Posts tagged ‘2011 toronto jazz fest’

July 3, 2011

Canada Day weekend explodes with sunshine and celebrations

Canada Day fireworks

Canada Day fireworks over Ontario Place. (Julia Pelish photo)

The only people who may have had a better time than Torontonians during the Canada Day weekend were the many dozens of visitors from Philadelphia who arrived to see their hometown heroes: the Phillies and the Roots.

The Roots raised the roof at the 2011 Toronto Jazz Fest, thrilling about 5,000 fans who congregated under the tent at Metro Square and spread out on the lawn on a cloudless Canada Day night on Friday. Black Thought (Tariq Trotter), ?uestlove (Ahmir Thompson) and crew scorched through their set that began a few hours after the Phillies rallied to beat the Blue Jays 7-6 at the ’Dome. Roy Halladay won on Saturday, of course, and the Phillies took the first two games of the series.

Along with the Philly flavour, lots of other Americans arrived in town to take in the activities, which included the Pride events and the big show at Downsview Park, where L.A. band Weezer was one of four acts that opened things up for the Tragically Hip. Broken Social Scene, Hey Rosetta! and Buck 65 also played in front of 25,000.

Canada Day festivities ended, as usual, with fireworks from Ontario Place, with hundreds of boats surrounding the barge as the lights shot to the sky. Rooftops and balconies on Queens Quay were filled with spectators who also got to glimpse the fireworks taking place in Port Credit and Hamilton.

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June 29, 2011

Los Lonely Boys bring a Texas flood of sound to 2011 Toronto Jazz Fest

Los Lobos at 2011 Toronto Jazz Fest

Los Lobos played a bluesy show at the 2011 Toronto Jazz Fest. (Julia Pelish photo)

By the time the Brothers Garza were through with their blistering 70 minutes of hard-driving, loud-hollering, ferociously raucous set on Tuesday night, they could’ve owned Toronto. Or at least Metro Square, and they certainly could leave town knowing they’ll command a higher price next time they roll into the Phoenix or the Sound Academy.

The Garzas, aka Los Lonely Boys, tore up the 2011 Toronto Jazz Fest with the sort of tunes that make traditional jazz fans cringe and critics ask, “Why are they here?” Good music is good music, though, and downtown Toronto could do with even more nights similar to the ones provided by this year’s edition of the festival.

No one outside Metro Hall was asking what genre of music Los Lonely Boys were categorized under. They just wanted more of it.

The thousand or so paying fans jammed under the tent and the hundred-plus outside on the lawn gave them a standing ovation — not their first of the night — as they walked off the stage.

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June 26, 2011

Eddie Floyd and Stax! heat up 2011 Toronto Jazz Fest

Eddie Floyd and Stax!

For his birthday, Eddie Floyd gets a dance and Jazz Fest fans get a treat from the Stax! band.

Eddie Floyd celebrated his 74thbirthday on Saturday night. Toronto received the gift.

The long-time bluesman came on stage with the Stax! band midway through their set and absolutely, positively, undisputedly wowed us all. He pulled young ladies out of the audience to dance, played matchmaker by calling up an eager guy to join one of them, displayed a level of showmanship you usually have to pay big bucks to see at the ACC and delivered each classic blues song with a set of lungs that had to have been half as old as the rest of him.

If all is right in the universe, Floyd’s performance outside Metro Hall should guarantee the 2011 Toronto Jazz Fest will have a huge week and go down as the most successful edition yet. Anyone watching Floyd and the outstanding Stax! band, which included guitarist Steve Cropper (an original member of Booker T & the MGs and Floyd’s songwriting partner), drummer Anton Fig (from David Letterman’s band) and bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn (an original member — with Cropper — of the Blues Brothers Band), will be tempted to return for the remainder of the Mainstage’s stellar lineup — which includes Robert Cray (Monday), a terrific double bill of Los Lonely Boys and Los Lobos (Tuesday), and an “are you kidding me?” Canada Day treat: The Roots (Friday).

If you haven’t been downtown the last couple of nights, you may not be aware the tunes are floating out from the big tent that’s been set up at Metro Square between King and Wellington Streets. So even if you haven’t paid the $40 or so for a seat, you can grab a spot by the rail or lounge on the lawn or dance it up for free.

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