Rogers Picnic Packs Historic Fort York

Rogers Picnic 2007
Fort York, Toronto, ON
July 29, 2007

What's better then spending a hot summer day with a clear blue sky out in the sun watching a bevy of awesome bands? - Yeah, I can't really think of anything either.

The Rogers Picnic at Fort York in Toronto was one of those perfect days with the sun in the sky and energies just as high. To keep the audience in the picnic spirit organizers had buckets of blankets and pillows on hand for a few early guests to lay out in the grass, as well as a few beach balls to bounce around between sets (and occasionally during) though none of these did anything to keep down the sweltering heat.

The day's lineup was eclectic, complete with indie-rockers, singer-songwriters, and hip hop masters and the fans to match. For the most part the crowds had a constant ebb and flow with the indie-rock fans packing the grass around mid-afternoon for the Dears, the New Pornographers and Tegan and Sara while those more inclined to hip hop came early for local band Little Brother and returned for headliners The Roots later that evening.

Canadian indie-darlings the New Pornographers put on a mix of tunes from their past records like "Mass Romantic" and "Bleeding Heart Show" as well as a couple of new songs from their upcoming album Challenges due out next month. Neko Case was noticeably absent from the set likely choosing to focus on her solo work. However her stand in, Kathryn Calder, more than appeased fans with a stand out performance overshadowing even her uncle and front man Carl Newman.

Speaking of ladies who can draw a spotlight the New Pornographers handed the stage over to Canadian twins and singer-songwriters Tegan and Sara Quinn. The pair was unmistakably sisters, and if you couldn't tell by their matching appearances then their chatty duo's on-stage jabs at each other were a dead giveaway. The pair played a mix of tunes mostly from their 2004 smash, So Jealous including crowd favourites like "Where Does the Good Go", "Speak Slow" and "Walking With The Ghost" as well as tunes from their most recent release The Con to a female heavy crowd that sung back the ladies' every word.

The sun was beginning to set as reggae-pop band Bedouin Soundclash hit the stage. The easy-going Torontonian-trio with their boy-next-door charm pumped out a sweet mellow set of tunes from their past repertoire along with their up coming record Street Gospel due out next month. In a surprise twist the band was joined early in the set by rocker and Alexisonfire member Wade MacNeil who played back up singer during the set. Whether or not the Picnic planners did it on purpose the band's mellow melodic sound seemed to perfectly compliment the sun setting behind the stage.

Even for folks who stood out all day it was hard to be tired as the headliners took the stage. The Roots put on an energetic show with crazy mix of sounds including enough instruments to outfit a rock band (a bass, guitar and drums) as well as a brass section (a saxophone, trumpet and trombone) all with MC Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter holding down the rhymes. Though regular drummer ?uestlove was notably absent a few surprise guests during the Roots' set seemed to make up for the loss. Hip hop icons De La Soul and up-and-comer Lupe Fiasco (who was playing WakeFest on Toronto Island that weekend) joined the band on stage for a tune or two to the delight of onlookers and kept energies high till the end of the night.

Writer: Michelle Garcia

Photo:Michelle Garcia

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