The Sadies play the Arden Theatre
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 06:00 am
Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $35. Call 780-459-1542 or purchase online at www.ticketmaster.ca
You don’t have to be a Madonna marketing style guru with an overdose of chutzpah to stay in the forefront of fandom.
In fact, for the Sadies, authenticity and contemplation instead of sartorial excess, provocative dancing and overblown videos, are symbols of their commercial success.
Internal Sounds, the Toronto-based indie band’s latest album was released Sept. 17, and the foursome is on a 25-day tour on both sides of the 49th parallel. They drop by the Arden Theatre tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The foursome has honed a signature stamp pushing a blend of country, rock, psychedelic and surf. Together since 1994, they’ve progressed through a total of 17 albums and collaborative efforts.
Internal Sounds veers away from their standard production approach of relying on an external producer and fifth ear. This time around singer-songwriter-guitarist Dallas Good took control of production.
“It was our first self-produced album and it was a successful experiment,” says drummer Mike Belitsky who shares songwriting duties with bandmates Travis Good and Sean Dean. (The Good brothers are sons of Canadian country music icon Bruce Good and nephews of Brian and Larry Good, members of The Good Brothers.)
Belitsky explains that the idea of using an external producer “was born out of a tradition of not being too self-indulgent. We’re all musicians. We all have egos, even the guy sitting at the back playing drums. It can be hard when you’re making a musical product.”
With Good directing the production for about a year, time was on their side. Refusing to be pressured by deadlines, the Sadies took time to craft an album that blended twangy country and fiery rock into a “just right” sound.
“There was no feeling we had to be content with what we had. We didn’t feel compromised in any way and had more time to tweak the music. There’s more depth, more reflection, more time that went into it.”
So Much Blood, a dark, sing-along ballad is an achievement for Travis Good, a songwriter more comfortable wearing the hat of guitarist than poet.
Belitsky also collaborated with Travis on Story 19, a tale of a difficult reconciliation. And then there’s Another Yesterday Again, a song inspired by a photo of a rally where a peace protester puts a flower inside a soldier’s gun.
The last song on the album, We Are Circling, is a Buffy Sainte-Marie collaboration and a perfect closer. The band laid the tracks at a live recording and sent them via cyber-post to her residence in Hawaii.
“She has this incredible voice and is super talented as a musician. Her presence is unparalleled. I couldn’t believe the power of her personality when I met her. She radiates confidence, poise and beauty.”
No strangers to collaborations, the Sadies have worked with a roster of who’s who from Neko Case and Andre Williams to Randy Bachman and Neil Young.
But much of their staying power over the past two decades is due to correcting little mistakes along the way. As Belitsky says, “It fuels the engine to reach the top of the mountain.”
Where on the mountain do the Sadies sit, I ask?
“How do you judge? By the awards we get? By the records we sell? It’s a hard question to answer. As a band we’re self-sufficient and we have a dedicated fan base. It’s also about competition – not with other bands, but with yourself,” he replies.
This is the band’s debut at the Arden Theatre and they are slated to play two sets from their vast catalogue of music.