Endrick and the Sandwiches – Green Room Rumble
Big in the Garden
10 songs, 37 minutes
Live music is the life blood of the Blues. Distinct to the Blues the live commune between artist and audience, the physical and emotional dialogue of musical sound emanating from musicians cascading over the audience and being reflected back, is so essential. It is also why most live Blues records, sadly unlike some live records in other genres, are pretty universally great. Montreal based psychedelic punk colored Blues and Neo-Soul band Endrick and the Sandwiches live release Green Room Rumble is no exception. A short 37 minute blast of 10 live performances from 2019 and 2020 captures this energetic band breaking down some well worn classic material with vibrancy, fluidity and engagement.
Endrick Tremblay, the leader of Sandwiches, is a flamboyant and stylized singer. Adding extra white-boy stank to the bravado of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy,” comical desperation to Slim Harpo’s “Scratch My Back,” and quizzical Buddy Holly cool to Willie Dixon’s “You Can’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover,” Tremblay has a mastery of the stage; a seductive front man with his own style. Adding adept harp and guitar, Tremblay is a real Bluesman as is evidenced by his solo acoustic take on John Lee Hooker’s “Huckle Up.” Why this live record works so well is because the Sandwiches are a great band. Lead guitarist Greg “The Mack” McEvoy pushes the band on with style and finesse. Mandela Coupal Dalgleish on drums and Simon Éthier on bass create a strong and flexible grounding. Elyze Venne-Deshaies adds some saxophone here and there. Anne Lauzière offers her smoky vocals to a duet of “Trouble in Mind” to great slow drag effect. Lauzière along with Marie-Pier Lavallée and Gabrièle Côté Lebreux offer background vocals and percussion here and there.
It’s hard to push covers, especially well worn covers, through with originality, this is the strength of this set. “Mystery Train,” which has few new mysteries to give, gets a hyped up reading. “PT Rider” gets a travelogue jive talking breakdown from the Mac taking lead vocals. Lesser tread material like the obscure Willie Dixon song “Choo Choo” and the Nick Gravenites penned Butterfield Blues Band classic “Born in Chicago” are refreshing surprises played with the same driving enthusiasm of the classics. But, Endrick and the Sandwiches really come alive in an engaging and compelling way on their only original cut “Devil Does.” A driving boogie, Endrick sings as if possessed by the devil spirit of Iggy Pop. The band hits harder and the music flushes with adrenalin and agitation.
Endrick and the Sandwiches are an ever evolving band. Their self titled first studio album has the same grounding in the Blues with some roughed up, sharp to the touch edges. Since the release of this live set, they have released a Neo-Soul blissed out record called Sunny Soul. This is an adventurous band who, like many other younger musicians such as Southern Avenue, Andrew Ali and Eddie 9V, are pushing their music in new, different and reaching ways. Green Room Rumble is a companion piece to the Sandwiches catalogue, a proud statement of the foundations of their music and an artifact of this band’s live trip.