The Sadies: Live in Vienna, VA

The Sadies

January is often a cold and depressing month for live music starved fans here in the northern hemisphere, but the 2024 installment very quickly warmed up when Toronto, ON trio The Sadies announced a pretty extensive US spring tour. A quick perusal of the schedule found the band travelling the eastern seaboard, with a stop on an early April Sunday evening at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. Tickets bought. 

Continuing to tour their current JUNO-Award winning “Colder Streams” album – a tour that saw us catching up with them in Pittsburgh in May 2023 – this trio of Travis Good (guitars/vocals), Sean Dean (upright bass) and Mike Belitsky (drums) were raring to make their Jammin’ Java debut. “Well, hello everybody, it sure is great to be in Vienna on a Sunday night,” Travis declared as they were welcomed on stage. “We’re The Sadies from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and we hope you enjoy the show.” 


Launching immediately into the “Colder Streams” material with “Stop and Start,” pausing very briefly before continuing into “More Alone,” subsequent album cuts would be woven into an energetic set over the course of seventy-five minutes.  Performing eight of the eleven album tracks, the more we hear these new tunes, the more we appreciate that The Sadies are incredibly worthy victors of their 2023 JUNO Award for Adult Alternative Album.  

With an extensive back catalogue at their disposal, the trio mixed things up all evening, sharing favorites such as ‘Oak Ridges,” “Through Strange Eyes,” and “The Trial.” And, of course, there were plenty of instrumental jams, from the short bursts of “Introduction” and “Lay Down Your Arms,” to their full-length siblings such as “Ten More Songs” and “Northumberland West.”  When it comes to rapidly transitioning between vocal and instrumental pieces, this band make it look both natural and easy – especially the combinations of “Better Yet / Cheat” and “Rat Creek / Leave Me Alone,” which always energize a room.  

The Sadies

“We want to thank everyone here at the Jammin’ Java, what a great place this is,” Travis announced later in the evening, appreciative of the strong and lively turnout. “We didn’t expect this to be honest with you. We thought we were gonna be playing in the corner of a little coffee shop.” The band would push immediately into “No One’s Listening,” one of my personal favorites from the current album. They would also toss a couple of back-to-back surprise covers into the mix, performing a one-two punch of the traditional “Dark Eyes” and (of all things) the Conway Twitty hit, “Ain’t It Sad To Stand And Watch Love Die?” 

The Sadies

Closing the evening with a rousing performance of “Another Season Again,” Travis would offer some final words to the room – channeling some immortal words that the Greg Keelor/Blue Rodeo fan in me heard loud and clear: “Thanks a lot everybody. We’ll see you down the road.” And before kicking off a non-encore encore, Travis would add, “It’s Sunday, and you’re clapping, we’re happy to do a few more songs.” Strapping on the acoustic guitar that lay untouched all evening, the band dug deep to share “Little Sadie” from their 1998 “Precious Moments” debut album and remained acoustic once more for their popular hit “Anna Leigh” – that haunting outro done acoustically is always a delight to witness.   

With one final song on their pre-determined set list, Travis switched back to his electric guitar for their last hurrah, and The Sadies sent us home with a loud and lively rendition of “Another Year Again.”  As expected, another solid set from one of Canada’s finest – this band continue to draw crowds of fans – new and old alike. Words fail me to describe the euphoria of attending their shows, although the following quote from their Bandcamp page sure summarizes things nicely: They shift from astral psychedelia to shuffling bucolics and leap from punkish pop to righteous garage rock without losing momentum. Travis, Sean, and Mike, thanks for visiting – come back anytime! 

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. Northumberland West
  10.  Oak Ridges 
  11.  Cut Up High And Dry 
  12.  Rat Creek 
  13.  Leave Me Alone 
  14.  Only Good One 
  15.  So Far For So Few
  16.  The Trial 
  17.  Dark Eyes (trad. cover)
  18.  Ain’t It Sad To Stand and Watch Love Die (Conway Twitty cover)
  19.  Lay Down Your Arms 
  20.  Strange Birds 
  21.  Introduction 
  22.  No One’s Listening 
  23.  Ridge Runner Reel 
  24.  Another Season Again 


  1. Little Sadie 
  2. Anna Leigh
  3. Another Year Again 

Photo Credit: Artist Website (Tour Poster) 

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.

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