The Canadian quartet, now in their 25th year, brought their high octane brand of turbo twang to Ireland for a series of dates as part of their current European tour. This was their second time to play at the Kilkenny Roots Festival since their initial visit in 2007. Mike Belitsky, Sean Dean, Dallas Good and Travis Good delivered a set which, by my count, featured some 24 songs in an hour! At this stage in their career they seem to have a telepathic group ability musically. One song ran straight into the next in a seamless soundtrack of intertwined twin guitars and solid core rhythm. The brothers wore their customary Nudie-inspired suits which were as sharp as their playing.
Dallas played a Telecaster and Travis a Gretsch. Two vital components of their overall sound. Travis switched to fiddle on a couple of occasions such as their full throttle take on the traditional song Pretty Polly. It was a fast and furious set that alternated their surf/desert instrumentals and their own song writing that showcased the brothers strong and compelling harmony singing. The group through rarely took their foot off the gas which was perhaps the best way to deliver a show to a partisan and perhaps lubricated audience. It was one however that lacked some of the diversity and subtlety of their recorded work. But, as noted, that hardly mattered in the context of an evening that was fun on all fronts for the majority of the packed audience.
There were no introductions to the songs or a visible set list on stage so it was not that easy to always identify the titles but they played songs from various stages of their many albums which included such songs as Cheat, Anna Leigh, Uncle Larry’s Breakdown as well as songs form the last album Northern Passages (2017). However titles hardly mattered in this display of skilled psychedelic/rockabilly/surf/country/fevered folk. After an hour they left the stage but the thunderous applause brought them back and our host Dallas announced they would play an 8 song encore - which they duly did before finally leaving the stage and the audience sated and with the hope that it won’t be as long before The Sadies again return to our shores to entice us with their unique musical vision and visual presence.
Review by Stephen Rapid Photography by Kaethe Burt O’Dea