The Sheepdogs and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears at Crescent Ballroom, 11/9/11

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The Sheepdogs, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears

Crescent Ballroom
November 9, 2011

Until last night, I had never been to a show where the crowd enjoyed the opener more than the headliner. Way to go, Sheepdogs!

The whole room chanted "Sheepdogs" when the band took to the stage, giving the guys a very warm welcome. In the middle of their set, a few fans bought each of the four band members a beer, and lead singer Ewan Currie made a toast to the crowd. Clearly those Canadians were wanted here.

The Sheepdogs proved to be a perfect opener, but they had me (and seemingly a lot of others) wishing they were the headliner for the evening. They really pleased a packed house, most of whom seemed more into them than Black Joe Lewis and his boys.

Regardless of which band people came to see, the men from Saskatoon left their heart and soul on the stage, proving that their victory in Rolling Stone's Choose the Cover contest and a record deal with Atlantic Records was well-deserved. The band brought gave everyone a taste of modern pop rock while reeling in boogie rock, as well as bluesier and more soulful jams. People weren't shy about getting close to the stage and dancing the night away, and there wasn't a face in the crowd that didn't look like they were enjoying the Sheepdogs' set.

Afterwards, Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears played jams like "Boogie" and "Big Booty Woman," the latter of which included a playful call and response with the crowd. The band was vibin' and groovin', and the crowd did the same. All seven members of the Honeybears were on point last night. Lewis even played the guitar with his teeth early on in the set. Despite Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears' great sound, it was impossible to understand anything Lewis was singing. Some clarity would have made for a better experience, but they were fun to watch nonetheless.

Critic's notebook:

Last night: The Sheepdogs and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears at Crescent Ballroom.

Personal bias: The Sheepdogs were discussed nearly every single day at my summer workplace, so after lots of discussion I was very excited to finally see them live up to everything I had heard.

The crowd: Canadians, a few middle-aged and elderly folks, and people who looked just like the Sheepdogs.

Overheard: "I feel like I'm in the 70s!"

Random notebook dump: According to Grandma Sheepdog (guitarist Leot Hanson's darling grandmother who I met at the show), the band's latest album, Learn and Burn, went gold yesterday. Mazel tov, boys.

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