Today is Kelowna’s 100th Birthday and walking home from downtown I picked up Sloan new Greatest Hits CD – “A Sides Wins: Singles 1992 – 2005”. It’s amazing how consistently good their singles have been over the last 13 years. The singles have been very diverse, when you listen to all 16 of them compiled on this CD. Sloan’s 4 songwriters have always contributed to the albums and thankfully the band didn’t break up in 1995, which was close to happening. Like many people who started University in ’93-’94, I would always hear Sloan playing in the dorm rooms. Especially their 1994 album “Twice Removed”, which was voted the number 1 Canadian album of all-time by Chart Magazine. The band is still a great band, but too many people have negative opinions about them and think that they are jerks in concerts. The band definitely seems to have a love-hate relationship with their audiences. If you start moshing at one of their shows, you can be sure the band will get pissed off and they won’t be very personable to the audience for the rest of the show. Same could be said if you scream for “Underwhelmed” while they’re playing one of their new songs. The band toured a lot in the early days and that meant lots of shows on college campuses. Drunk students could often ruin an evening for any real fan. The band often got lumped together on festival tours too. I saw them at Edenfest on July 14th, 1996 in Toronto and they played before Bush x. Someone broke their neck in the mosh pit and they were taken away on a stretcher. At the Sloan show in Kelowna at Flashback’s on Nov. 8th, 2001, the band played a great show, but power problems and the fact they were playing a “dance” bar that caters to the 35+ crowd, meant the band wasn’t in the best mood. The band is skipping Kelowna in their latest tour, they skipped Kelowna on their last tour too (choosing to play the Barking Parrot in Penticton). They did play the Waterfront Stage at Wakefest on July 12th, 2003, but I was at a Phish show. I saw them at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver on October 20th, 2002 and their 45 minute set was just as good as the Strokes 75 minute headlining set.
The band may have accepted that they are playing bars and smaller venues across the country, but with consistently good albums being released every 18 months, that’s not a bad thing. Check out the CD and the bonus DVD which has 14 music videos, 14 TV and live appearances, a documentary and alternate versions of Underwhelmed, People of the Sky and others.