The Sadies prove they aren’t broken at Knuckleheads
with Julianna Riolino
Sunday, April 30
While the crowd inside Knuckleheads on Sunday couldn’t have been more than 100 people, it might count as the most respectful and appreciative crowd I’ve seen in nearly three decades of attending shows. After each song from Toronto’s The Sadies, cheers and clapping were robust, and during even the quietest tunes, the chatter was kept to an absolute minimum. Call it quality over quantity.
Just a little over a year ago, The Sadies lost founding member Dallas Good after the band finished recording their most recent album, Colder Streams. Given Good’s on-stage presence and powerful voice, it was unclear what would happen. Still, the band continued as a trio, with guitarist Travis Good (Dallas’ brother taking on additional vocal duties) alongside drummer Mike Belitsky and bassist Sean Dean.
The result is a Sadies show that definitely throws in a few more instrumental numbers, like “Cheat” or “Uncle Larry’s Breakdown,” allowing Travis Good’s guitar playing to take over where his voice can’t. The stage set features a banner of Dallas draped behind Belitsky’s kit, and there’s an empty mic at stage left, making his memory present even though he is not.
That mic would see action in the latter half of the Sadies’ set when opener Julianna Riolino joined the band for several songs, including a poignant cover of the Carol King (by way of the Byrds) song, “Wasn’t Born to Follow.” With a set that lasted nearly an hour and a half and spanned well over 25 songs, The Sadies demonstrated that while they might be battered and bruised, they are not broken, playing with verve and energy.
Opener Riolino’s set featured songs from her release All Blue, which came out last year. With the energy level and swagger of Nikki Lane or Kacey Chambers, her energetic half-hour set walked the line between garage rock and honky tonk, and the vocal delivery of songs like “Queen of Spades” and “You” led to a vinyl copy of her LP making the trek home with us.