Sloan: Still flashing that electric smile

Presented by I Love Neon

It was my first time seeing Sloan in concert at the Fairmount Theatre on October 5th, 2016, and what a show it was: loud, heavy, exciting, nostalgic. I felt so many emotions at once. This year marked Sloan's 20th Anniversary tour. In their first set, Sloan played their entire One Chord to Another album. The first song on that album, "The Good In Everyone", was in fact the first song I ever heard from Sloan when I was a teenager in high school (15 years ago – holy guacamole!). How incredibly fitting. It's a great song with a catchy hook and heavy guitar distortion and, for lack of a better word, a fistful of angst. Perfect for a somewhat "rebellious" teenager growing up in the late 1990's/early 2000's (I'd like to believe that I was rebellious but actually I was just a nerd who liked rock and roll music and who tried very hard to fit in at school – so there, the truth is out there and it shall set me free!). I, along with many other Canadians, are not wrong to deem Sloan as our Canadian version of The Beatles (for the grungy era of the 1990's, that is). With witty song lyrics and catchy guitar riffs, Sloan is a pop/rock hit-making machine. What I enjoy about Sloan is that each of their songs are different. Some songs are heavier on the guitar distortion while others are much lighter with an acoustic sound. In the song "Everything You've Done Wrong", the acoustic guitars and horn section in the background give the song a much more upbeat feel. When they played this song, the crowd danced cheerfully in unified fashion.

Throughout the entire show, each band member would switch their instrument for another without interrupting the rhythm of the show. This is a true testament to how wonderfully talented each of the band members are (Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson, and Andrew Scott). Chris would alternate between guitar, bass, drums and vocals; Jay between guitar, bass and vocals; Andrew between drums, guitar, and vocals; Patrick between guitar and vocals - all without missing a single a beat. It was fascinating to watch. And when Chris and Jay flashed the crowd a smile (on numerous occasions, I might add), I saw genuine happiness in their faces. Even after 20 years, they still love what they do. And we still love listening to Sloan. When we heard the sirens go off at the beginning of the song "Money City Maniacs", the crowd went absolutely wild – cheers, screams, clapping – undeniably one of their best songs ever written and the best song to watch them play live.

But my absolute favourite song from Sloan is unquestionably "If It Feels Good Do It", which they decided to end the show with! As soon as that song began to play, the whole crowd began simultaneously jumping up and down and we didn't stop jumping until the song was over. It was the best way to wrap up the show: to promote the message of self-expression and being who you are (and loving rock and roll, of course!). I can't end this review without outlining the fact that Sloan is a fiercely Canadian band, born and bred in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and that they really are one of our great National treasures. And just as they sing in the song "The Rest Of My Life", I have no doubt that they'll be living the rest of their lives in Canada and will continue touring in Canada for years to come!