Concert Review: The Sheepdogs conquer the M-Shop

The Sheepdogs performed at the M-Shop Oct. 20.

Parker Reed

The Sheepdogs and Radio Moscow rocked out to an energetic crowd Tuesday night at the M-Shop.

Radio Moscow took the stage around 8:25 p.m. and dove straight into their first song, which featured a relentless guitar solo from front man Parker Griggs.

The band’s overall sound could be compared to Led Zeppelin or The Black Keys, whose front man, Dan Auerbach, produced Radio Moscow’s 2007 self-titled debut.

After the first song, Griggs had to replace one of his guitar strings, leading to an awkward bit of silence. This silence was fortunately filled with the bassist and drummer playing some interlude music.

The whole set revolved around one single feature of the band, Griggs’ impressive guitar work. Every song had a spiraling guitar solo that went on for minutes at a time. While the bassist, Anthony Meier, would occasionally get some time to himself, the show belonged to Griggs.

The highlights of the set were the rare moments when Griggs would drop out, leaving Meier with a bass line, before exploding back in with a spectacularly cinematic solo.

While impressive, the constant guitar solos unfortunately wore on the audience as it seemed to never end. The constant climax gave the crowd almost no time to catch their breath and distracted from the rhythm section’s solid work behind it.

Much of the crowd left the venue for a few minutes for a break in between acts and a noticeable amount of people left altogether, not returning for the main act.

Those who missed Canadian blues-rockers The Sheepdogs missed out on one of the best performances the M-Shop will have this semester.

The band began their set with “I’m Gonna Be Myself,” the opening track from their newest album “Future Nostalgia” which dropped earlier this month.

The Sheepdogs’ sound is faintly similar to Radio Moscow’s but is much more melodic and reserved. Influence could have been pulled from Creedence Clearwater Revival or even The Beatles’ pop sensibilities.

“Can we get a hand for Radio Moscow? Together we’ve been traveling around the country losing money together. It’s been awesome,” front man Ewan Currie said.

Many songs from “Future Nostalgia” were performed during the band’s 16-song set, including “Bad Lieutenant,” “Same Old Feeling” and single “Downtown.”

Currie’s soulful vocals sat comfortably on top of the band’s five-part vocal harmonies, which were used in many songs; most notably in “Who.”

Rusty Matyas’ guitar work was woven seamlessly into every song it was featured in, giving each track a natural flow. Matyas and Currie would also perform unison guitar lines during many songs, showcasing an impressive amount of accuracy and precision from the two guitarists.

Other instruments were given time to shine as well. Keyboardist Shamus Currie, brother of Ewan Currie, was given many chances to show off some rocking solos and even left the keyboard to his brother to play trombone on “Ewan’s Blues.”

“We’ve never been to Iowa. So how do you guys feel about trombone?” bassist Ryan Gullen said before “Ewan’s Blues.”

By the end of the set, a group of enthusiastic individuals had gathered to the front of the crowd and were dancing to every song, which led to the dance-friendly “Learn and Burn.”

The set reached its final and largest climax with “I Don’t Know,” which featured multiple larger-than-life solos, leaving the entire crowd in awe.

The Sheepdogs and Radio Moscow left a crowd of rockers’ ears ringing after an excellent performance Tuesday night.

While there are plenty more acts to come, The Sheepdogs may have just given the finest performance the M-Shop will see all year.