Published Sep 19, 2015Framed by Toronto's perpetually under-construction Gardiner Expressway, The Sadies took to the South Stage at TURF as men on a mission. The band, formed in 1994 by the brothers Good, were given an hour to strut their stuff, and they certainly made the most of the little time they were given, competing against impending rain and the appeal of adjacent stage headliners Of Monsters and Men.
After ripping through "First Five Minutes" from 2013's Internal Sounds, Dallas Good, wearing a blazer with a large red devil on the back, addressed the crowd saying: "I'm gonna try to play as many songs and speak as little as possible." The man in the devil coat (standing next to a wooden cut-out of Satan himself) jumped into "So Much Blood," intertwining low register solos with his brother Travis. The two were remarkably fluid given the complexity of the dual riffs and solos, at one point even going so far as to provide the fingers for the other's guitar neck while simultaneously picking their own respective axes.
In the extraordinarily diverse set, The Sadies sifted through roots genres as effortlessly as a veteran group should. On "Tell Her What I Said" from 2010's Darker Circles, members Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky kept relaxed time while Dallas Good crooned, "I've seen all seven devils and I'm not afraid" in an uplifting blues progression. Moving on to an instrumental bluegrass medley, Travis Good nearly ripped the strings off his guitar with his furious picking, then exchanged his guitar for a fiddle on a cover of The Louvin Brothers' hoedown "There's A Higher Power" that got the crowd bouncing.
Unfortunately, the lure of the other stages was powerful, and some left the quaintness of the South Stage for pastures of broader appeal. Those that stayed, though, witnessed the Good brothers put on a guitar clinic to round out the show, even sneaking in a cover of Blue Rodeo's "Palace of Gold". The group played for so long that the crew began dissembling their gear before the band finally decided to finish; just another day for one of the most technically savvy outfits in the business.