Turf Day 4 Review: Belle & Sebastian, Xavier Rudd, Cat Empire, Fort York, July 7


Continued from Part 1

After Whitehorse finished the set, it was time for Cat Empire. Hailing from Australia, I had initially thought their band name was some sort of gimmick to get attention from the internet, since as we all know, everyone on the internet loves cats. However, upon further research, it appears that Cat Empire have been around since 1999, so maybe they were ahead of their time. Either way, my lunch break was at the same time as Cat Empire and when mother nature brought the pain, me and a few friends were unfortunately stuck underneath an ATM tent.


You know, some people just don’t give a crap about being rained on. I feel like I am not one of those people. I wonder why these people don’t mind being drenched and having to wear wet clothes for the remaining six hours of the festival. Then I wonder why I care so much about not being drenched. Are my levels of comfort too high? Do I need to not give a damn as much? Was I too sheltered as a child? These things you think about as you watch fellow concert goers slip and slide through the mud pits at the festival as you are packed like a sardine underneath an ATM tent.

Once the rain let up, I decided to check out Cat Empire for a few minutes. While their ska-tinged rock might not have been my thing, people were going absolutely nuts for them. Their energy was admirable and you could make an argument that the crowd for Cat Empire had the most fun at Turf. Next up was fellow Aussie Xavier Rudd. The man with the didgeridoo.


Just look at the guy. He’s so damn happy! Dreadlocks were all around. I thought I made a funny tweet:

But nobody retweeted it, so I guess it wasn’t that funny. Maybe I am not as funny as I think I am.

Basically, Xavier Rudd is what he is. He’s got the chill laid back ska-reggae Earth rock down. He’s got his legion of fans who all have left banker jobs to start their own beads business and they all love the world. They are happy. We sneer at their happiness. Who wins? I don’t know.

Next up was Neko Case, who has a voice for the masses. Having never seen her outside of the New Pornographers, I can confirm what many already know – the woman is talented. An outdoor stadium with constant rain is probably not an ideal setting for Neko but her and the band powered through it like champs and seemed genuinely pleased at the people willing to stand in the rain for her show.

For me, the day and the festival was all about seeing Belle & Sebastian.

It’s amazing how much Belle & Sebastian have grown as live performers over the years. Having toured consistently for the past decade or so, it would seem that all the mystery surrounding this band has all but disappeared. What hasn’t disappeared is the level of appreciation a B&S fan has for the band. I mean, when someone likes Belle & Sebastian, they really like Belle & Sebastian. By the time Neko Case had ended, a sizable crowd had already gathered at the east stage, ready to dance their little twee hearts out. It was only fitting the rain had stopped just when B&S came out on stage, with Stuart Murdoch proudly wearing his Fred Perry shirt (Andy Murray had won wimbledon earlier that day). Belle & Sebastian’s 80 minute set a fun filled and dance worthy time. Without a new record to promote, the band was able to dig deep into their discography and tracks like Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner and To Be Myself Completely were able to see the light of day. As expected, the show became a highly interactive affair, including

– Inviting a girl up on stage to sing the female part to Dirty Dream #2. As Frank had eluded to in his review, anything is better then that show in 2003 when the girl who went up on stage decided to sing her OWN SONG. Sadly, it became painfully obvious that the person on stage had never heard of this song before, and therefore butchered it. I wish I could submit that moment to the site You Had One Job

– I’ve seen the Lord Anthony/Mascara thing three times now (last Massey Hall show, Primavera and now Turf) and while I remain neutral towards the actual song, You can’t help but feel delighted that some girl had her life made that night

Photo Credit: @curlybecs

– A girl was brought up to play scrabble against the band in what was surely a charming moment for her, but without a projection showing the actual game, was kinda meh for the rest of the crowd. Still she managed to successfully dance on stage when the rest of the band was too busy playing a song, thereby avoiding what could have been an incredibly awkward moment.

– Once again, I had a chance to take the stage during the inevitable invite for Boy with the Arab Strap, but once again, I chickened out. Primarily because I was wearing what was essentially a black garbage bag for rain protection, but that’s a weak excuse. One day. Sadly, one of the people invited up was some drunken dude who to the best of my knowledge, was about three months pregnant. Don’t show your belly man!

Sadly, the band did not play my favorite (Sleep the Clock Around) but we did get a 1-2 punch of Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying and Judy and The Dream of Horses to finish off the set. Belle & Sebastian: great as usual. The set was a huge exclamation mark to end off off TURF. What an incredibly operated festival. Everything except the 9 dollar tall boys was phenomenal and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.