before this what did we used to do.. sloan in edmonton/calgary

Sloan has been one of my favorite bands for a very long time.  I can remember being near-obsessed with them since I first heard their incredible album ‘Twice Removed’ in grade 5.  They’ve always been underappreciated.  I hope one that one day they’re recognized as the Canadian icons that they are.  Studio and live, they are an excellent band, with a very consistent output over the course of 18 years, 9 studio albums, 2 EP’s, a live album, and a singles album (This may be wrong, I’m going by memory).

Taking into account that I have been into them for so long, it makes the fact that this weekend marked the 15th and 16th time I’ve seen them live a little less scary.  16 times is a lot for one band though, and they deserve it, I wish I lived out East so I could see them more. 

A surprising fact is that although I’ve seen them 16 times, I’ve never photographed them.  This weekend they played Friday night at SAIT in Calgary, and Saturday night at the Starlite Room in Edmonton.  I took the Calgary show as an opportunity to finally bring a camera to one of their shows.  I decided against bringing the digital, in case security felt like going on a powertrip.  Instead, I brought my 1950’s era Nikon S2 rangefinder paired with a Nikkor 5cm f1.4 lens.  Discreet, manual focus, beautiful, and built like a tank, it seemed appropriate.  I loaded it with Kodak TMAX 3200 film and hoped for the best.  I went with my friend Carolyn, who has been my sidekick to Sloan concerts a half-dozen times or so, she was packing her Olympus OM-1 with 50mm f1.2 lens.

The show was outstanding as usual.  High energy, great harmony (with help from new band-mate Gregory Macdonald), good setlists and a decent crowd are always things you can count on at a Sloan concert, this time being no different.  The one glaring thing missing was the patented Chris Murphy leg kick (2:30 mark), but I’ll let it slide bearing in mind his recent surgery after some asshole committed a hit and run on my favorite bass player. 

Sloan's Patrick Pentland

Patrick Pentland sheds your face off.

Sloan's Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott on the drums, allright!

I’d like to thank Greg Macdonald for pointing out my Andy Sabola shirt that I wore for the show in Calgary.  He actually said “I feel we have to point out the awesome Andy Sabola shirt that the dude in the front row has on, that’s cool”.  It’s a bit of an inside joke for Sloan fans, here’s the abridged version (from what I understand.. this is mostly heresay):  Sloan’s drummer Andrew Scott bought his first drum set from a guy named Andy Sabola, so the drum skin for the bass drum said “Andy Sabola” on the front.  He kept this on there, and when it came time to buy a new kit, he got “Andy Sabola” put on there too, one would assume for nostalgia’s sake.  There have been a few different versions, The Andy Sabola band, Andy Sabola, etc.. I watched the Money City Maniacs music video a few times and copied the logo as accurately as possible and made it in MS Paint, printed it, and threw it on a shirt (This was quite a few years ago.. it wasn’t the first time I wore it to a Sloan show).

yeah.. I’ve painted in it a few times.

So, after the Calgary show I decided I’d stick around to see the band, and make a request.  When Chris Murphy came out, I let him know that I’d seen them 15 times, and they’d never once played Marquee and the Moon, which is my favorite Sloan song.  We went over a few details, discussed the set list, and decided that Autobiography should be dropped in favor of MatM, I was ecstatic.  Carolyn and I, like we do most things, both happen to have the same favorite Sloan song, and I had a good time bragging about the fact that I’d see it in Edmonton.  We couldn’t wait to develop the film, so we developed our Sloan shots at about 3am after the concert in our film developing lab (aka bathroom).

Sloan's Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy takes over on drums while Andrew Scott plays a few of his own songs.

Saturday came the Edmonton show.  The setlist was very close to the same, which was a little bit of a disappointment, not that the songs are bad, I’d just have liked to see more variety.  I got a glimpse of it and noticed that Autobiography was on it, and I was scared that MatM wouldn’t get played.  I won’t hide the fact that after Autobiography I was a bit bummed, and it showed.  I wasn’t my normal vibrating-with-happiness-because-Im-at-Sloan-live self.  I was totally down that they didn’t play it, and I was sulking like some asshole kid who deserved better than what I was getting…. until the encore.  They came out for the encore, Chris pointed at me a gave me a little nod, as they made their way in to my favorite Sloan song ever.  This completely made my entire Sloan experience complete, after 16 trips, they finally played it.  I thanked them profusely after the show and acted like a 9 year old who had just met Batman, it was really, really rad.

Patrick Pentland’s KISS sticker adorned guitar.

Rock out Chris.

Two more memorable shows under my belt, including the most memorable ever.  They are awesome and you’d be a total goofball to miss them next time they’re in town.  Buy their new EP Hit & Run (How appropriate) here: Hit & Run, Sloan’s website is here:



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