The last time I saw Toronto's rocking four-piece The Sadies was on a hot August night in 2011. George's Roadhouse, the greasy truck-stop diner on the edge of Sackville, New Brunswick, was so excitedly packed for the band's Sappyfest show that people were squeezed out the front door and dancing on the lawn.
"It was super-hot. It was like the black hole of Calcutta," jokes drummer Mike Belitsky. "We were late for the show, too, and we're driving down this road out of town, and it didn't look like there was a club anywhere, and we just kept going and going, and we started to worry that we were going to end up in some hobo village and get rolled for all our gear," he says, laughing. But, as usual, The Sadies made it.
On Saturday, The Sadies will be making it to Halifax to play the Marquee Ballroom and celebrate the recent release of Gord Downie, The Sadies and The Conquering Sun with The Tragically Hip's big dog. They'll also be back in in September with Downie in person, adding him to the large roster of artists with whom they collaborate.
"It was a fantastic time," Belitsky says of producing the album, following up 2013's Internal Sounds. In the past 20 years, The Sadies have worked with musicians from Blue Rodeo to Neko Case, developing their folk-country aesthetic into something distinctly theirs: "It's always a rewarding and fun process. We want to challenge ourselves without alienating people and make records that we like.
"We know there's going to be different characteristics, sound and influences that we all bring but it always sounds cohesive and that's because we're The Sadies," says Belitsky. "I don't even think about us as a country band anymore. We're always getting better and we always like the end results. That's the goal."
An Evening with The Sadies
Saturday, May 31 at 9pm-2am, $20/$25
Marquee Ballroom, 2037 Gottingen Street