Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, Ontario – 29 March 2018
When I was first introduced to SATE a while back I was confused. But confusion can be a good thing. It’s your brain saying “Hang on! What the hell is this?”. It’s called Cognitive Dissonance as seemingly contradictory information is introduced or beliefs/assumptions are challenged. SATE is rock n roll, punk, blues, funk, femininity, masculinity, ferocity, and gentleness. “Peace, love, dirty rock & spirit guides, my fierce and beautiful warriors!” is how SATE signs off on her writings and social media posts and it is a perfect way to describe her show.
On a rainy Thursday night of a long weekend, SATE was 3rd on the bill of 4 bands at Toronto’s HorseshoeTavern. And at a $10 cover charge, was a hell of a bargain (and smart as it allows people to have a few drinks and buy some merch!) Solhounds and catl got the hearts pumping and the feet stomping before her as the crowd grew in size and enthusiasm and then the evening wrapped up with TheCelebrationArmy.
It’s not a big stage at the Horseshoe, it’s not always easy to see as the stage is low and the lighting is dim (please do something about the lighting, blue and orange are not the only colours those LEDS can do!!) but SATE delivered a sound and energy worthy of a far bigger space.
This is bad ass rock, setting the bar high launching into ‘Warrior’ from “Red, Black and Blue” delivered with snarling, grinding, grinning prowess. ‘Famous’ and ‘Silence’ follow where she basically breaks that high bar across her knee and throws it away as she and her band own every inch of that stage. The guys (guitarist Ben, bassist Alex, drummer Tony and keyboardist Wade) are a solid quartet, and each of them shine, share and own the space as performing equals to the powerhouse that is SATE. Every player bringing their ‘A’ game, and working the crowd to further energetic frenzy.
‘What Did I Do?’, truly a staple of her live performances doesn’t disappoint and the power in her voice is matched by the ferocity of her gaze as she stares down the audience, daring anyone to stand up to her with an answer.
“This is for the ladies” is how SATE introduced “Howler” where she screamed at, with and for us. And then all we “wild, witchy women”, all we people in the audience, howled. Together. Her powerful message of embracing who you are, inclusion and rising up is needed now more than ever. And it is well and truly delivered via loud, powerful music. It is devoured by the crowd that SATE says is “pelting love and energy” at her on stage.
‘Know my name’ leads us into the closer ‘Dirty Little Lie’ which was a stand out for me as the sound is dirty and muddied and sexy as hell. “Did you like it?” she purred knowing damn well that we did! Encored with ‘The World’, this amazing powerhouse of energy and great songs interspersed with a few new tracks from the upcoming release “The Fool” made this a truly fantastic night.
Comparisons are a necessary evil when describing something new to someone. It puts things in context and hopefully, people are open and willing to look or listen based on that. So here goes! I was expecting the “Tina Turner in Thunderdome” gear that she often wears on stage and was at first disappointed that she opted for simpler garb.Strong women with a strong image or style are often scoffed at or maligned for their look (think Madonna and her cone bra, Josephine Baker and her banana-skirted dancing, Lady Gaga, and her meat dress) and their talent is dismissed because of it. This pared down simple black dress and Doc’s look afforded me the opportunity to experience the music in a slightly different way. In profile SATE’s hair looked like a spine. A strong warrior with a blonde braided backbone from an H.R. Giger drawing. Demure but deadly, she could kick your ass or kiss you, or possibly both, letting you know that she is in total control.
What did I do?
Know my name
Dirty Little Lie
All photos © DeadFly Media