Corby's Orbit

Corby's Orbit
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi

Monday, September 28, 2015

At T.U.R.F. As It Is In Heaven.

High places opened up in our ears during a weekend musical adventure camp at the Commons of old Fort York in Toronto. On the cusp between summer and autumn, under a waxing moon and an illuminated tower, kids, denim queens, ice cream cones, artistic hair, golf carts, exquisite t-shirts and regular GO-Trains roaring by framed a vast selection of modern hypnotic rhythm and romance music.

SATE did what she does best: waking up the wildness and stirring the spirits of sex and celebration with her ferocious and immaculate band.

Cold Specks cracked the grimy Friday overcast with an over-proof vocal disambiguation of her tormented lyrics. The first cut was the deepest as a scattered audience congealed organically around her unique light-emitting hometown firmamentality..

 Jeremy came with something to say.

Julian Taylor and his band finessed the early afternoon with powerful audience engagement and strongly focused soul propulsion.
Grand Analog formed a vibro-funk hum in the sticky atmosphere and laid forth lyrics, laughs and a Kazoo throwdown. 
Fishbone's anchorman, John Norwood Fisher was around and about and all over the Friday fairground. He's seen here absorbing Grand Analog's set.

Lord Huron did the right thing for a big Saturday crowd, blending post Springsteen epic emo and pop posing.

Shakey Graves made a change from his recording output of alt folk-blues by adding a loud industrial edge. The audience made big noises back at him.

UB40, with original singers Ali Campbell and Astro and original keyboardist Mickey Virtue, stormed through all the hits, giving every song vigorous reggae intensity. Many Rivers To Cross was especially poignant and by the time Red Red Wine happened, a kind of rapture had united the crowd.

Above, the drum universe upon which UB40 makes its foundation.
Photo below from UB40 FaceBook Timeline.

The Elwins soaked up the crowd love with a breezy and absorbing set first thing Saturday afternoon. Just before things got really wet.

The Strumbellas , seen here at soundcheck, faced up to an astounding storm that swept in during their set. They continued singing through high winds and snapping tarps and resolutely held the audience safe in their protective care.

The hermeneutic consistency of Canadian rye whiskey fuelled a perfect set of intricate crossplay by the Punch Brothers. Complex narratives, fractal instrumentals and bro camaraderie gave way at the midpoint to a piece by Claude Debussy from The Phosphorescent Blues album. "...But it's the kind of Debussy you'd expect to hear under a highway overpass," explained banjoist Noam Pikelny, "where pianos are burned for warmth."

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club spent a long time dwelling on their repertoire of  blues-rock ragas as they played their last show before a long hiatus. They will be taking a wind down and coming up with a new record in the interim.

And for me, it's all over when Neko Case sings. Even Pixies couldn't hold me after hearing her keening brilliance slicing through a chilly sunset with a selection of "deep cuts" that brought the entire festival to the brink of a euphoric trance. Long time memories and new allegiances made T.U.R.F. the best way to face up to the new fall with all the sensations of a magnificent rise.

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