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The Sadies: In Concert, Vol. 1

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Album Review

Over the course of five studio albums under their own name and a hatful of sessions with other acts (ranging from alt-country songbird Neko Case to R&B wildman Andre Ethier), the Sadies have firmly established themselves as some of the finest pickers on the North American continent. Dallas Good and Travis Good's guitars conjure up a twangy netherworld hovering somewhere between California surf and Nashville twang along the broad plains of the Canadian prairies, and Mike Belitsky and Sean Dean are a superbly malleable rhythm section, always giving the songs just what they need without getting in the way. What isn't as widely appreciated is how great a live band the Sadies can be, but this two-disc set recorded during a two-day stand at Lee's Palace in Toronto proves that whatever these guys can do in the studio, they can do just as well (if not better) in front of a cheering crowd. Like many of their studio discs, In Concert, Vol. 1 features an abundant helping of guest stars, ranging from the Good Brothers (the country act led by Dallas and Travis' parents), former Band keyboardist Garth Hudson and members of Blue Rodeo to Jon Spencer, Jon Langford of the Mekons and the Waco Brothers, Gary Louris of the Jayhawks, and frequent collaborators Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. Given the talent on-stage, it says a lot that the Sadies not only don't drown in the wake of their "special guests," but sound fiery and fully in control for more than 110 minutes, and they can leap from the country gospel of "Higher Power" and the honky tonk fire of "1,000,002 Songs" to the blues-punk blast of "Back Off" (with Jon Spencer adding his trademark spiel) and the flinty roar of "Memphis, Egypt" (as Jon Langford briefly turns the Sadies into the Mekons) and land firmly on their feet every time. Also, while there's a cool assurance to the Sadies' studio work, here the band isn't afraid to turn it up and draw sweat, and there's a level of excitement in these sessions that will please fans and surprise the doubters. Steve Albini, Ken Friesen, and Don Pyle get the whole shebang on tape with high fidelity without sacrificing the energy of the musicians or the audience in the process. If the title In Concert, Vol. 1 is meant to suggest the Sadies have another album like this in the works, let's hope it hits the streets soon if it approaches this level of excellence: this truly captures a great band at the top of their form.

Customer Reviews

Wish I was there

So many great songs, so much extraordinary musicianship. Spanning genres, bands, even eras, the whole thing bursts with glee. This is one of those explosive live albums that makes me long to have been there. Damn.

The Best Album You Will Ever Buy That Your Friends Have Never Heard Of

I saw them live with Neko Case on her "The Tigers Have Spoken" tour, and was immediately amazed at how good they sounded. They sounded so much like the live record that they were touring in support of I (idiotically) briefly wondered if they weren't all lip syncing to a recording of it! Neko has always shouted from the rooftops that they are the best live band alive, and I saw nothing to disprove her. This entire album is excellent from front to back, but the greatest stroke of genius was to end it with the Mekons' (and apparently everyone else) singing "Memphis Egypt". That stage full of 30 and 40 somethings nearly burned the place down with more punk rock energy than I have ever heard from a band of 20 year olds.
This album always ends with my ears ringing. :D


Formed: 1994 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

One of the most accomplished bands to emerge from the North American indie and roots rock scene, the Sadies are an eclectic group led by brothers Dallas Good and Travis Good, who've crafted a distinctive sound, absorbing influences from traditional country, surf music, and garage rock, and bending it into something unique with their estimable instrumental skills. Hailing from Toronto, Dallas and Travis came from a musical family; their father Bruce Good and uncles Brian Good and Larry Good were members...
Full Bio
The Sadies: In Concert, Vol. 1, The Sadies
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