Taking cues from Rush's All the World's a Stage and Kiss' Alive!, Sloan released its 1999 double live CD 4 Nights at the Palais Royale at the perfect time -- the band had honed its chops since 1996, and Navy Blues was less than a year old. Recorded in Toronto in November 1998, this double live CD is a snapshot of the band: fun, endearing, and eager to please. Drummer Andrew Scott's songs sound particularly strong live: they've progressed into pop masterpieces and stand out as the solidest, mostly due to their tight arrangements. Though guitarist Jay Ferguson's tunes are under-represented -- he has just three songs out of 28 -- he sounds wonderful, especially on "The Lines You Amend." Bassist Chris Murphy, the jester, spends the most time playing to the crowd, but his songs shouldn't be overlooked. He sounds best singing his lower-key numbers such as "Pen Pals" and "Coax Me." Murphy's stripped-down "Torn" is phenomenal, and his and Scott's rendition of "Before I Do" adds vitality to that previously mellow, hypnotic song. Guitarist Patrick Pentland sings "I Can Feel It" with some restraint, but cuts loose on "Everything You've Done Wrong" and "Money City Maniacs." There's a singalong to "Deeper Than Beauty" -- which has become a concert standard -- and the crowd adds handclaps and vocals whenever needed. For fans who have never seen Sloan perform, 4 Nights at the Palais Royale is especially essential -- it takes you down to the main floor of a Sloan concert circa fall 1998.