It’s been said countless times, but the legacy of burgeoning Canadian icon Joel Plaskett continues to expand with each passing year, and his inclusion on this bill was the key element to the success of TURF’s opening night. The Nova Scotian songwriter was introduced by sports broadcaster and indie-rock superfan Dave Hodge, who called a Plaskett set “the best time you can have in Canadian music.” Hitting the stage at sunset with his Emergency band in tow, the bright red-shirted Plaskett was liberal with the all-time classic songs from his wide-ranging back catalogue, and the early-going was highlighted by tune-heavy rocker Down at the Khyber and the always anthemic True Patriot Love. Those set the stage for Plaskett’s bread and butter mid-show acoustic-led numbers, which on this night included acoustic tear-jerker Face of the Earth, and On the Rail, a tune he penned a few years back about Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail, and heart-warming traveling tune Love This Town, in which Plaskett paused for a mid-song anecdote about his former bassist Ian McGettigan getting lost on a Quebec highway. And if you’d glanced just off to the side of the stage during riffy set-closer Lightning Bolt, you’d surely have spotted Cohen wind-milling wildly. TURF seems like a festival by and for honest-to-goodness music lovers, that moment confirmed it.
July 8, 2013