What can be said for a year that began with so much promise but ends, well, like we are all feeling stuck in an alternate dimension. Looking back on my calendar which went so off the rails after two and a half months in, it really does look like a glimpse into a world that should have been but one that’s now alternate history.
But even in this bizarro world of COVID-19 there was some great music created at homes, online, socially distanced, and even on the streets! There is nothing that can beat the feel of a crowded show, the thrill of being there, and the joyous exhaustion that follows, but this past year we saw people pulling together – giving what they could – to keep live music alive despite every roadblock tossed in its way.
Since these lists are often limited by “best of” or Top 10, I want to include, well, all of those performances I caught this past year. There weren’t many, but each one I relive when I hear a song from a brilliant artist I’ve seen or go through photos from the past year. Here are my Top 12 Musical Moments of 2020 in chronological order.
Sloan rocks the Union Stage on Feb. 22, 2020. (Photo by David LaMason)
Okay. So, I admit that I’m a fan, so saying that Sloan is one of the best bands around and that next to the term “power pop” in any reputable encyclopedia are the names Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson, and Andrew Scott is a little biased on my part. Four songwriters and musicians who have been writing and performing for nearly 30 years and right on the heals of releasing their twelfth LP, aptly titled 12, the band is in the midst of celebrating the 20th anniversary of their fourth record, “Navy Blues,” with an extensive tour.
And Saturday night at the Union Stage the quartet rocked the roof off to an awestruck audience.
Sloan plays a packed Rock & Roll Hotel on May 11, 2018. (Photo by David LaMason)
For nearly 30 years, the Toronto-based band Sloan has shown how a band can be consistently great while being completely democratic. Each member — Jay Ferguson (guitar/vocals/bass), Chris Murphy (bass/vocals/drums), Patrick Pentland (guitar/vocals/bass), and Andrew Scott (drums/vocals/guitar) — takes on songwriting duties and each song is perfectly crafted and laden with hooks that keep fans coming back from the band’s debut Smeared to the recently released 12th album (appropriately titled) 12. Fans came back again for their latest show at Rock and Roll Hotel on Friday.
Power pop quartet Sloan released Sloan 12, the band’s 12th studio album, on April 6 via Murderecords/Yep Roc Records. Following its release with a tour, the Toronto rockers will perform at Rock and Roll Hotel on Friday, May 11.