The Sheepdogs - Echo Beach, Toronto - September 15, 2012
Review by Vickie Young
Photos by Greg Young
The Sheepdogs have been on a fast track to success, especially since achieving the holy grail of rock n’ roll by landing the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. In fairness, they deserve equal accolades in what each of those ballots stood for - a love for a band with a formulated strategy to keep it simple.
Headlining a triple bill act, including The Sadies and Yukon Blonde, the shaggy boys from Saskatoon hit a stroke of luck with Mother Nature. The skies cleared despite a drizzly day prior, and Echo Beach located at Molson Canadian Amphitheatre was packed. However, the sandal check in was underutilized as fans arrived bundled in true Canadian fashion to bid farewell to summer.
The 70’s throwback vibe of this quartet wears their inspirations not only in their bell-bottoms, but also on their sleeve. By the time song three “Southern Dreaming” was fed to the crowd, it was as if we’d just experienced The Allman Brothers, The Who, and CCR all at warp speed. As my first time catching this band I was floored at how incredible they sounded live. The Sheepdogs demonstrated a rare talent, making their radio-friendly harmonies sound as fresh and whimsical as the edited versions.
Fans poured on the love for “Who?" and “I Don’t Know”, and justifiably so. These guys are so incredibly tight it’s impossible to find a flaw. Not a moment was wasted on idle chit-chat; all the focus remained on shredding a strong Southern rooted set with a psychedelic hint. Well, actually there was one moment in which the band pointed out it was Ryan’s birthday (bass) and if any amorous ladies would like to show their titties, that would be okay.
The Dogs punched out 20 songs in their hour-plus set and concluded with their cover version of ‘The Band’s’ “The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down". One of the most enjoyable aspects of the evening was at no point did they overdue or oversell it. These boys play like a band that has dug from the trenches to make it on top and are reminding us why they’re here. A friend recently said to me, “You know you’ve seen a dynamic band when their songs remain in your head afterwards." I have definitely seen a dynamic band because they’ve been on repeat ever since.