‘We want to give them the best show we can’

Tara Bradbury
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The Sheepdogs return to St. John’s to perform latest record — and whatever else fans want

The Sheepdogs are out to give their fans the best show they can at Club One in St. John’s tonight and Thursday.
— Submited photo by Matt Barnes

There’s something special for The Sheepdogs about bar gigs that stadium shows just don’t have. The bursting-at-the-seams, sweaty vibe is just more rock ‘n’ roll — and no contemporary band is more rock ‘n’ roll than The Sheepdogs.

Fresh from a 42-day tour of the U.S., the band is hitting Club One tonight and Thursday with special guest Yukon Blonde; their second visit to St. John’s in four months. The Sheepdogs headlined the George Street Festival last July.

Since then, the band released its self-titled label debut on Atlantic Records, the followup to “Learn and Burn,” and the EP “Five Easy Pieces,” which took them from Saskatoon rock band to three-time Juno award winners, with appearances at Osheaga music festival in Montreal, on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” and the cover of “Rolling Stone.”

The last record was recorded on a computer with microphones, frontman Ewan Currie told The Telegram.

“The old album is the sound of a band that has nothing going on, whereas this album is much more band on the run, busy busy, and we made it in just over two weeks,” he said. “There’s not just one way to make an album and sometimes it just makes for a different vibe slightly. Every day we went into the studio and worked all day, and it was great. I love it. We’ve gotten used to banging everything out in a tight amount of time.”

Currie is the songwriter of the group, penning a riff, a vocal idea or a fully formed song, and presenting it to the other guys — Leot Hanson, Ryan Gullen and Sam Corbett — to be developed. He doesn’t generally write by sitting down with the intention of coming up with a song, and doesn’t really get how other artists can do it. His music is assembled in bits and pieces, he said.

“I always find it weird when people talk about going to a songwriting retreat. That’s a little new-agey pretentious for me,” he said. “I’ll get an idea in my head at some point in the day and then I’ll try and sing it into my phone in sort of a discreet manner, so I don’t look like a lunatic, and then I’ll sit down later and try to flesh it out into a full song.

“I remember in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ how Larry David carried a notepad with him and wrote down any time he got an idea. that’s why I use my little voice memo. For now, the iPhone works pretty good.”

The songs on the current record are simple and direct, and the first single, “The Way it Is,” doesn’t tell any great story. It was inspired by profound-sounding statements people make that don’t really mean much, Currie said.

“‘It is what it is’ is a big one,” he said. “If you ever watch reality television, people always say it on there. I think what it actually means is, ‘It sucks, but what are you going to do about it?’”

When it comes to the screen, the Sheepdogs have that covered, too — “The Sheepdogs Have At It,” directed by John Bernard, will close this year’s Whistler Film Festival at the beginning of December. The documentary follows the band on the road and in the recording studio, and is “basically a little slice of Sheepdogs’ life, and is more natural than most of the little videos you see of us,” Currie explained.

“I feel good because it doesn’t embarrass us,” he said.

Fans at Club One tonight and Thursday can expect a totally different show than what The Sheepdogs gave on George Street this summer, which was mainly the older material.

That being said, they fully intend to go with the flow, giving the crowd what it wants to hear.

“We’re not up there to play what we want to play,” Currie said. “We want to play the tunes people want to hear. We want to give them the best show we can.”

Thursday’s show is sold out, but there are still tickets available for tonight’s gig. Tickets are $37.99 and are available online at www.sonicconcerts.com.


Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: Rolling Stone, The Telegram

Geographic location: U.S., Saskatoon, Montreal Whistler

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