Vallery Jean | Mark Davis, Getty Images Fat Joe is wearing his heart on his sleeve…
- Posted on Jun 30th 2010 3:45PM by Mark Wigmore
On a rare chilly evening in what has been a hot spring and summer in Toronto, concert-goers warmed themselves up by shuffling their way inside the massive white tent that houses the festival's headlining acts. While an ocean of onlookers bobbed their heads from behind the ticket free perimeter fence, the traditional white plastic seats were banished from the wide venue floor, making way for a toasty mass of moving bodies to get their dance-on.
Taking in a live performance by the Roots is a chance to experience something you won't see anywhere else. Since they became the house band for NBC's 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,' many of us have become accustomed to enjoying the jazzy-funk of the decades-old act in 30-second chunks. Promoting their ninth album, 'How I Got Over,' and under the stars in Toronto, founders Tariq 'Black Thought' Trotter and Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson led their troupe through extended jams and New Orleans-style showmanship that reminded the audience what the group is really all about.
Released from the confines of a network television studio, MC Black Thought worked the mic relentlessly, rhyming, laughing and interacting with the audience. ?uestlove and percussionist F. Knuckles skillfully played off each other's rhythms during a chunky solo, while locking down the groove on Roots standards like 'You Got Me' and new single 'Doin' It Again.' One of the most visual elements of the show was sousaphonist Damon 'Tuba Gooding Jr.' Bryson -- who stomped about the stage, his wrap-around brass instrument glittering in the concert lighting.
Combine all this with the chilled-out jazz comping of keyboardist Kamal, the guitar chops of Captain Kirk (no, not William Shatner) and the sure-footed bass-work of Owen Biddle, and you have a well-oiled ensemble who can rock any crowd -- whether in the confines of a TV studio or the open-air of a summer music festival.
When Torontonians needed to get over a difficult weekend, the Roots showed them how.