The Wooden Sky opened the fourth and final day of Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 7. Photo: Tom Beedham
Kicking off the fourth and final day of Toronto Urban Roots Fest, The Wooden Sky played an 11 a.m. set to a dedicated group of concertgoers.
The band opened with “Child of the Valley,” then playing through tracks like “(Bit Parent),” “City of Lights/Dancing At My Window…,” “Take Me Out,” and the call and response-friendly “Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)” before closing with “Something Hiding for Us in the Night,” perhaps intended as a nod to the acts that would follow.
It was an early set, but one worth waking up for. For those with festival wristbands that aimed for the authentic Flogging Molly experience the night before, The Wooden Sky’s soothing folk probably served as the stuff of good hangover remedy, too.
Brian Borcherdt and Leon Taheny debut new song at NXNE
Dusted played a free afternoon gig at Urban Outfitters as part of NXNE. (Photo: Tom Beedham)
Following a slew of performances from bands mostly double their size, Toronto lo-fi duo Dusted spent comparably longer putting their modest guitar, drum and keyboard setup together at the Urban Outfitters popup stage on June 14, 2013.
But they had a good excuse.
After apologizing for the late start, Dusted guitarist/vocalist Brian Borcherdt (Holy Fuck) explained to those gathered at the clothing store’s Queen Street West location that, after spending so much time off of the road holed up in the studio to record the follow-up to their 2012 debut, Total Dust, the frontman and percussionist Leon Taheny were a little rusty when it came down to arranging their gear.
The set wasn’t all apologies, though. The two made up for their late start by debuting a new track they’ve been honing in preparation for their new album in the middle of a set that was otherwise comprised solely of Total Dust tracks like “Property Lines,” “(Into the” Atmosphere,” and “All Comes Down.”
The delivery didn’t come without some hesitation (Borcherdt could be heard asking Taheny “How’s it go again?” before they ripped into it), but the band’s generous offering – especially for an outfit counting award-winning producer Taheny (Final Fantasy, Ohbijou, the Wooden Sky) amongst its two members –of something fairly unpolished shouldn’t go without acknowledgment.
Dusted served the track up to the crowd without a title, but after the gig, Taheny confirmed it was called “Backwoods Ritual” and that it would release with the new album “Hopefully this fall.”
Dusted at the Guelph Green Party Office, April 5. (Photo by Tom Beedham)
Even though his “old” band Holy Fuck made a triumphant (if quietly promoted) return to the stage at February’s edition of Toronto’s Long Winter series, Brian Borcherdt isn’t putting Dusted to bed. The answers to material by Borcherdt that was otherwise incompletely realized when written between shows with Holy Fuck and his solo work, Dusted sees Borcherdt team up with producer Leon Taheny, who carved a reputation producing Owen Pallett’s Final Fantasy albums and has also worked with Ohbijou and the Wooden Sky.
While Borcherdt sang ran his voice and guitar through some heavy feedback, Taheny, who just had Esther Grey between Dusted and the Rituals set he’d played earlier in the night, took on double duties playing drums and synth simultaneously. For a performance that relies on an equipment list that includes overblown amplifiers, the converted Green Party garage made the perfect setting for Dusted’s atmospherically minded offering of fuzzy post-folk.
Alexisonfire at Sound Academy Dec. 29, 2012 (their second-last show ever).
It’s that time of the year when everyone tries to take stock of the chaos of the past 12 months, so for the sake of documentation, I’ve made a list of all the bands I managed to catch in 2012. I was only offered a short sample of some of these acts at festivals, but a lot were at shows of their own. There were also a lot of really stand-out performances in this mix and it’s coincidentally the great time of annual top 10/20/25/50/whatever lists, so maybe I’ll get around to picking out some of my favourites as well.
Here’s who I checked out in concert this year, through work or out of my own volition:
Black Label Society
Cancer Bats (twice)
Dillinger Escape Plan
Explosions in the Sky
The Flaming Lips
Florence + the Machine
Fucked Up (thrice)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Greg Ginn and the Royal We
Jimmy Cliff & Tim Armstrong
Kids & Explosions
Killer Mike (twice)
Less Than Jake
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Protest the Hero (twice)
Raekwon and Ghostface Killah
Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre (feat. the Tupac hologram, Eminem, 50 Cent, Wiz Khalifa)