As Good As It Gets

Last Updated on February 7, 2006

The Sadies-fest – Lee’s Palace – February 5, 2006, Toronto, Ontario

The Sadies’ Travis and Dallas Good were born in a musical family. Their father Bruce, is one-third of the legendary bluegrass outfit The Good Brothers who back in the early 70s where known as James and The Good Brothers. Their first show was at the old Maple Leaf Gardens here in Toronto with Grand Funk Railroad. They would go on and play gigs at San Francisco’s famed Fillmore West, L.A.’s Troubadour and shows in Northern California with the likes of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service. The Good Brothers would return to Toronto with James staying behind. Bruce and Brian would then recruit younger brother Larry and simply be known as the Good Brothers.

Well the whole family was on stage at Lee’s Palace last night on this 2nd of two sold out shows. Like their father and two uncles, Travis and Dallas’ Sadies music embraces country, bluegrass and folk, but it’s their trademarked spaghetti-western instrumentals, in addition to full-throttle rock ’n’ roll that makes them so unique.

Both Friday and Saturday night’s shows were being recorded for a live album that should be out along with a DVD by the end of the year. The band also recorded the instrumental soundtrack to “Tales of the Rat Fink”, the Ron Mann biopic about custom hot-rod maker Ed “Big Daddy” Roth which will premiere in March at the SXSW music festival in Austin.

The Sadies started the night playing a full hour set with songs such as “1000 Cities Falling (Part 1)”, “Rat Creek” which was excellent, “Song Of The Chief Musician (Part 2)”, “16 Mile Creek Breakdown”, a song about the band breaking down while going to a show in Waterloo and “Lay Down Your Arms” just to name a few. Dallas would then introduce his parent, Bruce and Margaret and two uncles. The group would then go into a Johnny Cash-styled, rockabilly gospel shouter, “Higher Power”, a staple at all of their shows when their parents are present.

Garth Hudson of the Band was brought on stage for “Ridge Runner Rell”/”Ridge Runner Rag” and “Dying Is Easy” before a 30 minute break.

Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray from Heavy Trash opened the second set with the Sadies. This rockabilly duo really rocked the house with Jon’s hiccupping and howling like some singing preacher and moving all over the place like Elvis Presley. They played four songs including “Justine Alright” and on the last song, were joined by two members of The Deadly Snakes.

The comedic and excellent Jon Langford, best known as a founding member of the Mekons, started with “American Pageant” which was followed by “Strange Birds”. He finished his set with “National Radio”. He’s a funny man between songs and he put on a hell of a show.

The beautiful Neko Case was next, and she along with Kelly Hogan and Garth Hudson went into The Band’s dynamite “Evangeline” and continuing into a Roger Miller song and then a song co-written with The Sadies.

Gary Louris of the Jayhawks followed with “Tailspin” with Bob Egan, ex-Wilco and present member of Blue Rodeo on pedal steel. Included in the set was Pink Floyd’s “Lucifer Sam”.

Blue Rodeo was next to come on stage, playing “You’re Everywhere” and “Palace of Gold”. Travis Good then joked about the band running out of tape and that they were using the “Five Days in July” masters. Margaret Good came out again and with Jim Cuddy on lead vocals; they sang “Within a Stone”.

The night was truly an artists carousel with musicians coming and going throughout the night. The night would continue with an eight song encore ending at 2:15 a.m.

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