July 10, 2013

TURF: The Lowest of the Low

The Toronto Urban Roots Festival, or TURF for short, is a 4-day music festival in downtown Toronto. For its first year, they had a really good line up of artists including She & Him, Camera Obscura, Arkells, Fitz and the Tantrums, Hannah Georgas, The Felice Brothers, Skydiggers, The Wooden Sky, The Sadies, Yo La Tengo, Whitehorse, Cat Empire, Neko Case and Belle & Sebastian to name a few. There was also a club portion with live performances at The Horseshoe and Lee's Palace each night.

I only attended Day 3 and saw Dawes, Matt Mays, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, The Lowest of the Low, The Hold Steady and Flogging Molly. I found it to be an amazing experience. The festival was well organized, easy to get around and had a good variety of food and drink options including great food trucks, plentiful beer gardens and free water. There was a kids area, too. The VIP option was well worth the upgrade. I think I would attend more festivals if they were all this well run and had such well organized VIP options. I do wonder how close to capacity they were, and whether the manageable crowd levels were by design or not. Hopefully, TURF was profitable and will become an annual tradition on the Toronto concert calendar.
I've written about The Lowest of the Low and their singer Ron Hawkins many times before on this blog. I've been open about my feeling that Ron is one of Canada's all time great songwriters. I've been a fan of The Low since before their indie début Shakespeare, My Butt was released in 1991.

I always enjoy seeing The Low live and this show was no exception. It's also great to see them on a bill such as this, where they can be appreciated by old fans like myself, and hopefully be introduced to new fans, too.

They played a solid set from across their career, hitting up what has to be one of the best albums ever, Shakespeare, My Butt as well as the 1994 follow up Hallucigenia and 2004's reunion album Sordid Fiction.
Check out a few Lowest of the Low gems.

"Rosy and Grey" If you think this song sounds familiar, you might have heard Weddings, Parties, Anything's cover.

"Eternal Fatalist" This one's old. Probably the original video for this tune. It sounds like it pre-dates Shakespeare, My Butt.

"Bleed a Little While Tonight"

"The Hand of Magdalena" from the Mike Bullard Show.

"Gamble" from their 1994 release Hallucigenia.

"The Last Recidivist" from 2004's Sordid Fiction.

If you like what you hear, and you don't already know The Low, and if you do, YouTube has tons of fan filmed live videos. Check 'em out!
The photos in this post are mine.