The Mark of Excellence

Belle and Sebastian

Fort York, Toronto ON, July 7

> > Jul 08 2013

Belle and Sebastian - Fort York, Toronto ON, July 7
Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa
By Sarah MurphyComing out on stage with an umbrella that he theatrically put away to indicate that the rain had finally stopped, Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch assumed the role of a perfect frontman from the very start. Kicking off the set with the not so twee-ly titled instrumental "Judy Is a Dick Slap," the dozen or so musicians on stage established themselves as the backbone of a gorgeous set. "I'm A Cuckoo" was followed by "Another Sunny Day," which thankfully wasn't thrown out of the set list based on the day's weather tribulations. "The Stars of Track and Field" was dedicated to UK Wimbledon champ Andy Murray, and when they followed it up with "Dirty Dream Number Two," the Glaswegian popsters had managed to span five different albums in five songs.

Stevie Jackson took the lead for "To Be Myself Completely," but gave the reins back to Murdoch for a lovely rendition of "Lord Antony." It wasn't the first or last instance of bringing fans on stage, but the most memorable was probably when Murdoch brought a girl on stage and played a few rounds of Scrabble with her — a move that probably no other band could pull off, or at least no one else would ever attempt to — eventually exclaiming, "We've almost got 'C-U-N-T-S'!" She hung around on stage for "The Model," as various bandmates stepped up to take a turn at the board.

"Piazza New York Catcher" went off without a hitch, though for "The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner," Murdoch enlisted the crowd to help with the whistle solo at the end after informing the crowd that he'd had some sort of facial surgery. "Your Cover's Blown" and "I Didn't See It Coming" transformed the tame but appreciative onlookers into a sea of dancers that were once again being gently rained on, and some were even invited on stage during the rendition of "The Boy With the Arab Strap" that followed. "Legal Man" and "Judy and the Dream of Horses" closed out the set, with the audience instantly demanding another song to close the evening. In an unsurprising, but entirely excellent move, the band returned for an encore of "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying" to which the audience responded with a word-for-word sing-along.

It was an exceptional performance that reminded everyone just how extensive Belle and Sebastian's back catalogue is at this point, and should have most excited for the forthcoming The Third Eye Centre collection that's out later this summer. It was a magical end to a weekend that saw a wide variety of artists and weather patterns, and one that was definitely worth the wait.

Check out our gallery of T.U.R.F. photos here.
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