Sasha Sloan + Winnetka Bowling League @ l’Astral – 15 November 2019

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Winnetka Bowling League is a duo made of singer/songwriter/producer Matthew Koma and songwriter/producer Dan Book. Before forming Winnetka Bowling League, Koma released two solo EPs. The LA-based band formed in 2018 and released their self titled  EP. 

I still can’t put my finger on what they remind me of, but their music is described as pop/alternative/indie rock.

Winnetka Bowling League brought some Cali heat with them to a winter night at L’Astral and warmed the crowd up by playing some songs off their first EP. The self-titled EP gives a taste of what it’s like to live in California, especially the song “feeling California”. They also played from their new EP Cloudy With A Chance of Sun, whose title reminded me of the bipolar Montreal weather.

They were welcomed with happy applause after properly preparing the crowd for the headliner and walked off stage with some impressed new fans. 

The long-awaited Sasha Sloan was met with excited applause as she followed her band out on stage. 

She opened with “Thoughts”, a song that talks about having negative feelings, and worrying what others think and trying not to get hurt. You’d think for such a sad topic the crowd wouldn’t be as energetic as they were, singing along to it. 

All of her songs are genuine and honest. She pours out what she’s feeling, and people relate to that, probably because she puts words to feelings people have but can’t express. She talks openly about having anxiety and depression, even joking about it. Every time she would mention it during the show, heads nodded and people understood how she felt.

“Faking It”, another song she played, talks about faking being in love while in a relationship that’s already over. It had a faster beat and catchy chorus, so the crowd sang along almost yelling. 

After a few songs, there was a pause and she asked how the crowd was and thanked them all for coming, to which the crowd responded with long applause. She laughed and told them to stop but it kept going. She backed up and pleaded “Please I can’t take a compliment, I have anxiety… but thank you.” And the applause stopped only so we could hear her speak. 

She told the crowd about the process of writing the next song she was to play. She said she wrote the song, didn’t like it and didn’t record it for about two months, and proceeded to play “Too Sad To Cry”. 

In the between moments, like while waiting for her drummer and keyboardist to be ready for the next song, she got the crowd to call them out for taking slightly longer: “Hurry up Danny!”, we all shouted.  He did and started playing “Version Of Me”. She did this a few times because she “loves heckling Danny”, she said. 

Before the next song, she asked if anyone had divorced parents. About half the crowd yelled loudly which surprised her. She played “Older” and sang about how growing up changed her perspective on her parents splitting up. With most of the people in the crowd being around 20 or over, and probably having dealt with that most of their lives, either the lyrics in the song were a realization for them or something they’ve thought to themselves and worked out on their own. “The older I get, the more that I see, my parents aren’t heroes, they’re just like me. Loving is hard, it doesn’t always work, you just try your best not to get hurt.” A group not too far from me yelled out the next lines “I used to be mad but now I know, sometimes it’s better to let someone go”. 

It was clear that people felt touched by the song about understanding and maturing in their view of life’s misfortunes. 

Sasha’s songs speak about dealing with mental illness, struggling with relationships and some tough family problems, but overall, she talks about dealing with those things and growing from them. She gives hope to anyone going through those struggles, that they can deal with it, and do what they love despite them. Nothing is easy but if you keep on going, eventually it gets better. 

Ironically, after experiencing the “Let’s Get Sad Tour”, we all left happy! Happy to have gotten out of the house even though it’s cold. Happy to hear her voice, which is amazing live, singing the songs we’ve fallen in love with. Finally, happy to be in a crowd of people who understand what it’s like to not feel great all the time. 

Both Sasha Sloan and Winnetka Bowling League put on a great show with the crowd leaving satisfied (even without an encore!). 

I’m tempted to travel where she’s playing next to hear her live again, but I’ll eagerly await her return to Montreal. 


  • Thoughts
  • Again
  • Faking It
  • At least I look Cool
  • Run Away
  • Dancing with Your Ghost
  • Too Sad to Cry
  • Version of Me
  • Older 
  • Keep on 
  • Normal
  • Thank God
  • Smiling When I Die 

Review – Breanna Wark

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