Sloan | Bowery Ballroom | 1.18.2007
"Oh my god, did you hear their last song? It was so bad-ass!" Dorian Thornton, bassist from openers Spiral Beach, was enthusing at the merch table to bandmate Daniel Woodhead. He was talking about Sloan's "If It Feels Good Do It" and they both started miming the song's Big Rawk Riff. Sloan have had plenty of air guitar moments over the course of their eight albums and it was certainly heartening to see two kids (Spiral Beach are all still in their teens) so pumped for a group 15 years their senior.
Then again, it's hard not be psyched after a Sloan show, because they are, in a word, awesome. Few bands today have a better time putting on a great show than these Canadians. Everyone at the sold-out, jam-packed show last night at the Bowery was super-psyched, pumped, enthused, etc, etc. Regular readers of this blog (Hi Kelly! Hi Toby!) are well-aware of my love of Sloan: power pop kings, riff-gods, masters of harmony, players of Christmas parties, makers of delicious cassoulet.
Sloan's latest album, Never Hear the End of It, hit US stores last Tuesday, and the setlist drew heavily from it, playing 19 of its 30 songs. Of course, many of those were only about two minutes long (or less) and segued into one another as they do on the record, making for mini-medleys. I thought this actually made the show even more exciting, as all four members write and sing it kept things really moving.
The best of these was the second of two Andrew Scott suites where they powered through "I Can't Sleep," "I Know You," "Something's Wrong" and "I've Gotta Try," which is going to the be official US single, complete with a just-shot music video. It really felt like Andrew's night. He got a lot of mike time this time around (he had no songs on Sloan's last album, Action Pact) but more than that he was just such a powerhouse behind the kit all night. Usually, Chris Murphy's antics demand attention but I spent most of my time watching Andrew. (Except when Chris licked his way up the microphone stand, which was both funny and gross all at once.)
Despite the dominance of the new album, they made lots of room for the classics, including "The Lines That You Amend," "C'mon, C'mon," "Money City Maniacs," "Anyone Who's Anyone," "Chester the Molester," "The Good in Everyone," "Penpals" (which they played at its proper fast speed) and "The Other Man," a song a lot of Sloan fans hate but I actually really like. To each his own. Nothing from the first album, though.
The show was at least 90 minutes though the crowd would've stayed for twice that. The band hung out downstairs after the show, chatting with fans. Andrew told me about some sushi place near the club that he said was really good — had eaten at twice since getting into town, actually — but I can't remember the name. (So much for this being a music-and-food blog. I really need to step up.) Jay Ferguson, meanwhile, refuted Andrew's claim that he had never eaten a shrimp. He has… he just doesn't like them, okay!
Openers and fellow Torontoians Spiral Beach were a lot of fun. I don't even know how to describe them. They're a bit like the Coral or the Zutons, by way of Oingo Boingo (minus the horns). Psychotic circus music? You could definitely dance to it. I am anxious to hear what they sound like on record.
Fluxblog was also there, and has the full setlist. The awesome pictures used here were swiped from Kathryn Yu's Flickr photostream. She always has great concert shots, but has really outdone herself here. Dig this picture of Patrick Pentland in full rock star pose…