They Can Do It All
If ever there was a Canadian alt-country super group, the Sadies are it. And if ever there was an album to highlight their breadth and versatility, In Concert Vol. 1 is it. The sprawling 41-track two-disc album showcases everything the Sadies can do well â€šÃ„Ã¬ and the genre-bending tendencies that can be overwhelming to listen to. From their tight, twangy country renditions to their jam band-esque live performances and collaborations, the Sadies cover more ground on this album than many bands cover in their careers.Original Sadies’ compositions comprise the first disc, highlighting the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s instrumental abilities and the effortlessness with which the musicians play off each other. On the short opening number “Cheat,” Sean Deanâ€šÃ„Ã´s bass gives way to the different styles of Dallas and Travis Goodâ€šÃ„Ã´s guitar playing, while Mike Belitskyâ€šÃ„Ã´s percussion complements them with ease. Similar numbers such as â€šÃ„ÃºRat Creekâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and “Lay Down Your Arms” cover every genre from surf-rock to bluegrass. Vocal highlights include the deep voices and harmonies of “1,000 Cities Falling Apart” and the reverberative, feminine sound of “Eastern Winds.”
The second disc contains performances with various guests, including long-time Sadies collaborators Gary Louris, formerly of the Jayhawks, and Virginian chanteuse Neko Case. The energy the Sadies pick up from these partnerships is evident in the strong, raw sound that echoes from this disc. While the Sadies bring their instrumental vigor to each of the covered songs, the variety of performers makes it difficult to tie the twenty tracks together.
Together, both discs create a sonic whirlwind that leaves little room for contemplation. Though the Sadies may want to show off their passion for live shows, In Concert Vol. 1 drives more like a recently-pimped car on MTVâ€šÃ„Ã´s Pimp My Ride than a well-equipped Lexus: less can often be more.