by Matthew Stefanson for

Sled Island Report: Shadowy Men

Something that is becoming a universal truth at music festivals is that you can’t trust the schedule as gospel. There are time changes, drop-outs (looking at you, Grimes) and of course, elusive secret shows. It’s becoming so that you need to have a smartphone and a good nose for secrets to catch the best shows. I am lucky enough to have both of those things.

Whilst sitting at the Palomino, wondering why none of the members of Extra Happy Ghost!!! were on stage during their timeslot – and more importantly, why they kept playing a different band’s songs – I discovered a secret show being played by Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. I quickly rushed over to Broken City, elbowing my way to the front of the house for what turned out to be my favourite show of the festival.

The group is best known for their song “Having An Average Weekend” which was the opening credits song for CBC’s sketch show Kids In The Hall.  One of my greatest disappointments was being unable to see them two days prior. The loss was so much worse because the Toronto surf rock group has actually been broken up since 1996. Their original bassist, Reid Diamond sadly passed away in 2001 so their inclusion on the schedule was both confusing and exciting. It was a musical resurrection.

With Sadies member Dallas Good manning Diamond’s old spot, the group started playing a few shows earlier this year to promote the re-release of their old catalogue coming out on Mammoth Cave Records. This secret show was in fact one of only a handful that they’ve played in over a decade.

If you didn’t know the backstory, you would never suspect the long hiatus the group had been on. Lead string section Brian Connelly and drummer Don Pyle haven’t lost a step and with Dallas Good playing perfectly on Diamond’s old bass it’s stunning to think that they’ve been off the stage for so long.

I hounded down Brian Connelly after the show for an interview on the roof of Broken City. Check it out below: