I don't much like the Doobie Brothers. And my problem with the Sheepdogs is that they really, really like the Doobie Brothers — to the point that they not only sound rather precisely like that 1970s arena rock also-ran, but they even look like them. Or at least enough like them to present a reasonable facsimile.
The point is that it's hard not to view this hyper-competent, impressively tight band as anything other than a kind of tribute act. A tribute act to the reasonably good, but by no means best, music of their parents' generation. No matter how good they are — and they are very good — the well they tend to draw from has some pretty brackish water.
But Saskatoon's favourite sons were very good yesterday (September 17), in the pouring rain, in front of an adoring crowd. Their muscular grooves and tight harmonies kept the sopping audience of fist-pumpers from fretting much about their muddy feet. Playing through their hits ("I Don't Know," "Feeling Good," "Downtown") the set built toward a daring cover of the Allman Brothers Band's "Whipping Post," a tough song they pulled off with aplomb.
"See that?" frontman Ewan Currie exclaimed towards the end of the late afternoon set. "The sun's coming out! The power of rock'n'roll right there!"