Live Rock and Roll Reviews & Suggestions

From a Rolling Stone cover to a gold album, can The Sheepdogs keep it up?

I can’t say I remember the last time I saw a handful of fans begging to get into a sold out show in a medium-sized Montreal venue. Nor can I remember a time when I saw fans willing to pay anyone to get into said show. But, apparently, there is a first time for everything and this is exactly the scene that awaited me when Saskatoon, Saskatchewan’s The Sheepdogs rolled into town.

Yes, the same Sheepdogs who graced the August 18 cover of Rolling Stone after beating out 15 other bands in the magazine’s Choose the Cover competition, making them the first unsigned act to accomplish such a feat.

Having seen them only a little while back when they opened for Kings of Leon in the city’s largest venue, the Bell Centre, I was curious to see what The Sheepdogs would be like in a more intimate setting.

From the first song, it was evident that this is one rock band that performs better in a small, sweaty, overcrowded venue. Right in their element, The Sheepdogs, who actually released their first album back in 2006, were right on point. Musically tight and with a voice that makes you think ‘Oh, baby!’ they managed to quickly win over the crowd and even have them cheering for an encore at the end.

It was interesting to pick out individuals in the crowd who were there solely to see what all the fuss was about. ‘If Rolling Stone put them on the cover, they must be good’… and they are. The only question is if they’ll be able to keep up their momentum.

It would be great to see The Sheepdogs go on to have a successful career spanning years – we definitely need more Canadian talent making it big – but in this fickle industry, who knows?

If I were to pinpoint one issue, and this is something I noticed in both their arena gig opening up for KOL and this particular show from their headlining tour, it’s that The Sheepdogs need to figure out a way in which to ensure monotony doesn’t seep in to their set. A group of core songs, which stood out as interesting and uniquely Sheepdogs, was surrounded by others that just sounded too similar and, with minimal on-stage banter, the tunes began to almost blend into one another. Rather than continuously building up, up, up throughout the hour and leaving the audience wanting more, the mix of hits and older, less stellar tracks had the energy level swaying like the stock market.

With that said, the band’s latest release, Learn & Burn, was certified Gold in Canada on November 24, so if The Sheepdogs keep relentlessly building on their momentum and newly found fame and respect, they may just be around for a while.

For everything Sheepdogs visit: