Saturday, May 11th 2002
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Are there any Sloan fans in the audience? There are? Then shout it with me:
Let me tell you folks a little story about three musical pilgrims and their encounter with Canada’s best band.
The idea was formed in the minds of Mr. James Peters (that’s me) and Mr. Jeff Sandelli, my esteemed colleague. As I was looking at the band’s latest tour dates on the website earlier this spring, I saw that their closest foray toward Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario would be a Sunday evening show at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis on May 12.
“Wanna go see Sloan in Minneapolis on May 12?” I asked Jeff half-jokingly. His exuberantly positive response caught me a bit off guard. Nonetheless, we both filed the idea away in the deep recesses of our minds and continued to prepare for exams.
As the weeks passed, we began to take the opportunity more seriously. After all, it was a great opportunity to both see our favourite band and go on a road trip at the same time.
By the time the much-anticipated weekend arrived, we had acquired a “third wheel” on our road trip, whom we were very happy to have join us. Ms. Loretta Friesen is a good friend of mine, and had become acquainted with Jeff earlier. Although not a Sloan fan, she vowed to study up on them by reading their chapter in “Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance,” a book I would recommend to any Canadian music fan.
Bringing Loretta along would prove to be no mean feat. Loretta was 20 years old, just over month short of her 21st birthday, so she would technically not be able to enter the venue to see the band.
“Whatever shall we do?” I thought to myself, imagining a voice much like Anne of Green Gables speaking in my mind.
Jeff came up big with a solution: “Why don’t you send (manager) Mike Nelson an e-mail? He’s a good guy; maybe he could pull some strings.”
I followed the suggestion, and what do you know, Mike was able to get Loretta on the band’s guest list. Mike assured us that there wouldn’t be much of a chance of the bouncer carding someone on the guest list. What a guy.
When we got to the show, we were a little dismayed to find that the bouncer indeed still wanted to card Loretta despite her being on the guest list. Our dismay was allayed as he read her driver’s license and then let her through anyway. Maybe it was because she was on the guest list. Or maybe he was just plain stupid.
Sloan was incredible. This was my fifth time seeing them (Twice at Le Rendezvous in Winnipeg, once at the Walker Theatre in Winnipeg, once at DV8 in Ottawa and now the dingy 400 Bar in Minny). Jeff as well has seen the band on multiple occasions. They were really tight and didn’t seem to mind a relatively quiet audience. Highlights from the show itself include Chris Murphy making fun of a guy who shouted out “You wore that shirt last night!” Another audience interaction story: During an awkward between-song silence, some guy yelled at Patrick Pentland, “You rock, Patrick!” He didn’t miss a beat, responding with, “Way to talk, dude.”
The most shocking event occurred after the show. The place cleared out like it was a fire drill. I couldn’t believe it; almost no one stuck around. Of course, we were not so quick to abandon the venue.
Our patience was rewarded soon afterward, as Chris Murphy sauntered out from the backstage area. He made for the back of the room, but Jeff got caught up in the excitement. “Hey Chris,” he called. Murphy turned and headed back in our direction. When he arrived, he began to chat with Jeff about the show.
I turned around to see that Patrick Pentland was behind me. I reached him at the same time as another fan, the “Obligatory Pink Pants-Wearing Drunk Dancing Woman,” whom we dubbed “Pink Pants” for obvious reasons.
She got in the first words: “Hey Patrick, you have to go get Chris out of the back for me. I HAVE to talk to him.”
Pentland’s response was perfectly patronizing. “But he’s right over there,” he said, pointing to Murphy, who was in fact two steps away and directly in her line of vision.
“Oh,” she exclaimed as she scampered to Murphy’s side.
After that, it was like a Sloan free-for-all for the three of us Canadian travellers. We chatted with each member individually for at least 10 minutes each. Golden nuggets include Andrew Scott’s (ahem) mellowed-out state of existence as he spoke to us, and Jay Ferguson joking that a small second hand music store was the only good thing he remembered about Winnipeg.
All members of the band were impressed that we would drive the seven hours from Manitoba to see them in a small bar in Minneapolis. They were possibly a little disturbed when they heard that we were driving back that very same night and not staying at a hotel or something. Murphy left us with some timely advice, “Don’t try to be a hero.” We didn’t, and we made it back to Canada in one piece.
If the members of Sloan were reading this article, they might think that I am a typical gawking nerd fan. I would dispute that. I am a self-aware, creative human being. I am simply grateful that a band of Sloan’s magnitude would make time to relate to their fans on a level beyond “Hello” and signing autographs.
Way to go, boys.
It's 2004 now and this was still the best rock and roll performance I've ever laid ears and eyes on. We were amazed.
Thanks for the Mother's Day dedication. It meant a lot. Love- Sherri
This was the first ever Sloan show for me. Had a friend in Minneapolis who, back in the early 1990's had a Sloan CD which I liked...Anyway, I was hemming & hawing; 'Should I go?'...(I didn't have any idea it would be so great, since I hadn't listened to them much)...Holy moly!! What an incredible show these guys put on!!! They're solid sound and music had me in awe from the get-go. 'If It Fells Good Do It' was an amazing way for me to be re-introduced to this incredible band! (I have pics of the show but don't know where to send them.) What a bunch of nice guys too. To be able to strike up a conversation with them after the show is refreshing. I'm looking forward to seeing them again, but they don't come around these parts too often.
Caught your show at Club 3 Degrees Saturday YOU ROCK ! I was very impressed with the club and the band, and eipecsally your heartfelt music. Your passion could be seen & felt throughout the performance. In fact, a woman unknown to me asked where your band was from because she would like to see your band rock again. I would like to see Brittani's talents showcased a bit more but I am her aunt, so I may be just a little biased. = )~Thanks for a great show!Kelly & Mike
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