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Joel Plaskett Emergency Fort York, Toronto ON, July 4

The obvious crowd-pleaser of the night, the Joel Plaskett Emergency sauntered on stage, reminded the parents in the audience that kids could get in free to the festival, and then promptly told them to shield their ears from his lyrics as the band launched into “Down at the Khyber.” Shimmying his way through favourites like “Extraordinaire” and newer tracks like “North Star,” Plaskett had onlookers singing and bouncing along for the whole set. In honour of Independence Day (and the fact that the band were in New York on Canada Day), they dedicated “True Patriot Love” to both countries.

Western Canada also got special attention, with Plaskett sending love to Alberta flood victims and the short-lived Sled Island festival before playing, um, “Natural Disaster.” Slowing things down, “Face of the Earth,” kicked off a string of solo acoustic tunes that also included “Harbour Boys” and “I’m Yours.” But the Emergency brought the rock back for a finale that delivered “Work Out Fine” (for part of which Plaskett sat on the ledge of the stage amidst fans), “Nowhere With You” and closer “Lightning Bolt.” From stories and songs about the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, to namedropping Toronto at every opportunity, to sending good vibes out west, Plaskett proudly displayed his quintessential Canadian-ness throughout the set, coming off as completely genuine and lovable the entire time.

by Sarah Murphy, Exclaim!
photo Atsuko Kobasigawa (to see more photos from T.U.R.F., click here.)