Review by Michelle McChristie, Photos by Darren McChristie

It takes a dedicated music fan to head downtown on a Monday night, but when The Sadies are on the bill, it’s pretty irresistible. 

With local support from Cartwrights, The Sadies treated fans to an exceptional performance
on July 24. The trio are veterans of the Canadian indie country-rock scene—they’ve opened for Neil Young and played with Kurt Vile at last summer’s Winnipeg FolK Festival. They are the real deal.

In February 2022, the band suddenly and tragically lost their frontman Dallas Good. His brother, Travis, said every show they play is dedicated to his memory, “we used to be four, but now we are three,” he said. Their set list at Black Pirates Pub included a mix of songs from their latest—and 11th—album, Colder Streams, and some classics, like “Anna Leigh.” They barely took time to catch their breath between each compact song and the audience stood transfixed, anxiously anticipating each opening riff and Good’s lightning fast guitar picking. 

Every song sounded better than the last with Green’s warm baritone vocals and outlaw country-surf-punk guitar, backed by Sean Dean on stand-up bass (looking dapper in pink pants and a lavender jacket), and the understated Mike Belitsky on drums. 

“You’re a great audience,” Green said repeatedly. The pub wasn’t exactly packed, but the crowd flooded the dance floor and it was clear they knew the band. For at least one group of women, this was a blessing is disguise because they had plenty of room to do-si-do. And, I for one, have the utmost respect for a band who plays to a small audience with the same gusto they would for a sold-out stadium. 

The Sadies are road warriors and their 2023 tour includes stops in the US and Europe. Here’s hoping Frank Loffredo butters them up for another gig and an excuse to head downtown on a weeknight.