Words by Brian Chenault
Disclaimer - I am a longtime Sloan fan.
It has been a little over a year and a half since Sloan’s last visit to the DC area in support of their Hit & Run EP. I was at that show, which also took place at Jammin Java, and I have to admit that while I was thrilled to see them in such an intimate setting, I was slightly disappointed, if not a little embarrassed at the turnout, which was low to say the least. I don’t know if realistically that’s the size of their draw in this area (really?) or if it was just some weird fluke, but as a result I was understandably a little trepid when I arrived at the club Monday evening. I’m not good at head counts, but I’d guess maybe 25% more people than last time showed up, and Chris Murphy, Sloan’s most-of-the-time-bassist, even commented on this near the end of the show, remarking“We’re building here!” Was it sarcasm or a genuine sentiment? Who knows. It doesn’t really matter though, because the difference in the size of their fan base in DC compared to say, Toronto, has never shown on the faces of the band members at any of the shows I have been to, and they always seem extremely humbled and thankful for the showing.
Now, on to the show.
Their performance was by far the best of the three I have seen, due in no small part to the set list. Comprised of a strong mix of fan favorites and live staples like “Losing California”, “Sinking Ships” and “Don’t You Believe A Word”, the band’s set was strong, diverse, and satisfying. Touching on pretty much every point in the band’s career, even the album Pretty Together was represented by the song “The Other Man” (I recall reading that Pretty Together is the band’s least favorite record). Obviously though, the band was there to promote their latest release, The Double Cross, and as such over half of the tracks from that record were interspersed throughout the set. You never know what to expect from new material from ANY band, but I can honestly say that nearly every one of the songs held up alongside the perennial favorites. In a nutshell, the evening was a total win for any Sloan fan, and might have created a few new fans in the process. My only beef, other than the fact that I selfishly would have loved another several-song encore, is that it was a bit loud for the size of the room. I could only enjoy the first few songs before having to stuff my ears, and I know wasn’t the only person in attendance who noticed this. That being said, they are a R-O-C-K band, so what do you expect?
Sloan - please don’t wait another year and a half to come back to DC.