Sam Roberts and his band are men of no frills, no egos, and high expectations. Give them the gear they need, decent sound, and someone to play to, and they turn it on 110% and then some – every single time. Its been our pleasure to experience a SRB show more than a few times over the years, and while each has been distinctly different, one constant remains- the music is the key.
From songs like Bridge to Nowhere, Brother Down, Them Kids, Don’t Walk Away Eileen, and many other instantly recognizable hits, ‘stay true to your friends cause they’ll save you in the end’ is probably the message we remember the most- the band stay true to the music, to the performance, and to their work ethic of giving every audience an experience to walk away with, to share with friends, to tide them over until the next show down the road.
You won’t see blinged out twenty something ladies in skimpy dresses at a Sam Roberts concert, nor do you see the ladies vying for the band’s attention – more likely you’ll be smack in the middle of college age guys in cargo pants and non-descript non-designer tees complete with hair ranging from buzz cuts to dreads. Just as the band is about the music, so to are the fans.
Tonight’s show is intense- the band has hop-scotched across Canada from East to West at least 4 times in the last few months, and the wear shows on Roberts’ face- he doesn’t look tired, but his deep set eyes are harder to see and there is a ferociousness to the show as he pushes himself to keep the energy at the highest level we’ve all come to expect.
The band is in perfect harmony tonight- and I have a new appreciation for Dave Nugent (Nuge) as his guitar work compliments Roberts’ the way his backing vocals do – smooth, noticeable, needed. Josh Trager on drums is more animated than I’ve seen him before and so is key board player Erik Farres. James Hall on bass is a-typical; forget the laid back pretense of ‘too cool to move’, Hall is full of life. Rounding out the usual quintet is the band’s part time sax player who adds sparkle to the various songs.
Despite the band fighting fatigue- or rather, because of, this is one of the most intense shows I’ve seen both musically and emotionally. Roberts almost literally punches out the lyrics as he encourages us to sing the choruses with him- and we do of course. While many bands look to their fans to pick up the slack when they’re tired, Sam Roberts Band strive to leave it all on the stage by the time the show is over- and by the time a 13 minute version of closing song Mind Flood hit the final notes, we were all spent. This band just keeps raising their own bar!
©nightMair Creative 2012