Saturday, February 4th, 2006

Tremendous Efforts

Okay, so grok the roll call: Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, Gary Louris, Rick White, Blue Rodeo, Jon Langford, The Good Brothers, The Deadly Snakes, Heavy Trash, Garth Hudson and Steve Albini, all in attendance at the behest of The Sadies. Tell me how this could not possibly kick incalcuable amounts of ass?

This was the first of two sold-out nights at Lee’s Palace being recorded for The Sadies’ first live album, and to get it right, they invited pretty much everyone they’d ever collaborated with to come and join the festivities. They split what would be a nearly four-hour long show into two (though really three) sets, the first taking a more traditional roots/country feel as they opened with some of their own material, Dallas politely introducing the song before and thanking the crowd after each song. They then invited The Good Brothers, aka their parents and uncles, onstage for a few and then Bob Egan, Kelly Hogan and The Band’s Garth Hudson out before calling a brief intermission.

After the break, the show got down and dirty, thanks in no small part to the presence of Heavy Trash, with Jon Spencer playing MC and working the crowd up into a frenzy while Matt Verta-Ray and Travis Good threw down greasy rockabilly licks. They were then joined by The Deadly Snakes for a number before stepping aside to allow The Mekons’ Jon Langford to hold court. After reeling off some numbers from his Mayors Of The Moon record, recorded with The Sadies, he gave up the stage for longtime collaborator Neko Case, who also brought back out Hogan and Hudson for a few. The next guest was a fellow I was especially excited to see – Gary Louris of The Jayhawks. Louris is producing the Sadies’ next album, and I was thrilled to hear them play “Tailspin”, off the last Jayhawks record, as well as a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Lucifer Sam”. Next up were The Sadies’ cohorts in The Unintended, Rick White and Greg Keelor, then Canadian roots-rock royalty in Blue Rodeo and finally the mandatory, everyone-on-stage big finish.

Except that wasn’t the finish. The encore ran almost as long as the other sets, and featured a steady revolving door of guests with returns to the stage by pretty much everyone who’d already played. Things ran till 2AM, last call, when Dallas Good thanked everyone for coming – both performers and audience – and bid us all good night. Until tonight, when they do it all over again.

If it seems like I’m rushing through the review, I apologize, but there was so much great music and performance that the only real coherent thought that could come out of it all was, “wow”. Wow at all the stars, wow at the music, wow at The Sadies. It’s really unbelivable how versitile they are as musicians – backing Louris, they were a pop band. As The Unintended, they were psychedelic. With Heavy Trash they were rough and raw blues-rockers. Langford-led, they were country-punk and with the Good Brothers, Case, Hogan and Blue Rodeo, untouchable country. But no matter who they were playing with, they were always unmistakably themselves. Pure diamond gold.

I nearly filled up an entire memory card with pics (note to self – get backup memory card), but here are the best ones. The first pic is of uber-producer/engineer Steve Albini, who recorded the first few Sadies records, and was out in the mobile truck on this night getting every note down on 2″ tape. If you’re going tonight, man are you in for a treat. And if you didn’t make either show – hey, at least there’ll be a live album soon.

np – Trespassers William / Different Stars

By : Frank Yang at 11:51 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Thierry says:

    Wow. Unbelievable concert – or maybe concertS since, as you pointed out, we got a pure country set, a guitar pop set, a psychedelic set, a cowpunk set, and psychobilly set…and Garth Hudson (I’ve been obsessed with The Band lately, so this was really a thrill)! And a Canadian Squires (aka Levon and the Hawks) song! And Skip Spence cover!

    I seriously don’t know that anything will top this show this year…except maybe tonight’s show!

  2. suckingalemon says:

    i have tickets for tonite, thanks for the review. heavy trash are wonderful, i hope they play toronto again soon.
    i remember their newyears show was just as long as this sounds, so much so the audience was worn out, we were wondering how the heck they still had energy.

    i have to ask about the lineup, was it typical 19+ show where people just come around doors or was there a lineup?

    yewr photos are nice. taking at lee’s is not easy with the high stage.


  3. Frank says:

    re: line

    I dunno doors were at 9, I got there at 9:45 and while there wasn’t a lineup, the place was pretty packed already. I managed to eke my way up front, but if I’d arrived a little later, that probably wouldn’t have happened.

    Mixed crowd. Old crowd. Lots of cowboy shirts (me included, I admit).

  4. Beth Hamill says:

    Excellent shots – I am nuts excited for tonight, what a spectacular lineup. Canrock royalty.

  5. suckingalemon says:

    i wish i had a cowboy shirt.
    old crowds make me feel young in my elder years.

  6. Thierry says:

    I had it all planned – diff. western shirt for each night. :)

    Oh, and those are great shots Frank – do you have any others of Garth or is it that the lighting not so good from your angle?

  7. Mike says:

    Great show all around, although it was definitely the second part of the show after the intermission, where they really picked up steam. (Oh and that by that point, I managed to weasle up closer to the stage; not quite up front but close enough). I’ve seen The Sadies a couple of times, as well as a couple of times as them as Neko’s backing band, and the first half of the show was sort of "heard that before" for me.I’m a little disappointed that with Neko in the house, they didn’t perform any Neko songs(or even a cover of song that they’ve done with her before like "Train From Kansas City"). What was the name of that last song that Neko sung with The Sadies?

  8. TS says:

    Thanks for your review….I have to say it was such a great show – I’m too exhausted to leave the house to see it again. Don’t want to ruin it – I can’t see it getting any better tonight (ugh – i hope i don’t miss more surprise guests like Garth Hudson)! Highlights were most definitely the Sadies themselves, Uncle Larry on banjo and the two Jons who almost stole the show…

  9. Thierry says:

    My last thought on the show before I head out for part deux of my Sadies weekend – there really is nothing like bringing a special guest out half-an-hour into a show (Jon Langford) and then bringing him back out three hours later after he’s obviously spent the better part of three hours getting hammered backstage…and still have him bring down the house with a spectacular rendition of "Memphis, Egypt".

    That being said, I’m hoping for a tad more Neko tonight…

  10. Mark says:

    I was bummed when they bouncers told me that I wasn’t allowed in with my camera. I hadn’t heard anything about that prior to the show, but I’m glad to see that there are some pics available of last night.

    and just a note about Neko Case, they DID in fact play one of her songs, but it’s a new one and should be on the new album. I don’t know what it’s called but I recorded her doing it at her show back at the Rivoli at the beginning of January this year.

    …i wish I had me an Uncle Larry, he tore down the house.

  11. Frank says:

    Mark – that’s weird, they didn’t say boo about my DSLR and there were cameras galore.

  12. Frank says:

    oh, and there aren’t any great pics of Garth Hudson because a) he was way on the other side of the stage in dim lighting and b) there were a load of mic stands between him and me. no unobstructed views, unfortunately.

  13. J. Herzog says:

    It’s reviews of shows like this that make me sorry I live in the sticks. Great pics too Frank, especially of Neko.

    I’d kill to hear a Memphis, Egypt with Langford backed by the Sadies. The few times I’ve heard the Mekons themselves do that song it’s been a slight disappointment.

  14. sp says:

    I loved the show on Friday night, but I am not sure it was as good as the warm-up show on Wednesday in Waterloo. Obviously that show didn’t have Jon Langford or Garth Hudson, but it was a little bit looser, they didn’t have to wait every now and then for them to change the tape reels and there seemed to be more of a flow. We had to leave before the encore, so I didn’t get to hear Paris, Egypt and I am wondering what Skip Spence song was covered?

    Did they do the Flying Burrito Bros/Byrds song ‘Lazy Days’ in the encore again?

    Also, in Waterloo, we got a reading of Buffy St. Marie’s ‘Soulful Shade of Blue’ from Neko and the Sadies that was very nice.

    I hope they had the tape reels rolling in Waterloo, as a few songs came across even better there for sure. Anyone go to Saturday’s show?

  15. Thierry says:

    I went to both shows here in Toronto – the Skip Spence song was the opening song from Oar, "Little Hands".

    As for the Saturday show, I would say that it was definitely looser than on Friday (how could it not have been when most of these people have probably been drinking non-stop for the past two days) and yet probably a bit better musically: Garth Hudson’s piano and accordion was higher in the mix (and he took two wonderful accordion solos in "Evangeline"), Neko seemed to be having more fun, the Sadies played an incredible cover of "Astronomy Domine" with Rick White, the Snakes seemed to pop up on every other song in the second part of the show, and there was more banter…Then again, this show didn’t have that moment when they first brought Garth Hudson onstage and I thought my head was going to explode!

    Oh, and Frank, picture this: "Tailspin" with Neko Case and Kelly Hogan on backing vocals, Uncle Larry on banjo, and Bob Egan on the steel guitar. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. Maybe even a little better…

  16. Beth Hamill says:

    My photos from Saturday are up, HERE:

    I also, didn’t get any Garth photos (I think I was in a similar spot to you Frank). It was FANTASTIC but for one rude 6’foot+ photographer who thought it was OK to butt in front of three 5’foot tall girls (aka us) not once but five times. Sheesh.

    Oh, and Thierry is right – "Tailspin" was gorgeous, and the 2 Floyd covers totally punched me in the mind.