Sloan Live At Crocks N Rolls/Thunder Bay Ontario/April 7 2016
When it comes to Sloan I’m not gonna B.S anyone in saying that I’m the Biggest Sloan fan around. That would go to fellow blogger buddy Aaron from The Keep Me Alive Site. Aaron worships these guys and fair enough as Aaron has everything Sloan.(that would include 10 Studio Albums,2 Live Albums and some Compilation albums)
My collection consists of 2 Studio Albums .(One Chord To Another and Navy Blues) and 1 Live album(4 Nights At The Palais Royale) Yeah I know I’m lagging behind but when Frank Laffredo (concert promoter) announced he was bringing Sloan to his bar (Crocks) and Sloan would be playing the entire One Chord album front to back in one set and a second set consisting of Greatest Hits. I was sold!( A local writer wrote a preview and had interview with Bassist/Lead Vocalist Chris Murphy in which the opening of the article was written that with Sloan you know at least two of their songs? Whut? Haha..ok I think the general rock public could pick out more than 2 Sloan tunes even if you’re not a huge fan by the amount of Sloan that is played on the radio)
One Chord To Another was the first Sloan album I bought(back in 96) after I had seen The Good In Everyone Video and was hooked by guitarist Patrick Pentland’s knack for writing a real slick under 2 minutes 17 seconds of sheer guitar rock brilliance with a oh so goody hook line and melody added along for good measure.
You quickly realized with Sloan that they had their own identity in a world of millions of bands and these cats could sing and perform at a pretty cool level.( Drummer Andrew Scott and guitarist Jay Ferguson also sing lead vocals ) Why I didn’t keep buying all their stuff is one of life’s silly mystery’s….
Once a date was set it was a no brainer with my best pal in tow Tbone it was off to the show we go. Crocks is a pretty cool place to see band’s with good sound,sight lines and lots of cold beer!
Crocks was packed for this show…..
So when the Sloan boys sauntered into Crocks from their tour bus that was parked outside of Crocks it was kinda funny watching some girl (not realizing) she was blocking Andrew’s walk to the stage! She almost hip checked him! Ha! She probably had no idea who he was …maybe she did?
Sloan launched right into Good In Everyone and man what a corker of an opening track! No fooling around. Patrick rips out one deadly short little sonic of a solo and holy crap these guys can light it up FAST!
Nothing Left Me To Make Me Wanna Stay is dialed in next and Chris takes over on lead vocals and its a great written piece of power pop.
Chris being the lead guy/frontman keeps the talking between tracks short and tidy and the band just keeps it going. Autobiography is played followed by Jay Ferguson who takes the mic on Junior Panthers and then it’s into G Turns To D which is awesome!
Now here’s where it gets cool! Drummer Andrew leaves his drum kit grabs a guitar while Jay shifts to bass and Chris hops onto the drums. Andrew does the lead vocal honours on A Side Wins.
This is a real cool dynamic of Sloan and since this was my first time seeing them live(more on that later…keep reading) you can see how they operate.
Drummer Andrew looking like Stewart Copeland from the Police (who was the drummer of the Police ironically enough) has a kinda aura about him with his dark sunglasses and Ball cap but the dude can play those drums on a minimal drum set(two cymbals) as well he plays a good guitar and sings decent as well.
Jay Ferguson who handles mostly rhythm guitar and sings the occasional lead vocal seems like the most laid back dude in the band. Seems like a real chill kinda guy..
Chris Murphy is always at stage centre. Not only does he sing and play bass but toss in some drumming as well. He pounds the crap outta em! Speaking of his voice he can still nail those high notes and that proves another thing that these guys have aged gracefully as their chops and even their appearance has done them well. Train wreck does not apply to Sloan!
Patrick Pentland is the rock guy of Sloan. Not only does Pat play a mean six string but he has one of those cool rock voices almost Ace Frehley 1978 like. He takes his craft serious and that’s singing a ton of lead vocals while tossing out short shots of riff n rolls in the songs that he has had a clear hand in shaping.
Case In point when Sloan and Patrick launch into Everything You’ve Done Wrong it’s almost Beatles like except the guitar has some crunch live but the bass is very McCartney and what’s real cool is that the horns are used in the solo section (sampled ) live but I will tell Ya I love to this day that sloppy horn part on the studio version of this track. Still though live it comes across awesome with a little more ooooomph added on top!
Must mention the dude who plays keys,slam’s some maracas now and then and does a ton of backing vocals. Gregory MacDonald is a valued asset to their live show and it’s brutal that whenever you read a live review of Sloan the dude is never mentioned! Not here Sir! Mr M, Getting your due and then some!
Back to the show Anyone Who’s Anyone is played followed by Jay taking the lead vocals on The Lines You Amend (another real biggie single from this album) Take The Bench another Murphy sung tune is played followed by Patrick’s Can’t Face Up!
The opening set concludes with The Sloan Instrument swap a roo so Andrew can end the set with 400 Metres!
Well Done Boy’s….now go and take a breather and get back to the stage and slam them out….
After a short hiatus…There Back! Boom! Ramp it back up and that’s what the 5 dudes did! Song after song. It just keeps coming and one of my favs Money City Maniacs is dealt! Love the opening with the swirl of the police siren and Pat playing a Malcolm Young kinda opening riff and the stomp of Andrews drums! Fuck Yeah! Add in some lead vocal sharing between Patrick and Chris..Money City Maniacs…Joke,Dope and Alibi…..more please….
Unkind,Coax Me,If It Feels Good Do it,Who Taught You To Live Like That and another set highlight was when the Sloan instrument swap took place during Sailing Ships with Andrew strapping on his Gibson SG and man oh man! Sailing Ships is one of those Gems from Navy Blues and I hear some Beatles like influence except for the fact that the sound is cranked up! Great Great Song…..the chorus is GOLD!
Not to be outdone and a song I have not heard in years Losing California is played! WHUT?! How could I possibly have been asleep at the wheel on this one! What a scorcher as Patrick sings a real cool lead vocal and the backing vocals are top-notch! The Riff is here, the song just flat-out rocks….You cannot beat straight ahead rock tracks that are catchy as hell! This is one of them!
The Other Man and 500 Up ended the second set and Crocks was rocking. Sloan came out delivered a high-powered rock n roll (2) set!
Aaron had told me to stick around as usually a couple of Sloaner’s will hang out and chat.
Chris Murphy hung around the merch table so I proceeded to get inline and get my copy of One Chord signed. Chris I tell ya’s out there reading this is a real cool down to earth chap! I told him it was awesome to see guys around my age (48) still out there rocking it night after night. Chris said he was 47. He asked me how many times I had seen Sloan live. I retorted with ‘ my first time!” he quickly replied with a ‘where have you been man!’ HA! Fair enough and than asked what was my first live show. I answered Kiss! First show ever I ever saw live….Kiss/Dynasty Tour(79)
Chris laughed when I told him the opener at that show was supposed to be Judas Priest but they bailed and it was a young John Cougar who got royally booed through out his set! Chris said he’s a pretty good pal of Kiss Biographer Ken Sharp…
Chris made time with everyone who stuck around. Great guy and good call Aaron!
Of course I had to tell Chris that I dabble in a Rock Blog at which he answered with a ” Don’t Trash Our Shit To Hard!’ Haha… As I was on my way out…
Great end to a friggin great night of Rock!