Gazing out over the capacity crowd gathered at the Phoenix, a line from an old Murderrecords catalog came to mind, “Sloan are the most beloved of any band I know.”
And the audience singing along word for word with many of the songs proved that that were indeed beloved by the fans gathered at the venue on a rainy Saturday night.
Taking to the stage to Toronto artist Maylee Todd’s take on the ‘Pinball Countdown’ song from Sesame street, the band immediately launched into their two hour set that saw them play new songs and old favorites, though perhaps most disappointingly, they didn’t play anything from their debut album Smeared.
A big part of any Sloan show is frequent switching instruments and vocals. The gig saw members Patrick Pentland, Chris Murphy, Andrew Scott and Jay Ferguson moving around on stage and taking up vocal duties. This doubtlessly kept the Phoenix employee operating the spotlight busy throughout the evening.
After taking the opportunity to plug their new album, the fittingly titled 12, the band had the audience singing along to ‘Who Taught You to Live Like That’.
Ferguson then took over vocals duties that saw a song that saw the band shifting in style and tone. Musically, the songs it was the sonic mélange of sounds that fans of the veteran Toronto rockers have come expect that ranged from punk to classic rock to Beatles-influenced pop.
They even went back to a 7″ single they released in the early 90’s for one song. It featured a drum solo from Scott just before he took over vocal duties for a couple songs including ‘People of the Sky’.
The band wrapped up the first set with ‘Right to Roam’ and ‘Follow the Leader’ before leaving the stage for a short break. From there, it was an all-killer, no filler set that saw the band rip through songs from virtually all their albums.
A rousing run-through of ‘If It Feels Good, Do It’ was one of the highlights. ‘The Other Man’ was another standout. They even showed a roots-rock sound on a new song as well.
If there was any disappointment to be had with the otherwise fun night, the murky sound made it difficult to hear the band’s between song banter, which was mostly provided by Murphy, who led the audience in frequent call and response vocals.
Keeping their East Coast roots in mind, the band made a joke comedian Mary Walsh being in the audience. They then delivered a punked up version of ‘I Hate My Generation’ from their classic album Twice Removed and provided the evening with yet another rousing highlight when they led the audience in call and response vocals on ‘If It Feels Good Do It’.
After a brief pause, the band returned to the stage for a three song encore that kicked off with ‘The Lines You Amend’ and the audience sang along word for word on ‘The Rest of My Days’, drowning out the band when they sang, ‘One thing about the rest of my days/I know I’ll be living them in Canada!”
They wrapped up the night with ‘The Good in Everyone’ before sending everyone into the rainy night feeling a little warmer and happier.