Sloan WayHome Stage, Oro-Medonte ON, July 26

Sloan WayHome Stage, Oro-Medonte ON, July 26
Photo: Geoff Fitzgerald
Leave it to Sloan to let the drummer sing the first song of the day. Given the thankless task of opening the main stage on the final day of the fest, the Canrock mainstays offered up half of Andrew Scott's multi-part suite from the band's recent album, Commonwealth, to begin. But it's moves like this that have kept Sloan a creatively relevant band years after many of their contemporaries have fallen by the wayside.
If the ten minutes of "Forty-Eight Portraits" was Sloan at their most "Jazz Odyssey," the rest of their set stuck with to a more recognizable script, with the group cranking out selections from their sizable discography. A couple more deep cuts like "I Hate My Generation" found their way into the set, but otherwise hard rock was in favour: "If It Feels Good Do It," "Losing California" and "The Good in Everyone" all made appearances in lieu of some of the band's equally popular, but less fest-friendly material. The groggy crowd ate it up, joining in for a sing-along on "The Rest of My Life."
Chris Murphy thanked the crowd several times for the warm reception and was thankful for the chance to play to such a large crowd. But the set felt a little ramshackle, as if the band were making up the setlist on the fly. Better organization might have sold the band to new (and young) fans in the crowd, but that would be anathema to Sloan's aesthetic; they have survived more than two decades by doing what's best for them, not for their fans, and that's why we still love them.