(Cadre Sept. 2005) Sloan-
After a seven year hiatus from Prince Edward Island, Sloan came back to a packed house, energized crowd and beer in the face. The last time this seminal Canadian band played at UPEI was in 1998 in the Barn, which they were a little disappointed to find out had been turned into a parking lot.
After jetting (or rather bussing) around Canada and the US to promote their new album, a greatest hits compilation titled ‘A Sides Win’, Sloan decided to do a small Maritime tour. The desire to play some shows near his hometown of Halifax came from not having been back in a few years, said guitar player Jay Ferguson.
“We kind of started touring in May, so we sort of did a US and Canadian tour,” said Ferguson. “Once the summer hits then you end up doing a lot of festival shows. So that’s kind of all we’ve been doing, lots of festival shows here and there then little runs to the US or out west.”
“Out here, we’re doing a little maritime tour. We haven’t done really a maritime tour in a couple of years, so we’re just playing a bunch of shows. We’re playing here in Charlottetown, we played Moncton and Antigonish and we’re going to play Halifax and Fredericton.”
Opening for Sloan at the courtyard was The Stills, a smoking hot band hailing from Montreal, Quebec. While some felt they started their set a little early, the crowd quickly grew and the floor was nothing but arm-raising, head-banging praise for these rockers.
There were only 14 tickets left at the door when Sloan sauntered on stage and were met by over a thousand yelling, screaming fans.
Since they were touring to promote their greatest hits album, fans were treated to classic tunes like ‘other man’ and ‘the good in everyone’.
“Earlier in this year, like in May, we put out our greatest hits record ‘A Sides Win’. It was kind of like singles from 1992-2005,” said Ferguson. “It was time to reflect. We really needed to just look back on our career and think about what we’re supposed to do next…no it was completely a cash grab(laughs). No I’m just kidding.”
During their show, several plastic cups filled with beer were thrown at the members of the band, mostly at an increasingl frustrated Chris Murphy.
By the time the fourth cup had been thrown and soaked frontman Patrick Petland, Sloan was fed up. They left the stage and although this reporter has heard from people who think the whole incident was staged, as someone who was backstage when they came off I can tell you firmly this was not a planned event. They were pissed.
“It’s too bad, it happened a couple times during the show and I could see Chris getting frustrated,” said Ferguson. “After the fourth time when Patrick got hit, it just got too much. Whatever, it’s happened before, it’s not big deal. I thought the crowd was good, there’s always a couple of goofs who try to ruin the show…”
Ferguson says there is always a chance of something like this happening at a university gig, especially in smaller places like PEI and Antigonish.
“It’s hit or miss with universities sometimes, ” said Ferguson. “Sometimes I feel you can just get a bit of a ‘what’s going on at campus tonight, I guess we’ll go.’ and you get a casual crowd. What I prefer, I want everyone there to be in to the gig instead of being distracted and drinking or whatever.”
“Antigonish was a bit of a drag. There was a large contingent of our fans there, but there was also a large contingent of people who were just there because it’s the one thing to do this month in Antigonish. ‘So we’re all going to go and get plastered and ‘who’s playing’ ‘oh I don’t care’, and ‘hey baby, how you doin’. It’s a very disassociated kind of crowd.”
“Other than that, it was fun. Getting a glass of beer tossed on you is a bit of a drag, it makes it hard to do your job. If it had been a glass of ginger ale, I would hav ebeen psyched (laughs).”
“I wasn’t hit with anything, but I was once hit with a full un-opened can of beer, that was fun. It was like: ‘I’m going to buy a full can of beer to throw at this idiot on the stage.’ It was in Newfoundland actually. These things happen once in a while.”
Despite the beer-throwing incident, Ferguson says it was one of the best shows of their maritime tour.
“That one and Halifax were definitely the best ones of the tour so far,” said Ferguson. “We really liked the location, it was a good stage.”
“We thought the encore was good, it had kind of cooled off and we played just for fun.”
Sloan went on to play in Halifax on Friday night and Fredericton on Saturday before heading back to Toronto. They have a few more one-off shows at various colleges before settling in to record their new album.
“I don’t know when we’d be back, we’ve got a record to make,” said Ferguson. “But I don’t really think it will sour us on coming here. But that’s just me speaking personally.”