Sloan is a band closing in on three decades of being together. In that time they’ve released 12 albums, flirted with stardom, and despite missing the industry-approved brass ring of massive mainstream success (at least in the U.S), have never released a bad record.
Sloan is quartet of musicians that share songwriting duties yet often switch instruments onstage so each member can front their own primary compositions. I won’t say they are a team completely free of individual egos—have you ever tried being around the same small, insular, insanely creative group of people for 27 years?—but they are first and foremost a band of brothers. They are musicians to the core that long ago mastered some sort of private language that allowed them to consistently turn out music that would shake the rafters of the biggest stadium, and grants them the power to project that musical force no matter whether they play to 100 or 10,000 people.
At the outset, the band signed to Geffen and were promoted as a grunge group, despite their sound being much more tied to shoegaze and power-pop, which caused a marketing disconnect in the early ‘90s. But fans found them, and followed Sloan as their sound flirted with ‘60s guitar pop and then ‘70s stadium rock, before landing in a familiar yet innovative style that was completely their own. Imagine if all your favorite rock bands who were deeply rooted in melody with a dash of experimentalism all came together to form a 386 person supergroup. If you can hold that mirage in your head long enough, you’ll have a good idea where the four men in Sloan finally rooted their sound.
Their latest album, 12, proves Sloan is in no danger of running out of steam any time soon. If you looked at my Last.fm song counts for 2018, the ridiculous number of times the songs from that album have been played would be embarrassing, if the band wasn’t just so fucking good. In an era where the death of rock and/or roll is often proclaimed, these four Canadians are proof that it’s not quite time to start chiseling any epitaphs on tombstones.
Sloan come to Chicago Saturday night to play two long sets at Bottom Lounge. That’s right: no openers. Just Sloan. Longtime fans are already hip to how amazing that night will be. To anyone not initiated yet? Now’s your chance to see one of the bands I can honestly say I have never seen perform a bad live set.
Get ready to get knocked out.