Daniel Romano’s Outfit & The Sadies: Live At The Palasad Socialbowl

Sadies Live

A changing of the guard, a passing of the torch, whatever you want to call it, occurred last Friday night.  London’s newest entertainment venue for up-and-coming and mid-size acts made great leaps to quickly becoming the best.

The Palasad Socialbowl has been at its current location for as long as I can remember as a family-friendly fun place – a place that has bowling, video games, and pizza. During these ‘pandemic years,’ however, they’ve started booking live shows, first with a make-shift stage erected over a few bowling lanes, but have since renovated and created a truly amazing space.  You can still bowl, play video games, and eat some tasty food (the mushroom pizza is apparently out of this world), but there is now a fully dedicated space to see some great music on a nice stage, with great sound.  It’s everything you’d expect from a small club: reasonably priced tickets for a cool under-the-radar band and an intimate experience you can’t get at large venue shows. Better yet, there are none of the usual drawbacks – the venue has a quality selection of beers and wines, and the washrooms are clean (even the locks work – if you’ve been to a classic small club in your town, you know what I mean).

Daniel Romano

A packed crowd was on hand last Friday to witness two of Canada’s finest live acts and treasured country-tinned rock groups hit the stage.  Daniel Romano’s Outfit played first and blasted the crowd with a controlled and continuous exuberance.  This collective from St. Catharine’s, ON, led by Romano, has been releasing soon-to-be-classic psychedelic-folk-rock albums quicker than most fans (or reviewers) can keep up with.  It didn’t matter that they didn’t play all of my personal favorites (the show would have been too many hours long had that happened) – anything I didn’t recognize was just as fantastic and enjoyable.  The group has become a tour-de-force of utilizing classic motifs and sounds for wholly original songs. I talked to many people who left the show with more Romano Outfit LPs in their hands than they’d previously had in their collections.  The Outfit are well on their way to becoming a consistent staple in the Canadian music scene, establishing themselves with the likes of Sloan, Blue Rodeo and the next band to hit the stage, The Sadies.  

A massive portrait of the deceased Dallas Good was hung on the stage and all in attendance paid respects to the late singer/guitarist and Sadies front man.  Now a trio, The Sadies’ set was rollicking, inspired, and inspiring.  Though the evening was buoyed by such great, enthralling music, there was a cognitive dissonance that permeated the crowd.  I sensed a full gamut of emotions, just as you’d expect to feel at an Irish wake.  At one moment I felt the full weight of the loss, then minutes later was smiling and laughing with a friend telling stories of years passed and applauding in awe at the show on stage.  Travis Good’s move to full-time lead vocals added a different tone to their songs, but the show was no less enjoyable.  Anyone in the crowd afraid he wasn’t up to the task was quickly turned from worrier to believer.

Travis Good

I’ve seen both Daniel Romano and The Sadies many times at London’s legendary (and now closed) Call The Office – a venue where I spent most of my teens through to my 30’s. This latest show was the first time catching them since that club closed, and since the pandemic began, that I felt the familiar and strong connection with a live show and a crowd. Maybe it’s because I saw so many good friends there in attendance.  Maybe it’s because I made many new friends.  Maybe it’s because I had enough beer to keep me hungover until Sunday – but it sure was a great evening that I won’t soon forget. The only air of uncertainty was that nobody seemed to know if this was likely to be a final Sadies tour or not. What was confirmed for all in attendance was if the band continues to play live, us fans will continue to come out and see the show.  And with the Palasad, we have a perfect space for it.

Photo Credit: Rod McLay Photography

A bit of a Renaissance man, Steve Murphy is a singer-songwriter, author, and journalist based out of London, Ontario. An avid vinyl collector and audiophile, his personal collection of albums is wide ranging and in the thousands, including four released from his band Westminster Park.

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