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TURF Festival, Day 2: We Interview Wilco And Marvel At Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

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(Photo by Geoff Tischman)

Of the sixteen bands on the roster today at Toronto’s TURF Festival, I’ve decided to focus on two of the big ones: Wilco and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.

Happily, I got a chance to have a quick chat with Wilco’s multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone while standing in the Press Pit for ES&TMZ which was saturated with the scent of “burning leaves” from the impossibly young attendees on the other side of the barrier.

Pat was wearing a denim shirt with button up pockets on both sides. He told me that Wilco was last in Toronto in 2013 [with My Morning Jacket] to open for Bob Dylan at the Americanarama Festival.

Here’s a transcription of our conversation: 

Stereo Embers: How do you stay healthy on the road?
Pat Sansone: I don’t know if I do. Lots of bikrim yoga and massage–it keeps me limber.
SE: Is L.A. the #1 music city?
PS: There is no one #1 city for music. 
SE: What’s the best place for starving young people that want somewhere they can survive financially and create art? 
PS: Toronto? 
SE: Toronto’s too expensive. 
PS: Nashville! 

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros certainly made my day.

Sharpe came on stage with a nest-like man-bun–he wore crumpled grey slacks and dirt-covered, red Tom’s shoes. Although Sharpe was armed with merely a tambourine and a mic, that proved to constitute a capable arsenal. He danced with great fluidity, enchanting the crowd like a shaman backed by a multi-piece band in a U-formation that covered the entire stage.

The wall-to-wall fans–a record turnout for the TURF festival–dutifully chanted the chorus for “40 Day Dream.” Then Sharpe  welcomed a medley of fans onto the stage. He sang a birthday song to a guy named Jacob, then Morgan and Isabella–two pale bleached blondes from Chicago with red lipstick–came and danced around him blithely. Later a black-haired girl was in tears to be in his presence, much like the effect Elvis and Beatles had on their young female fans. Next, two wavy haired blondes swung their hair and spun about on-stage, shaking tambourines.

The fan engagement didn’t end there: Sharpe handed the mic to a rabid eighteen year old fan who, dripping with adoration, said it was her third Sharpe show and she gushed her appreciation of his likes of her photos and re-posts of her comments on Twitter. Another fan spoke about her grandfather passing recently with her grandmother following three months later because of their intense love, which was awkward because Sharpe didn’t quite know how to respond.

The awkwardness dissolved however, when fans echoed the choruses for “Janglin” and “Home,” the latter of which was replete with a trumpet fill with the instrument itself adorned with a colored pinwheel.

The closing of the show was bittersweet, like the passing of bright-eyed innocence.