The Sadies Live @ Arts at the Armory, Somerville MA, 04-03-24

The Sadies Live @ Arts at the Armory, Somerville MA, 04-03-24

Thursday, 04 April 2024

I was excited to see the Sadies for many reasons, but mostly because of the opportunities it brought. First of all, it’s exciting to see a band you’re a fan of that you’ve never seen before. Then, I remembered I HAD seen them before. In 2007 in Madrid opening and then backing up Jon Spencer. Of course they made an impression because I’ve been a fan ever since. Another opportunity is to see a band who, mysteriously, released their best album this late in their career. Then, there was the fact that this show was at the Armory in Somerville. I had never been there and always wanted to check it out. I had heard good things, mostly that it’s a very quaint and personal space, ideal for experiencing live music. Finally, there was the elephant in the room, which is that the Sadies were continuing in spite of the death of one of their leads Dallas Good. Listening to their albums, he brought a formidable layer to the songs, both as second guitar and vocal harmonies. How would the Sadies sound in this context? Like I said, it was all about opportunity.

It’s April in Boston, but you wouldn’t know it from the weather on this particular evening. It’s cold, and it’s rainy and windy, and by the time I get on my bike to commute to the venue, it has started to hail. The ice hitting my face, what’s exposed from my rain suit, feels like it’s being shot at with needles. I was dedicated to go, but would anyone else show up?

As I enter the Armory I take in the place. It looks like the inside of a barn, with unfinished hardwood floors, but a top-notch AV system. Great. I already have a good feeling about this. By the time the Saies go on, I count about a hundred people. This is a phenomenal turnout, especially on a weeknight like this.

To say the Sadies, in this current iteration, put on an impressive show is probably an understatement. What makes it all work, of course, is that we’re talking about professional lifers who have been doing this for decades. This was more than just a show. There was no doubt in my mind that singer/guitarist Travis Good has the chops and the expertise to deliver both on vocals and on guitar. His guitar playing is complicated and impressive to behold. Surprisingly, all the old songs came to me when I heard them live. Of course, there was a lot of material from their latest greatest Colder Streams, but I could recognize songs from Darker Circles, Northern Passages, New Seasons, and even Tales of the Rat Fink. Sean Dean has a gentle approach to the upright bass and Mike Belitsky plays the drums with versatility and ease. It just seemed like I was watching masters of their craft up on stage.

The Sadies are still on tour and will continue to be on tour forever, probably. There might be a layer missing from the band’s performance from now on, but it’s interesting to experience them at this new chapter in their career. Catch them if you can, and don’t worry about the rain, ice, or snow.

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