The Sadies: Live at Club Café


It’s not often that Toronto, ON alt-country-psyche-surf rockers The Sadies bring their live show to Pittsburgh – so Team GDW took great pleasure in blowing off a couple of ‘work days’ and instead embarked on a road trip that took us three hours west to Pennsylvania’s Steel City.  Better yet, this particular Thursday proved to be a glorious spring day, giving us ample opportunity to explore the city, before crossing the Monongahela River and making our way to Club Café on the city’s south side. We had not seen The Sadies perform live since the summer of 2019, so were more than ready and willing to enjoy their performance here in the western corner of the Keystone State.

Given that many are familiar with the tragic loss of band member Dallas Good (vocals/guitars) in February 2022, we feel no need to rehash those details here. No need either to discuss how brother Travis Good (vocals/guitars/violin), and bandmates Sean Dean (upright bass) and Mike Belitsky (drums) undertook some soul searching before collectively deciding to light an eternal flame for their fallen compadre and kept the band alive. But like many, for sure, we’d be lying if stating that we were not at all curious about what to expect from the trio moving forward. On this given Thursday night, we very quickly learned that it was business as usual for The Sadies, whose incredible energy was on display all evening, and who left an entire room craving so much more at the close of a solid 90-minute set.

“Well, hello everybody, we’re so thrilled to be back in Pittsburgh after all these years,” stated Travis, as the band prepared to commence the show. “We missed you” came a cry from the back of the room – sadly, not a packed room, but those in attendance brought plenty of enthusiasm and demonstrated strong familiarity with the band and their music. “We missed you too. We’re The Sadies from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and we hope you enjoy the show,” Travis continued, before launching immediately into “Stop and Start” and “More Alone” – two tracks taken from their 2022 “Colder Streams” album.


While there was a strong emphasis on the new album tracks (a delight to hear live), the band fulfilled all expectations to perform many popular tunes (vocal and instrumental) from across their extensive back catalogue. Appreciative cries and hollers following “10 More Songs” allowed Travis time to pause briefly to address the room once more. “Thanks a lot everybody. For anyone here who hasn’t seen us play before, we used to be four. Sadly, we lost my brother Dallas last year, and so we’re gonna dedicate this song, and every song that we do tonight, and everything that we do for the rest of our lives to my brother Dallas,” he offered, prior to a performance of “Better Yet.” “He wrote this one, and a bunch of them, this is from our Colder Streams record.”  “Oh yeah, damn good record,” came a reply from a gentleman directly in front of the stage – sentiments shared by many in the room.

Changing gears all evening with their frenetic energy and pace, whilst mixing tunes old and new, The Sadies sounded as fresh as ever, leaving us gasping for air at times with intense performances of “Ridge Runner Reel,” “Cheat,” and “Leave Me Alone.” Switching his electric guitar momentarily for the acoustic variety, Travis opted to revisit “Strange Birds,” acknowledging the co-write with Jon Langford, and explaining just how fun it has been to start playing it once more at shows (in similar style to the re-recorded version as found on The Sadies’ Archives Vol 1 – Rarities, Oddities and Radio” 1995-2015 album release). “Thank you so much folks. It was a tough choice whether to carry on,” Travis added at the close of the song. “It’s been a tough road, but seeing old, great friends like tonight, and seeing people like you makes it all worthwhile. So, we really appreciate all the support.”


It’s easy to lose count of how many times we’ve seen The Sadies in concert over the years, but can confirm that aside from an occasional guest appearance from their musical parents (Bruce & Margaret Good), on-stage collaborations are a rarity. So, imagine our surprise in Pittsburgh when Travis paused to invite opening artist Julianna Riolino (along with Roddy Rossetti on acoustic guitar) to join the trio for seven straight tunes down the stretch. This made for some unique interpretations of popular cuts such as “Why Be So Curious? (Part 3)” and “Another Year Again,” while adding some previously unheard flair to newer tracks “So Far For So Few” and “Ginger Moon.”  Travis would also introduce one of these collaborations (“Wasn’t Born To Follow”) as being a Carole King song – a surprise for some, but of course, a tune that King co-wrote with then-husband Gerry Goffin – popularized by The Byrds – and later recorded by The Sadies on their 2001 “Tremendous Efforts” album.

“Well folks, you’ve been a great audience,” Travis offered prior to their closing number. “We’re gonna leave you with a song that Dallas wrote about his love for the wintertime, and for how much he hated the heat and the summertime. He really did hate it.” Both Julianna and Roddy would exit the stage following a rousing collaborative performance of “Another Season Again,” while Travis took time to address the room once more. “I’ll tell you another thing about my little brother. He hated the ritual of an encore. He said it was horseshit,” Travis exclaimed. “And you guys wanna hear more, and we wanna play more, so we don’t have to fuck around, we’re just gonna play some more songs.” Any decibel meter at Club Café was likely blown apart at this time, based on the response from the floor.


Following the first pair of ‘non-encore’ encore tunes, Travis removed his guitar and (finally) reached for his violin and bow. “Let’s get Roddy back up to pick a tune with us,” he instructed. “It’s amazing, before this tour, he only played bass. We asked him to play acoustic guitar a little bit and he obliged, and he’s getting pretty good at it.” Cheers and chuckles bounced throughout the room as Rossetti returned to the stage, and joined the band for the short, but incredibly fast paced instrumental, “Uncle Larry’s Breakdown.” “Shit Roddy, you’re stealing all my licks man,” Travis would add in jest. “Thank you so much everyone. You’ve been a great audience. I’m gonna have Jules finish it off with a song – one of my favorite songs, she’s gonna sing.”

Ready and raring to go from her spot at the side of the stage, Julianna took her cue, strapped on her fireglo Rickenbacker guitar, and joined the band. Together, with Travis opting for his violin once more, the five musicians sent the crowd home with an unexpected (and amazing) collective cover version of the Fairport Convention popular tune, “Come All Ye” – with Julianna taking lead vocals and Travis adding harmonies during the choruses.  An unreal amount of energy was witnessed on stage for all 90-minutes, and I’m sure many calories were burned by each of the musicians up there under the lights. Once again, The Sadies delivered – and we are grateful that they made stops in PA during this tour. Once again, we are left scouring their website, looking for upcoming tour announcements to see when and where we can likely relive this experience anytime again soon.

Set List:

  1. Stop And Start
  2. More Alone
  3. Through Strange Eyes
  4. Message To Belial
  5. Ten More Songs
  6. Better Yet
  7. Cheat
  8. All The Good
  9. Only Good One
  10. No One’s Listening
  11. Strange Birds
  12. Northumberland West
  13. Whispering Circles
  14. Rat Creek
  15. Leave Me Alone
  16. Lay Down Your Arms
  17. Oak Ridges
  18. Ridge Runner Reel
  19. Why Be So Curious? (Part 3) (ft. Julianna Riolino)
  20. The Trial (ft. Julianna Riolino)
  21. So Far For So Few (ft. Julianna Riolino)
  22. Another Year Again (ft. Julianna Riolino)
  23. Wasn’t Born To Follow (ft. Julianna Riolino)
  24. Ginger Moon (ft. Julianna Riolino)
  25. Another Season Again (ft. Julianna Riolino)

Non-Encore Encore:

  1. Jerry’s Breakdown
  2. Cut Up High And Dry
  3. Uncle Larry’s Breakdown (ft. Roddy Rossetti)
  4. Come All Ye (Fairport Convention cover) (ft. Julianna Riolino)

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

Tags from the story
0 replies on “The Sadies: Live at Club Café”