July 31, 2014

TURF Day 2: Band 4: Drive-By Truckers

TURF 2014 Day 2 marked my first time seeing the legendary Drive-By Truckers live. They play good old Southern Rock with plenty of southern and plenty of rock and plenty of guitars - three, in fact. Their show was thoroughly entertaining. They sounded great and the audience soaked up the tunes as we all soaked up the sun.
I'm no expert on the music of Drive-By Truckers but their setlist was well paced, switching off lead vocal duties between Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. The rest of the band kept it tight and the whole band brought the sound together.
They're also great storytellers, with Patterson Hood taking us through the story of his mom's courtship and wedding that accompanied "18 Wheels of Love". They also played a rousing cover of Warren Zevon's "Play It All Night Long".
Check out a selection of tunes from their set:

Opened with "Birthday Boy"

"The Righteous Path"

"Made Up English Oceans"

"Pauline Hawkins"

"Shit Shots Count"

Their cover of Warren Zevon's "Play It All Night Long"

And they closed the show with "Hell No I Ain't Happy", which would resonate in my head until The Violent Femmes filled my head with something completely different.

July 30, 2014

More new music from Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead have a new album called Barragán coming out September 20. They let us hear "No More Honey" and now we get to enjoy the mellow "Dripping". They've announced tour dates and are hitting up The Horseshoe in Toronto on November 29.

Pic from Facebook.

July 29, 2014

TURF Day 2: Band 3: Shovels & Rope

Charleston, South Carolina's Shovels & Rope are a revelation. They have passion, great on-stage chemistry and cool tunes. They demonstrated, to anyone in attendance at TURF Day 2 who didn't already know, exactly why they generate so much buzz.

On the surface they're not the kind of music I gravitate towards. I don't usually like twang. But that's why festivals like TURF are so special. They bring in a variety of acts that appeal to a wide audience and in so doing they introduce other bands to those same folks. I'm certainly glad that I was turned on to this duo's charms.
Shovels & Rope switched up guitar, drums and vocals throughout their set. I loved it when the guitar tones got dirty. They even treated us to some new tunes that sounded cool.  Their new album Swimmin' Time comes out August 26. Check out "The Devil Is All Around" below.
If you're looking for a chance to check them out, they are embarking on a tour. They're back in Toronto on September 30 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. Should be awesome!

And here are a handful of cool Shovels & Rope tunes:

"O' Be Joyful"




"The Devil Is All Around"

"Hail Hail"

July 28, 2014

New music from 2:54

I haven't written about 2:54 since 2012 when they appeared on my best of lists when their song "Creeping" came in at number 4. They've been pretty quiet since, and have just released a new track for us to hear. It's called "Orion" and it has a great mix of synths, guitars and careful melodies. I'm looking forward to the release of their new album later in the year.

Photo from Facebook.

July 27, 2014

TURF Day 2: Band 2: Old Man Markley

Sometimes listening to a band's recorded output isn't a good way to judge how you're going to like a band in the live environment. Old Man Markley is a good example of this. When I checked them out on-line, I decided I wasn't interested in them. I think we decided to stick around at the South Stage to eat some lunch. 

Well Old Man Markley set us straight as they took to the South Stage at TURF on Day 2. This lunch/lounging situation also explains why I shot pictures of the band from the grass rather than from in front of the stage. Glad I brought a long lens.
As I watched and listened to Old Man Markley, it struck me that there's a fine, fine line between this super fast country-bluegrass music and speed metal. Just think about it. Give that banjo player a Kramer with super distortions and a Marshall stack and see what it sounds like.
 Check out some tunes!

Here's their latest video. It's for "Train of Thought".

"For Better For Worse". This one rocks live!

"Too Soon For Goodnight"

July 26, 2014

TURF Day 2: Band 1: Caitlin Rose

Toronto Urban Roots Festival Concert Photography
Caitlin Rose and her band graced the South Stage of TURF to kick off Day 2. They sounded like Nashville and that's a good thing, since they're from Nashville. Their soothing country-tinged sounds, a day of beautiful sunny weather and the brightly coloured shirts for the guitarists made for a great combination.

Check out a bunch of tunes from their set.

Their cover of The National's "Pink Rabbits"

"Only A Clown" from 2013's The Stand-In

"Pink Champagne" from The Stand-In

Set closing tune "Shanghai Cigarettes" from her 2010 début Own Side Now

July 25, 2014

TURF Day 1: Band 6: Black Joe Lewis

I ended off the first day of TURF where I began - at the South Stage. Now, with the sun down, I checked out Austin's Black Joe Lewis and his band. What a perfect way to end the day. Up-beat, soulful tunes with one of my favourite things - a horn section.
I had been hearing about Black Joe Lewis for a few years now and had been really looking forward to their show. It did not disappoint. It's got the core elements of classic soul a la James Brown with gritty guitars and down to earth themes. An amazingly fun time. Those horns! That voice! That groove!
Check out some tunes!


"Booty City"

"Come To My Party"



"Mama's Queen"

"Mustang Ranch"

"Livin' In The Jungle"

"I'm Broke"


July 24, 2014

TURF Day 1: Band 5: Deer Tick

Deer Tick are from Providence, Rhode Island. According to their Wikipedia page, they rebel against the country genre tag by not singing with a twang. There's straight ahead rock in there, that's for sure, but there's more, including roots and country influence. In addition to guitar solos, they have Hammond organ and even sax.

They were band number 5 in my TURF experience. I found myself back at the South Stage for this set after a couple of shows on the big stages. The South stage is definitely where I spent most of TURF Day 1.
I hope their new tune "Shitty Music Festival" isn't about TURF. I'm sure it can't be. Fun tune, anyway. "Ashamed" is a fun romp. They played an energetic set which ended with a cover of "La Bamba". They made note of the fact that they purposely put together a different setlist from their show at Lee's so that fans attending both shows wouldn't be bored. Nice.

This was my introduction to Deer Tick. Pleased to meet you and I look forward to a deepening appreciation of your music.
"Big House"

"The Dream's In The Ditch"

"The Rock"

"Main Street"


July 23, 2014

TURF Day 1: Band 4: Local Natives

LA band Local Natives are definitely crowd pleasers. They started off with the big single "Breakers" and proceeded to wow the crowd with their energetic and enthusiastically delivered tunes. In the spirit of independence and the Fourth of July the played "Warning Sign" by The Talking Heads song.
They played a cool setlist that served to enthral their fans while winning over some new fans, too. Check out some of the set highlights below. Overall, I found their set to be tons of fun!

"World News"

"Camera Talk"


"You & I"

"Wide Eyes"

"Heavy Feet"

"Who Knows Who Cares"