The air of anticipation was thick, as the crowd grew within the walls of the intimate ballroom. Gearing everyone up for what was to come, the Belgian duo Black Box Revelation provided the energy needed to kick-start what was to be a stellar night. Soon after, the quiet buzz led to cheering wails, as The Sheepdogs took the stage.
Opening with “How Late, How Long,” the band set the tone for the night, for what became a late night, long set sure to please fans and critics alike. They moved right along to some more tunes off the new self-titled album with “I Need Help,” a catchy melody bound to be among new fan favorites. Also included in the set were hits from the album such as “Feeling Good” and “Alright OK.”
The Sheepdogs played anything and everything from new to old, a solid two hours of jam-filled classic blues rock. Ewan engaged the crowd, his remarks showing he was thankful to be headlining a main stage in the big apple. The Sheepdogs were received with open arms and ears by all in attendance, something not hard to come by when you bring it like the Allmans in terms of stamina and energy, not to mention the music kicks ass.
The crowd was rightfully mixed, stemming generations young and old. The classics never die, and these Canadians bring us back to a 70s mentality, even though we weren’t all there back in the day. It’s rare to find music today where such a scene occurs. And maybe you don’t want your dad tagging along to your shows, but at least it’ll keep the dinner table interesting, right?
When the set was all said and done, The Sheepdogs left the stage for the traditional break before encore. Upon return, the band stormed the stage with rejuvenated energy, as if the night had started anew. And they weren’t stopping there. Going on to play for close to another hour of high-octane tracks, the night was far from over. Matching the vigor of the band, the crowd seemed to keep up just fine, grooving along to each riff.
The Sheepdogs closed the show with a tribute to the late great Levon Helm, with “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” This homage seems to be the trend with the more folksy artists in recent months, something to say about these class acts. The song suited the band in its genre, and so it blended seamlessly from the prior song. Needless to say, this dismantled an already torn-off roof. The shivers down every spine aren’t going anywhere for a while. The aftershock will ring in our ears long after the band has left town. Rock on you groovy Saskatonians.
- Don Tice