I was sad to miss the Sadies when they were in Chicago recently for a couple of shows… and then relieved to see them added to the schedule at Schubas. Their last record, New Seasons, was my favorite of 2007, and I’ve been eager to see them do some of those new songs in concert ever since hearing it. I think that the show on Friday (June 20) was about the 12th or 13th time I’ve seen the Sadies, if you count the various shows where they’ve backed up other musicians. As is so often the case, the always-generous Sadies turned over the mike Friday night to some of the guest singers they’ve worked with over the years. I’d never seen them with Andre Williams, so it was a treat to catch them doing a few songs with this old-school soul singer. The appearances by Jon Langford and Sally Timms were no surprise, of course.
Despite all those guest singers, it was the Sadies’ night, and they played a nice long set crammed with lots of terrific tunes that just got better as the night went on. Dallas Good’s laconic vocals were great (and his song introductions were as droll as ever), and his brother Travis made caveman faces all night long as he sang and whipped out some of the most amazing fretwork you’ll ever see or hear. The rhythm section was in fine form, too, with Sean Dean attacking the strings of his upright bass and Mike Belitsky pounding away with ferocity on the drums. For the last two songs of the encore, the Sadies played a rampaging version of the Love classic “A House is Not a Hotel” followed by “Leaving Here,” an old Eddie Holland song previously covered by Motorhead.
The opening act, Joe Pug, was a pretty decent folk-rock singer. I liked his very Dylanesque solo acoustic songs, which had some good imagery in the lyrics.