Sloan attracts young and old to Commodore

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Playing songs from albums old and new, Sloan still rocks.

By: Tessa Perkins

First published in The Peak.

For their new album, Commonwealth, each member of Sloan helms one side of the record representing the four suits of a deck of cards. The band has always collaborated on songwriting, and on this album each of them has a chance to be the front man. In this same spirit, their live show had the band members switching places and sharing the limelight.

They began playing the Spade side of the record, followed by the Shamrock, Diamond, and Heart sides, with older songs in between such as “It’s Plain to See” and “Unkind” from Double Cross. “Unkind” had the crowd clapping along to the beat and singing the infectious lyrics.

From Jay Ferguson’s Diamond side of Commonwealth, they played “You’ve Got a Lot on Your Mind” which fit right in with their older hits and had the crowd nodding along in approval. This moved right into the following song off the record that references the theme of the album directly with lyrics like “She played a diamond where a heart should land” and “The house will always win.” This is a very well written song, and sounds as though Sloan just crossed the pond from Britain.

 

Of course, the members of Sloan are not from Britain, but from Halifax, and are now based in Toronto. Their patriotic side comes out on “The Rest of My Life” as they sing “One thing I know about the rest of my life, I know that I’ll be living it in Canada.” Screaming that along with everyone brought me back to Canada Day a few years ago when Sloan performed in Surrey.

Chris Murphy’s Heart side has a different tone, but it suits the band nonetheless. Songs like “Carried Away” were very easy to sing along to. They brought out “Believe in Me” from 1988, and the older fans in the crowd were very pleased.

The range in audience ages was really nice to see at this show, as Sloan have managed to keep their fans from the ‘90s while also attracting some new fans along the way. Maybe not everyone could relate when they sang “I Hate My Generation,” but everyone enjoyed this 1994 hit.

After taking a break, the band came back for round two and got everyone pumped back up with their 2001 hit, “If It Feels Good Do It.” “Misty’s Beside Herself” from the Heart side of Commonwealth slowed the pace down, and then they switched gears once again to play one of my favourites, “Who Taught You To Live Like That?” and “Ill placed trust” from 2006’s Never Hear the End of It.

With such a large discography, the band has a lot of material to draw on, and they played a well-rounded and lengthy set. Before the encore, they played two more that everyone could sing along to: “The Other Man” and “Money City Maniacs.”

They thanked the crowd for allowing them to do an encore, and expressed that they still love that feeling of being called back on stage. The group is still humble, and clearly loves making great rock music. They ended the night with the first song off Commonwealth, “We’ve Come This Far,” “The Marquee and the Moon,” and “She Says What She Means.” It was a fitting way to end a night of visiting their extensive discography.

Photo by: Navjot Sidhu.

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