The first thing you noticed when arriving at the Sloan concert is a huge white banner with playing card suits (heart, diamond, club and spade) gracing the stage behind the instruments. Second thing you notice just before the lights go down, is no barricade fencing between audience and stage ! Sloan ditched the barrier in favour of letting fans get as close to the action as possible, and it paid off big time.
Lights go down, cheers erupt as Sloan walk on stage, and move into three songs off their newest album, Commonwealth (not many bands play the new songs first, wanting to play the ‘known hits’ first). This album, and gig, had a different feel to it than past shows, since each member took turns writing and playing different instruments. These guys stay true to their roots but aren’t afraid to try new things as well, and the ‘stay punk’ tattoo seen on guitarist Patrick Pentland’s arm seems to echo that.
The audience was right into the music, as evidenced by clapping and stomping throughout the show, and at one point, singer Chris Murphy stopped singing and the audience continued the chorus loud and proud. Murphy told the audience after the song, that that makes him feel really great. He asked how many people here attended their last tour in Vancouver and nearly every hand in the room went up amid cheers and whistles, and he thanked us for our support over the last twenty years of Sloan’s journey of being a band.
Back to the music and the lights went dark, the Commodore’s disco ball lit up, shedding a new feel on the evening, before the band closed out their first set. Intermission time, and the band walks back onto the stage asking if everyone is back and are we ready?! The second set was mostly Sloan classics: Rest of my Life, If It Feels Good Do It, The Other Man and more.. enough to fill up another 45 minute set.
Sloan closed the show with Money City Maniacs and thanked us once again for being a great crowd. As the crowd applauded, Murphy put his guitar pick in his mouth and spat it out on stage, laughing. The band (Murphy, Pentland, Jay Ferguson, Andrew Scott) left the stage, but of course returned for a 3 song encore which capped off the perfect night.
*all photos by Rea Raven, click to enlarge
written by Rea Raven
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