Sunday, September 14th, 2003
Pure Diamond Gold
Saturday night at the Horseshoe was a Good time. There was a pun there, though it’s okay if you didn’t catch it. I don’t mind. The Sadies were playing and anytime those boys take the stage, you’re guaranteed of a shit-kicking party.
Unbilled openers Ox’s Whiskeytown-esque country ballads initially impressed on the strength of Vancouver-ite Mark Browning’s strong vocals and instrumental arrangements, but sets end had lost a lot of interest due to the sameness of the material and consistently slow tempo. Ox would do well to offer a little more variety in their set, but they’re definitely doing something worth paying attention to.
The next band must have bribed someone to get on the bill… The Good Brothers, multiple Juno-award winning Canadian country stalwarts and also father and uncles to the Sadies’ Good brothers. The Good Brothers were consumate professionals delivering Maritime-influenced folk and country songs with gusto and polish.
The Sadies live are a force of nature. Nattily attired in matching faux-Nudie suits, Dallas and Travis Good reel off one jaw-dropping country/psych/rockabilly number after another with an instrumental prowess that boggles the mind. It says something about a band’s drawing power when they can pretty much sell out a largeish club like the ‘Shoe with only walk-up sales, there were no advance tickets. Last night was my third time seeing them, the second time headlining, and like last time this seemed less like a concert than a musical whirlwind that consumed the whole room. The Good brothers are a curious pair, Dallas being the laid back, congenial host and Travis the intense, hard-rocking foil. Watching Travis pummel his Gretsch makes me feel unworthy to come within 100 ft of a guitar ever again. Gawddamn these boys can play!
The family affair theme of the night continued with Margaret Good, the boys’ mother, coming onstage to take vocals on a few numbers (she also appears on most of their albums) and later on, their father as well. What it must have been to grow up in a household with so much music! Mind-boggling. Blue Rodeo’s Bob Egan also guested on pedal steel on much of the set. It was good to see Mike Belitsky behind the kit since he didn’t get to do drum duties this summer with his other band, The Pernice Brothers. And, as with the night before, there was a wholly expected but still rousing tribute to Johnny Cash, this time “Cry Cry Cry”. It seems odd to say, but I think I picked the right weekend to see a couple of unabashedly country-influenced acts.
The moral of this story? If you ever get a chance to see the Sadies live, by god you have to do it.
np – The Sadies / Pure Diamond Gold