The Pixies, Will Butler, Neko Case, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Punch Brothers, Lord Huron, Hop Along, Elliott BROOD, SATE, Ron Sexsmith and Ron Hawkins & The DGAs @ Toronto Urban Roots Festival 9/20/2015

Day 3 of the Toronto Urban Roots Festival stayed lively, even those who had attended the entire weekend were pumped for the day ahead.

The East stage began with Ron Hawkins & The DGAs who’s songs fittingly had various references to Toronto. Over on the west stage, Ron Sexsmith, the king of all Twitter dad jokes entertained.

A trip to the South was made worth it by the electricity of Toronto blues rock band SATE. The lead singer was just so full of explosive spunk!

I took in Sunday’s line-up more thoughtfully as I stayed to watch more sets (instead of trying to shoot everything). I did however catch a tiny bit of Elliott Brood before discovering another new favourite in the snarly vocals of Philadelphia’s Hop Along. The band is like if a female fronted Cloud Nothings.

Indie folk band Lord Huron sang people to the “Ends of the Earth” with the name of their latest album Strange Trails plastered against the curtain in the back. Ben Schneider’s melancholic vocal textures fit well to the chill vibes of the festival.

One of the big acts of the day (though all the bands on the TURF line-up could be headliners in their own show) was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Obvious fans of the band could be seen by the barriers (if they weren’t VIP) by early afternoon. The band fit their badass rock vibe with dark attire and leather jackets. The eager audience was aroused as they opened with “Devil’s Tattoo” before continuing on a slew of hits.

The first year of TURF, Neko Case sang “Buckets of Rain” and it proceeded to actually rain buckets. They invited her back again, apparently wearing the same pants as back then. This time there was not a drop of rain in sight as she sang a variety of deep cuts. “Lie down and get comfortable”, she exclaimed. Some of the cuts were less than a minute in length. She ended her set by playing tribute to the city she was in by covering Sook-Yin Lee’s “Knock Loud.”

Choosing between artists was hard sometimes at TURF. I really wanted to dance to Will Butler’s latest album Policy but his set was a little bit behind schedule so I opted for closing my night with The Pixies. You could see everyone from the weekend (including some performers) beaming as they sang along to the hits which were played occasionally between new cuts. Kim Deal may not be there any more but newcomer Paz Lenchantin had the enthusiasm to make up for it. The night ended perfectly with everyone left in the field singing to “Where’s My Mind”.

The Toronto Urban Roots Festival remains one of my favourite weekends, where music feels like it is the biggest part of the experience.