Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were the main stage headliners for Day 2 of The Toronto Urban Roots Festival. They played the East Stage to a very enthusiastic audience. Singer Alex Ebert is a magnetic performer that the camera and the audience loves. He spent some time with the front row and his performance was dynamic and theatrical.
Overall, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros put on a pretty spacey and free flowing show. The talented band switched up instruments as needed and the whole thing came together in a multimedia cacophony of lights and sound. Based on my experience, seeing this band live is the only way to truly appreciate what they're doing.
I was impressed with Julian's songs, the music's feel-good vibe, and the band's energy and musicianship. So impressed, that when I saw that the band was to headline a Saturday night show at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, I marked it on my calendar as a must-see show.
The Julian Taylor Band present a danceable, rockin', funky, easy going, R&B experience including two keyboard players (piano and Hammond organ, of course), a horn section, two guitars, bass and drums. That's one full Horseshoe stage. All the players in Julian's band are super-talented, making for a tight musical experience.
A couple of covers, Al Green's "Take Me To The River" and Bob Marley's "Is This Love?", are mixed in amongst Julian's original compositions, making for a well-balanced set for new comers and long-time fans alike.
With great tunes, a talented, polished band and Julian's instantly likeable stage presence, the Julian Taylor Band produces music and a stage show that will not disappoint. I know that I'm actively looking forward to seeing more and more from this great band.
The Julian Taylor Band are taking an innovative approach to their next album. It's a double album called Desert Star and they're releasing the album five songs at a time over the next year. You can collect the four 5-song EPs or wait for it to all come together on vinyl, if that's how you roll. You can pick up the first EP that equates to "side one" now plus the band's previous release Tech Noir.
Here are some tunes from the band's set:
"Do You Remember"
"Never Gonna Give You Up"
"Be Good To Your Woman"
The track that ended their main set, "Zero to Eleven"
St. Paul and the Broken Bones' popularity seems to be growing quickly. From high-profile fans like David Letterman through to bigger and bigger gigs, this is a band that's going places fast. They were the second last act to appear on the South Stage of The Toronto Urban Roots Festival on the second day of the festival. They also played a jam-packed Club Bonus Series show at Lee's Palace on Sunday night, which was impossible to get into.
Getting the band up on stage without singer Paul Janeway for the first track has a number of advantages. It gets the crowd on their feet and dancing, amping up the anticipation of Paul coming on stage and the show really getting rolling. It also allows photographers and the crowd to get a good look at the band. Because Paul is such a magnetic presence that once he hits the stage, no one is looking at anyone else.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones' set featured the biggest crowd I've seen at South Stage. They played a high-energy set that was just what everyone needed to get themselves fully dried out and warm. Someone called them the highlight of the festival and they weren't wrong, although TURF is a festival of many highlights. Paul is a super dynamic performer and the tunes go down like smooth bourbon. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a sucker for a horn section, and this type of music never gets old for me.
Check out some of St. Paul and the Broken Bones' music:
"Half the City"
"Grass Is Greener"
"I'm Torn Up"
"Don't Mean A Thing"
Or, if you want, check out the whole KEXP performance:
Cake graced the stage on Day 2 of The Toronto Urban Roots Festival. They're a classic of alternative rock music, originating in the 90s, that put on a very fun performance. Singer John McCrae was battling bronchitis but it sure didn't show. They put on a fan-pleasing set that eased us quite nicely into the evening.
They started off strong with a one-two punch of "Love You Madly" and " Sheep Go to Heaven". I never realized until during the latter song just how much fun it would be to sing along with those quirky lyrics.
"The grave digger puts on the forceps
The stonemason does all the work
The barber can give you a haircut
The carpenter can take you out to lunch
Now, I just want to play on my panpipes
I just want to drink me some wine
As soon as you're born, you start dying
So you might as well have a good time
Sheep go to Heaven
Goats go to Hell"
I was off shooting St. Paul and the Broken Bones, so I didn't witness it, but I heard that Choir! Choir! Choir! joined the band for their rendition of "Short Skirt Long Jacket". That had to be cool!