[Editor’s note: This review was originally published on Oct 11th, 2019 for BuriedOnMars.com]
This was my third time seeing Sloan perform live. The hook this time is they were performing favourite Sloan album, Navy Blues in its entirety.
The show was at The Rose, a performance theatre with seating for just under 900 people. Brampton, Ontario is about an hour drive for me and the tickets were $42 each. I was able to snatch two of them for the 2nd row! One for me, and the other for my wife, Sarah. I couldn’t believe how we were going to sit that close!
When the day arrived, Sarah was super prepared. Having already checked The Rose out on Google Street View, she knew exactly where to go and to park at their underground lot which is free after 7 PM. We parked, walked up a few stairs, and next thing you know we are in line at the box office. Freakin’ sweet. We were seated by 7:30ish, waiting for the show to start. Sarah was really impressed with the seats.
Having seen Sloan a couple to times already, I knew that her favourite member of the band, Patrick Pentland, sets up towards the left of the stage. So I got us seats on the left. It made up for missing out on him last year when he had to miss the show we attended due to a family emergency.
Sarah picked up a couple of shirts and we both took a bathroom break to change into them.
There was no opening act billed but the band allowed one of their road crew members to perform fifteen minutes of his original material. This two-man group was named Silent Wall and consisted of a guitar/vocal and drums. And man… did Sloan and Silent Wall ever bust each other’s chops. Sloan’s Chris Murphy came out and gave them a five-minute roast. Silent Wall interluded between tunes with some jabs at Sloan. When Sloan took they stage, they used any chance to complain about how terrible the opening act was. It was so Canadian. I loved it.
Sloan didn’t waste any time getting to the Navy Blues material . They opened with it and performed the album from start to finish. I was impressed by the incredible amount of planning that had to go into this. One of the most unique things I like about Sloan is how they switch lead vocal duties and instruments between all of the band members. Check out the band member credits on Wikipedia:
- Jay Ferguson – vocals, rhythm guitar, bass guitar (1991–present)
- Chris Murphy – vocals, bass guitar, drums (1991–present)
- Patrick Pentland – vocals, lead guitar (1991–present)
- Andrew Scott – vocals, drums, rhythm guitar (1991–present)
4 lead vocalists, 2 rhythm guitarists, 2 on bass, two drummers… and even this list isn’t complete. Because even though Patrick did most of the lead solos, both Andrew and Jay had some lead licks happening.
Usually, during a show, the shift between instruments is a very smooth one. They perform a few of Jay’s tunes, then Chris’, then Patricks, etc… which means they only need to switch instruments a few times. This isn’t the case when performing the tracklist for Navy Blues, which I’m sure was designed to make an optimal listening experience instead of what would make for the fewest changes during a live show. Between every tune was the clicks and clacks of guitars being switched over and the organized chaos of having one band member moving onto a different set of instruments. All for the benefit of the crowd who was there to see their favourite album performed. It was very much appreciated. (Also, shout out to 5th-ish band member Gregory MacDonald who handled all of the the keys and backing vocals during the show.)
During Sloan’s short break after finishing up Navy Blues, Sarah and I talked vinyl. They had two albums at the merch table that we had our eyes on, Twice Removed and One Chord to Another. They were $30 each which I felt was a little high, but a quick check online showed that it was reasonable by comparison. We ended up grabbing both for us.
Sloan came back out and hammered us with the hits and memorable album tracks. Chris Murphy got the crowd on their feet after jumping off the stage and we all stayed that way until he told us we could sit down for a slow tune. Then he strummed the first two chords of “The Rest of My Life” and we all got back up. Good times.
Exiting the building one guy was having trouble opening the door to the parking garage. After he figured out it was a pull instead of a push I quiped so he could hear, “He must be a Silent Wall fan”. We had a good laugh.
I’m going to leave you now with a few more photos of the show. The ones that look good were taken by Sarah, and I’m responsible for the burry ones. Thanks for reading and thanks to Sloan for the good times!