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tara's mondo sloan review.
Friday, January 24, 1997
ONE NIGHT ONLY!! SLOAN, THE INBREDS AND THE EUPHONIC, LIVE AT
THE MCINNES ROOM, A REVIEW OF SORTS:
Building security made us stand out in the cold until 15 minutes
before the show. The McInnes Room floor rocked more than the
Northumberland Strait ferries on a blustery day. Security dumped
jugs of water on our heads. All this for only 15 bucks! Oh yeah,
and some bands played, too.
By Tara Lee Wittchen
Review of: Sloan at the McInnes Room, Dalhousie Student Union
Building, Halifax Saturday, January 18, 1997
While it's difficult to deny the love Sloan has for the Beatles,
there is such a thing as going too far. Not that I'm accusing
Sloan of planning in advance for two kids to faint just minutes
before the band hit the stage, but it did seem mighty
suspicious. Didn't girls used to faint when the BEATLES went on
"I don't know whether it's from the excitement or what," said
one alert security person. "It's been months since the last
Sloan all-ages performance in town."
Traditionally a review should focus on such things as song
execution, crowd reaction and the like. However, I can't even
begin to discuss the show without asking: What the hecky thump
was that thing under bassist Chris Murphy's nose? To be quite
honest, Murphy looked more like a successful porn star than the
stuff teenage girls' crushes are made of. He tried to blame it
on the fact he had spent the previous night in Cape Breton, but
I'm not buying it. Mustaches = yuck.
And speaking of teenage girls, it was somewhat of a nostalgic
moment for me to watch many of them in tears, holding each
other, while Sloan performed "Bells On." It was as though I was
14 again, standing in the second balcony at Edmonton's
Northlands Coliseum, while Corey Hart belted out "Everything In
My Heart" -- just for ME! Yes, girls, they played it just for
you, each and every one of you.
The McInnes Room was divided up into the wet (beer-drinking old
people) and dry (the kids and nearsighted old people) sections.
Really, that's not accurate, since security kept throwing jugs
of water all over the "dry" section. They didn't want any more
kids fainting from heat, excitement or whatever. It sure looked
pretty when the lights from the stage shone through the water --
sort of like silvery fireworks. El cheapo pyro, if you will.
Sloan has always claimed to be big fans of all-ages shows, so
bassist Chris Murphy took the opportunity between numbers to
thank the McInnes Room folks for allowing the kids into the
"I'm glad this is an all-ages show, I don't see any old fogeys
clapping in the back," he declared.
"Screw you," Murphy added, perhaps as an added incentive for the
old fogeys to begin clapping.
On-stage antics were minimal and mainly produced by Murphy -- he
engaged in David Lee Roth-style kicks several times throughout
the show and did some posturing and dancing. Oh sure, guitarist
Jay Ferguson bounced a bit too, but you're nobody without kicks.
Sloan did not perform any rarities or covers to speak of, unless
you count the brief "How Many More Times" by Led Zeppelin, which
the band uses to introduce their song "Before I Do." That song
is normally sung by drummer Andrew Scott, but Murphy took over
at this performance.
I must mention the sheer excellence of the encore. The crowd was
chanting "Sloan! Sloan! Sloan!" Guitarist Patrick Pentland came
back out on stage and told the crowd: "The way you're supposed
to do the chant is 'Sloooo-ooaann. Sloooo-ooaann.'" Much
hilarity ensued as the crowd tried out this new chant.
Once we settled down, the band started into what I assume must
be a rare, live performance of "A-Side Wins." It's difficult for
most pop bands to tour with a grand piano, which is the main
instrument in the song. It was somewhat sloppy, but one
shouldn't place too many demands on a band with a
drummer/pianist who lives three provinces away.
Sloan then held a brief on-stage conference while the crowd
chanted "Underwhelmed! Underwhelmed!" Sloan doesn't usually play
their first single these days and I was afraid they would do the
cliché thing and end the night with the song that started it
all. Instead they chose to play "I Am The Cancer," their finest
contribution to pop music. The rest of the crowd was visibly
disappointed and Murphy didn't put a lot of passion into his
singing. Still, they made a 23-year-old teenage girl happy at
They ended up playing "Underwhelmed" anyway. Oh well. Gotta keep
the kids happy, I guess.
Sloan's set list:
OCTA - One Chord To Another (murderecords)
TR - Twice Removed (DGC)
S - Smeared (DGC)
Nothing Left To Make Me Want To Stay (OCTA)
Can't Face Up (OCTA)
G Turns To D (OCTA)
The Lines You Amend (OCTA)
Before I Do (TR) *intro was a "borrowed" Led Zep bit
Coax Me (TR)
Bells On (TR)
Marcus Said (S)
People of the Sky (TR)
400 Metres (OCTA)
Snowsuit Sound (TR)
Everything You've Done Wrong (OCTA)
Anyone Who's Anyone (OCTA)
I Hate My Generation (TR)
Good In Everyone (OCTA)
A-Side Wins (OCTA)
I Am The Cancer (S)
Review of the Inbreds' Performance
The last time I saw the Inbreds, they were still operating as
Canada's finest duo. Since then, they've been experimenting with
a three-person lineup, with an extra musician switching between
bass and guitar to back up Dave Ulrich's steady drumming and
Mike O'Neill's innovative bass playing.
At Saturday's show their good friend Matt Murphy made a special
appearance as their third man -- as if he isn't busy enough with
the Super Friendz and L'il Orton Hogget. Apparently, he won't be
joining them on a regular basis, which is too bad, because he
did bring something special to the Inbreds live show.
The beauty of the Inbreds as a duo lies in the sparseness of
their songs. With Murphy, the Inbreds echo that beauty and
amplify it by ten times. The result is a fuller, more intricate
kind of beauty.
It was odd to see both O'Neill and Murphy standing on opposite
ends of the stage. From my vantage point, in the very back of
the McInnes room, it was difficult to tell which of the two lean
figures sporting nearly identical hairstyles was O'Neill and
which was Murphy. I figured it out when I saw one of them
switching between bass and guitar a lot -- that was Murphy.
O'Neill still brings a lot of inventiveness to his bass playing,
something I had feared would be lost in this new trio concept. I
can't believe I once thought what Van Halen's Michael Anthony
does is "good" bass playing. Thank goodness for someone like
O'Neill to rid me of such foolishness.
In addition to bringing some darn pretty guitar and bass playing
to the set, Murphy also proved why he is arguably Halifax's most
gifted male vocalist. That's some set of pipes, boy.
Although some have criticized Ulrich for his simplistic
drumming, I don't think the songs require complicated drum
solos. He also provided some comic relief when the crowd began
chanting: "We want Sloan! We want Sloan!" He jumped right in
with an accompanying drum beat.
Most of the songs came off the band's latest release "It's
Sydney Or The Bush," but older favorites like "You Will Know"
and "Any Sense Of Time" also appeared in the set list.
Review of the Euphonic's Performance
Sadly, I missed the first few minutes of the Euphonic's show.
Special thanks to the Dalhousie Student Union Building staff for
making it especially difficult to: (a) get into the building,
(b) check one's coat and bags, and (c) have a good time.
Oddly enough, as I stood in line downstairs waiting to check my
coat, I thought the sounds I was hearing were part of Sloan's
sound check. That isn't meant as an insult, nor do I want to
suggest the Euphonic are ripping anyone off. Rather, I found it
fascinating that three guys who played together (the Euphonic's
Henri Sangalang and Sloan's Chris Murphy and Jay Ferguson) as
Kearney Lake Road years ago are still touching the same musical
bases. Guitarist Andrew Glencross also shares similar vocal
qualities with Murphy.
I had only seen the trio play once before and can't really say
if this performance was typical of their style or not. However,
their songs intrigued me enough to want to make the effort to
catch their next show. Sweet harmonies, big pop sounds and even
a Bowie cover ("Oh You Pretty Things") to end the set. The
Euphonic's don't have a record available yet, but that will
probably change soon. They'd fit right in with the murderecords
_James Covey <jrcovey\!/cochran.com>_ sloan net is a discussion of the
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