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Sat 21st Oct 2023: The Sadies + The Hanging Stars @ Cluny2

Juan Fitzgerald

It was an emotional night for Jumpin Hot Club as Toronto Canada’s The Sadies, one of the Club’s favourite bookings returned as a three piece band after the sudden death, probably a year or so ago of leader Travis, brother Dallas Good, who stood beside him as two brother in arms guitarists in the quartet, right from its formation. In the set he was touchingly remembered in a background picture and a dedication from his brother that everything he was doing was for his memory. Indeed having seen the brothers bounce off each other on a couple of occasions the stage felt like a big space to fill. Travis Good led the trio in a blistering set with many tunes from the latest album “Colour Streams” that he worked on with his late brother. With his tall frame and his battered Gretsch & Guild guitar’s, head bent or nodding in deep appreciation he covered all sort of 1950/60’s styles & of course in cohorts, his exceptional drummer Mike Belitsky, and rock solid stand-up bass man Sean Dean both originals of The Sadies. The tunes verged from instrumentals owing much to Spaghetti Westerns, Surf music and Psychedelia as much as anything , his fingers running up and down the fretboard as drops of sweat dripped onto the stage. He is a guitarist of the upmost quality & The Sadies tonight sounded very much like vintage The Sadies… phewwww that was such a relief. “Better Yet” sounded like a Kinks classic track with lyrics “ I wish I didn’t care; I wish none of it mattered , I’m no better than you and your better than that ” A packed house in Cluny 2 nodding in time with Travis . A nice touch was when they played a Jon Langford tune as he was the musician who first brought them here. Travis telling me & Graham that only The Cluny remains from the venues they first played in UK. My favourite song of the night was “Alone Now “. In this epic song, thoughts on life and loss abound in the lyrics ” I paid my respects to a close friend I lost yesterday, I learnt to respect, there’s nothing anyone can say, WE gave him tough love but it wasn’t enough to fight against his disease “ & again from the same song… ” In this day and age , rage is all the rage , we choose to behave like wolves starved in a cage
In support was the young band from London, The Hanging Stars making their debut Newcastle appearance. With a lazy but sure of themselves presence on stage, the quintet with pedal steel and twelve string acoustic created a 60/70’s psychedelic garage mixed with country rock sound and are a troupe to watch out for. They should well remember the toon date in years to come, as they were invited on stage by The Sadies at the end of the show for a Carole King tune, then lead singer Richard was coaxed into singing a goodnight country tune as a fitting farewell.