Guided by Voices, Ween, Barenaked Ladies, Okkervil River, The Sheepdogs, Julien Baker, LUSH + More @ Toronto Urban Roots Festival 9/17/2016

The weather was terrible for Saturday at TURF. It was rainy which made the grounds muddy but that didn’t dampen the spirits of TURF goers. It’s rained most years of TURF and the weird thing is, it never seems to affect the concertgoers. Unlike Field Trip, there was no evacuations or hiding in tents. The show went on, and the crowd turned up and enjoyed themselves rain or shine.

I had a birthday brunch to attend, so I showed up in time for English shoegaze band LUSH from the early 90s. The band had broken up after the suicide of drummer Chris Acland and reunited last year. Classics such as “De-luxe”, “Sweetness and Light” and “Hypocrite” were delivered to adoring fans who were super excited of their return to the stage.

Solo artist Julien Baker impressed with her voice and endearing songwriting that sound much wiser than 20. I liked the sense that she was a genuine, artist and person and showed her vulnerability as she continued to sing even though she was afraid of the bee on stage.

On the East main stage, arena rockers The Sheepdogs played their tight radio-ready setlist that included the familiar “Who?” and “I Don’t Know”. As the rain began to die down, Austin’s Okkervil River presented us with gorgeous folk tunes on the Rebellion Stage.

I grew up listening to a lot of Canadian soft-rock because my parents always had CHFI on so seeing Barenaked Ladies was a lot of fun. There were a few new songs that I didn’t recognize but the majority focused on hits that everybody wanted to hear including “Duct Tape Heart”, “Pinch Me” and “One Week”. Of course near the end they played the famous “If I Had $1,000,000”. As Ed Robertson mentioned Kraft Dinner someone from the audience threw an entire box worth of macaroni in the air. That was a candid (and hilarious moment). After the hit, things got a bit strange as they performed a super unnecessary medley of pop songs (including Justin Bieber’s “Lose Yourself”, Rihanna’s “Work” and “Hotline Bling”) followed by an even more terrible medley of rock songs (“I Wanna Be Sedate”, “Blister in the Sun”).

Saturday seems to be the day where different sort of classic bands were present like fun alt-weirdos Ween. Though I was not that familiar with them, I was impressed by their ability to conjure up good times for those who had followed them for 30 years.I finished a rainy day of TURF with the reunified Guided By Voices