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Sloan Surprises in Saskatoon

Well to hell with the east coast angst and universal hard feelings that
have been bogging down sloannet for the last while: I finally have a
little east coast content, and that's such a rare ocurence for a
multi-year lurker like me that I just have to share!

Sloan and The Inbreds played Louis' Pub (that's Louis Riel, not Del
Grande) on the U of S campus tonight, and I was there.  I flew in from LA
to interview Sloan for the Christmas issue of the LA based rock lifestyle
mag 'Hair' (email me privately for subscription information), and I was
certainly not disappointed, though I was surprised. The Inbreds were
awesome, and maybe I'll post about them later, but for now I just can't
hold back on Sloan.

They came on early, fumbling their way onto a completely darkened stage,
and took up their positions in front of a rather burly looking capacity
crowd, many of whom were crowded onto Louis' trademark stainless steel
dance floor.  The lights flashed on and off, and then on again to stay,
and O My God!  There they were, Jay, Chris, Patrick and Andrew, BALD!
Yes, bald.  Not quite cue ball bald, not Kojack bald even, but sort of
Michael Stipes/Gord Downie bald.  All except Chris Murphy (son of CBC wag
Rex Murphy) actually, who on closer examination was actually sporting what
is known locally as the Saskatchewan Super Cut, more globally refered to
as Hockey Hair, if I'm not mistaken.  Think Barry Melrose.

Anyway, they immediately launched into The Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash, to
the crowds evident pleasure, and as I had heard that they were doing some
covers, I was not too surprised.  But that soon changed as one Beatles
tune followed another.  Yes, they did the entire first side of Revolver.
Outside of a handfull of pink-barretted (sp?) indie-toddlers at the front
(who were soon crushed beyond recognition into the aforementioned
stainless steel dance floor) and a couple of large gutted and amply
grizzled oldsters (my lovely date and me included) at the back, no one
seemed to notice or mind. It was only once they had finished the mop top
super set that they addressed the crowd, Jay I think it was, mumbling
something about finally feeling free to be themselves now that they were
west of Ontario. I for one certainly know what they mean.

Jay then turned and showed us an impressively long and well
braided 'Rat Tail' hanging from the back of his otherwise close cropped
noggin, spun around not once, not twice but thrice, and launched into a
Peter Frampton ballad, the name of which escapes me.  Yes, you can see
where this is going;  it was an all covers night.  From Simon and
Garfunkel (Mrs Robinson and The Boxer) to Boston, Queensryche and even
the Forgotten Rebels (F*ck Me Dead), they covered all the bases. They only
played one original tune, a new one (soon to be available as a split 7"
with Chicago mighty man, Wesley Willis), called Mike Catano's Nu-hair-Do.
The crowd ate it all up without question, and went absolutely wild when at
one point Jay, Chris and Andrew were all crowd surfing at once, leaving
Patrick on stage to perform a rather athletic bass solo as a bridge
between 'Born to Be Wild' and 'Takin' Care of Business'.

But it wasn't all hi-jinks.  The whole room took a walk on the pensive
side when the boys retook the stage and played an acoustic medly of
Tragically Hip ballads (Chris and Jay on acoustic guitar, Andrew on
Mandolin and Patrick on Marimbas, Latin Percussion and what looked to be
Bruce Cockburn's little chime thingy that you kick {you either know it or
you don't}); several of the more sensitive locals were moved to tears during
the chorus from 'Wheat Kings'.

And the encore?  Well, more than anything, the Sloansters are showmen, and
they know their audience.  What better way to end a night in the Hub City
than with The Guess Who's 'Runnin' Back to Saskatoon'. Believe me, no one
was left sitting.

What an evening, what an evening, what a magical magical evening.  I can
only imagine what the lucky souls in Edmonton will see tomorrow.  I'm
meeting Sloan for a breakfast interview at the Coachman Beverage Room at
9:30 tomorrow am (they've got an awesome early bird special, but that's
not east coast, so I'd better not mention it), so if you want to get any
questions in, better do it before then.

Sloanly yours,

Tom 'No, I'm more independent than you' Hayden

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