This is another one where I’m tempted to just write “it was fine” and move on. Or else, y’know, start a new text file and let it sit empty for three weeks. Instead, I’ve just hit play on Sloan’s new album, The Double Cross. I think it runs about 35 minutes. That is my deadline for writing this. I kind of hope to have to stop mid-sentence.
We made the drive up to Saskatoon that morning. Plans to leave earlier in the weekend were called off because we’d never left the cat alone overnight before and so we figured that one night would be enough for the first time. The drive was uneventful. Once in town, we took my mom to the zoo for (belated) Mother’s Day. Despite the adorable baby geese and baby bison and baby goats (11 days old!), I think her real highlight of the day was the pre-zoo trip to Bulk Barn. I’d laugh, but it was a first for me too and I had a great time. They have so much stuff! In big buckets! I got some chocolate-coated peanut brittle (from a bucket). It was okay, but mostly it made me think that a homemade version would be killer. Especially if I made bacon peanut brittle again. But I’m getting off-topic and discussing something more interesting. Better focus.
This was my third time seeing Sloan. Mika’s in the double digits by now. Dave and Deserée came along too, both first-timers. We had a wide range of Sloan experience, from long-time superfan to “oh yeah, that’s the song from the Future Shop commercials.”
We got to the bar with plenty of time to sit around and discuss... um, stuff? I was going to list what we’d been talking about, - at the time, I thought it would be a funny list - but now, all I really remember is talking about the death of Boner Stabone from Growing Pains (“BONER’S DEAD?!”), and whether people in the 80s knew that “Boner” was an inappropriate nickname for a family-friendly TV show.
I guess we also discussed why a bar would have servers bring people food, but refuse to bring people drinks. Not specific people, but all people. You can order food, but you have to go get your own drinks. I’m sure there’s a reason for it, but I can’t figure out what it is.
The Double Cross is half-over. Better pick up the pace. I had hopes that the opener would be somebody good - apparently Sloan tours a lot with Magneta Lane and Will Currie & The Country French, and I’d like to see either of them. Instead, we got Dearly Beloved. I think I’ve read about them on the internet. I dunno, they liked swearing? Not in an angry way. They reminded me of that day in Grade 3 when we all decided that we were going to take up swearing and not tattle on each other, so we all said “fuck” 10 times a sentence because we could and it was fun. Their songs had lots of “fucks” for seemingly no reason other than “we’re swearing! In front of people!” This was the kind of band where, had I been 21, I would have bought their CD, taken it home with good intentions, and never listened to it. I’ve still got some of those CDs in a box in the basement. Instead, I listened to them, thought “well, that happened,” and waited for Sloan.
This is the year of anniversary tours, I guess. I’ve seen four shows this year and this is the third where the band is touring to celebrate a milestone. Sloan is 20, or XX as their big banner said (XX also = “The Double Cross”), and the ads promised “hits and fan favourites from the first 10 albums.” If those are the two choices, I’d have to say they leaned heavily towards the fan favourites for most of the show. Lots of deep cuts (does anyone apart from radio d-bags actually say “deep cuts?”) from years past and very few singles, which probably wasn’t all that welcoming for the less familiar fans. Even for me, there was a point where I wound up thinking “okay, play one song that I’ve heard before, I’m begging you.” But maybe I’m just bitter because I’m three shows in and still haven’t heard Underwhelmed.
It was a fast-paced show, moving quickly from song to song. It was paced like the new album - no surprise since they also played most of the new album - we weren’t there overly late and they didn’t play too long, but it felt like they played a lot of songs. And I always complain about the sound quality at these shows, so I should point out that I actually liked the sound here. I miss the dank of the old Louis’ - the new one is too angular and modern and cold - but at least they figured out how to make it sound good.
The drive back was uneventful (though it felt really long). The cat was grumpy when we got home and, in a surely unrelated note, Mika’s toothbrush was in the back entrance. I was expecting worse.
After being together for almost 40 years, it's probably time. At least until the money calls again. They were America's answer to the Stones in the 1970s and made some truly great rock but have evolved into an oldies act this decade.