SATE presides over a rowdy crowd at the Horseshoe

The Toronto blues rocker brings vulnerability and raunch to her metal-tinged sound

SATE at the Horseshoe, Friday, January 22. Rating: NNN

After her band warmed up, Toronto singer SATE (aka Saidah Baba Talibah) stormed the stage in a black shawl, black mesh and dark lipstick and launched into some powerful, heavy-metal-tinged blues rockers. On the second song, she pulled out what would be a recurring move throughout the 50-minute set: a call-and-response between band members and the rowdy crowd at the half-full Horseshoe. A single moment of vulnerability came a couple tunes later: “This song is called Try. Because sometimes all you can do is try.”

SATE’s stage banter got real dirty real fast, switching focus to “sweaty clits,” and her onstage energy – primal dance moves and soulful, unhinged growls – intensified as well. While they sounded super tight and SATE has a tornado of a stage presence (some die-hards in the crowd threw up Wayne’s World ‘we’re not worthy’ praise hands), the group’s brand of blues rock sometimes felt over-rehearsed.

After a stop ’n’ start crowd-pleaser, the band could’ve called it a night. But an awkward encore break led to a stompy, straight-ahead cover of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. | @MattGeeWilliams

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