started the set focusing mostly on piano before joining the rest of the band on a mix of Codes and Keys and newer material. “Black Sun,” “I Will Possess Your Heart,” “Crooked Teeth,” and of course, “I Will Follow You into the Dark,” were part of their live set.

TURF festival wasn’t the most widely attended, but it was the perfect closeout to the summer music festival season.

Death Cab for Cutie

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Dropkick Murphys

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Dwayne Gretzky

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Explosions in the Sky

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The Hives

Hives001 Hives009 Hives010 Hives011 Hives017 Hives018 Hives021 Hives025 Hives028 Hives037

The Hold Steady

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Jake Bugg


James Bay

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Jimmy Eat World

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Limblifter001 Limblifter002 Limblifter004

Matt Good

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Matt Mays

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The New Pornographers

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Skinny Lister

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