Saturday, February 4th, 2006
Okay, so grok the roll call: Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, Gary Louris, Rick White, Blue Rodeo, Jon Langford, The Good Brothers, The Deadly Snakes, Heavy Trash, Garth Hudson and Steve Albini, all in attendance at the behest of The Sadies. Tell me how this could not possibly kick incalcuable amounts of ass?
This was the first of two sold-out nights at Lee’s Palace being recorded for The Sadies’ first live album, and to get it right, they invited pretty much everyone they’d ever collaborated with to come and join the festivities. They split what would be a nearly four-hour long show into two (though really three) sets, the first taking a more traditional roots/country feel as they opened with some of their own material, Dallas politely introducing the song before and thanking the crowd after each song. They then invited The Good Brothers, aka their parents and uncles, onstage for a few and then Bob Egan, Kelly Hogan and The Band’s Garth Hudson out before calling a brief intermission.
After the break, the show got down and dirty, thanks in no small part to the presence of Heavy Trash, with Jon Spencer playing MC and working the crowd up into a frenzy while Matt Verta-Ray and Travis Good threw down greasy rockabilly licks. They were then joined by The Deadly Snakes for a number before stepping aside to allow The Mekons’ Jon Langford to hold court. After reeling off some numbers from his Mayors Of The Moon record, recorded with The Sadies, he gave up the stage for longtime collaborator Neko Case, who also brought back out Hogan and Hudson for a few. The next guest was a fellow I was especially excited to see – Gary Louris of The Jayhawks. Louris is producing the Sadies’ next album, and I was thrilled to hear them play “Tailspin”, off the last Jayhawks record, as well as a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Lucifer Sam”. Next up were The Sadies’ cohorts in The Unintended, Rick White and Greg Keelor, then Canadian roots-rock royalty in Blue Rodeo and finally the mandatory, everyone-on-stage big finish.
Except that wasn’t the finish. The encore ran almost as long as the other sets, and featured a steady revolving door of guests with returns to the stage by pretty much everyone who’d already played. Things ran till 2AM, last call, when Dallas Good thanked everyone for coming – both performers and audience – and bid us all good night. Until tonight, when they do it all over again.
If it seems like I’m rushing through the review, I apologize, but there was so much great music and performance that the only real coherent thought that could come out of it all was, “wow”. Wow at all the stars, wow at the music, wow at The Sadies. It’s really unbelivable how versitile they are as musicians – backing Louris, they were a pop band. As The Unintended, they were psychedelic. With Heavy Trash they were rough and raw blues-rockers. Langford-led, they were country-punk and with the Good Brothers, Case, Hogan and Blue Rodeo, untouchable country. But no matter who they were playing with, they were always unmistakably themselves. Pure diamond gold.
I nearly filled up an entire memory card with pics (note to self – get backup memory card), but here are the best ones. The first pic is of uber-producer/engineer Steve Albini, who recorded the first few Sadies records, and was out in the mobile truck on this night getting every note down on 2″ tape. If you’re going tonight, man are you in for a treat. And if you didn’t make either show – hey, at least there’ll be a live album soon.
np – Trespassers William / Different Stars