Jessie Sykes - Jessie Sykes is a woman with a guitar surrounded by bass, drums and electric guitar. It looks like Americana-Indie rock to me. And proof yet again, that I need to wait for a few notes before trying to guess the sound. Instead, they have a nice little psychedelic jam to open things. They are loud and tight, though giving everyone room to breath and establish each instrument's sound in the mix. It starts off in San Francisco psyche-land like something from Great Society but weaves the tunes into fascinating patterns like psyche-folkers Mellow Candle (mostly like the instrumental part in "Sheep Season" which is perhaps my favorite instrumental passage anywhere). There's a Bardo Pond feeling in the vocals and there are songs that manage the volume and intricacy of that band, too. But right after a powerful song, they drop it down many notches to play something folkier, but dark. The vocals are deep and down in the manner of a Bridget St. John. There is so much going on and so many things I hear, ultimately their set comes together as a superb journey through slow-fast, loud-quiet, rock-folk, with a deep psychedelic vibe throughout. Great music tonight with immaculate sound. They played as a co-headliner for 1:06 and held my attention through every note. The fairly large crowd dug it as well. Jessie Sykes and the band, the Sweet Hereafter, are from Seattle and have not played here in 5-6 years. I hope he next gap is significantly shorter. Now it is time to sample the record I bought from them. I have a feeling I will be digging deep into their back catalog as well.
The Sadies - Thanks to my job reviewing CDs for Folkworld, I got a chance to rave about this Toronto band's last CD after ignoring them for a dozen years. Many have seen them backing Neko Case rather than in their own band, and have missed the real fun. The two guitars are phasing and blazing as they rip through an Ennio Morricone western-style instrumental to get things underway. They next go into dual singing (with a Ride like sound) while keeping the guitars blazing. The bass is stand-up and along with the drums pretty much lays down on a non-flashy foundation. They add some surf sounds as well as fast Meat Puppets styled western music. A violin comes out for a brilliant honkytonk stomper where if other country music artists could aspire to this, I could be converted. But that's the beauty of this band. They also had classic blues rock and lighter songs in the set and it all came out with their signature sound and style. They were every bit as good as I expected and then some. And although my raving over Toronto bands may be getting a little old, I will put these guys near the top of that powerful list. There is just too much fun to have and great loud and fast guitars that can carry a killer melody. Time stands still during sets like this, although my cliches keep coming. No matter, do check this band out next time around.
Quote of the Night - From the Sadies (and eerily reminiscent of last night)... "We've played 20 shows... or a week's shows or whatever with Jessie Sykes and they have been great to be around. A real pleasure to be with them, a source of comic relief especially when they fight. So this song goes out to them (applause) ...except for that bass player--I never liked him (ooohs)"