As seen in an earlier article, Toronto Urban Roots Festival occurred earlier this month at Historic Fort York. With over 44 artists performing across three days on three stages, there was pretty much something for everyone. Here are a few of my favourite acts I caught.
I was only able to catch the last few acts on Friday, including Local Natives, a folk-rock band from L.A. Their songs are very percussion driven, with Matt Frazier on drums and Kelcey Ayer playing both keyboards and a drum & cymbal combination in some songs. The energy from the band was rivaled by the crowd’s excitement to see them perform, which ultimately lead to a fantastic performance of “Sun Hands”, where Taylor crowd-surfed while still belting out the song.
I had only heard some songs by Beirut here and there so wasn’t sure what to fully expect from their set. With the swelling horns and Zach Condon’s crooning vocals, the audience was transported to a wilderness full of peace and harmony. They captivated every onlooker for the entire set, with changing of instruments between band members and a few acoustic ukulele songs by Zach alone.
Andrew Jackson Jihad
This band really blew me away with their stage presence and performance. Andrew Jackson Jihad really raised the energy levels Saturday afternoon, with a “mosh-pit” starting in the centre of the crowd. The blatant lyrics and heavy guitar riffs are reminiscent of festival headliners Neutral Milk Hotel, who seem to be a major influence on this band.