Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Sam Roberts Band [2014]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Sam Roberts of The Sam Roberts Band

The Sam Roberts Band
When: July 13th, 2014
Where: Claridge Homes stage, Ottawa Bluesfest, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa
Context: Just a few days ago, I posted about an incredible early single by a singer/songwriter that since the time of its release has become something of a Canadian institution. Montreal-based, Sam Roberts started things off as a solo artist but these days leads a pretty solid rock band that releases music that is pretty universal in terms of fan base, at least here in Canada. I feel like I’ve seen him perform live a bunch a times but in reality it was only twice, at least twice in full, though I’ve had a plethora of opportunities. The first of these opportunities was in 2009, the first year I attended Ottawa’s Bluesfest, and his set overlapped with that of Okkervil River and so only caught a few tunes from it. The first full set I attended was five years later at the same festival and he had just released his fifth album (the second as a band) called “Lo-fantasy”. The crowd was large and pumped and when the energy is that great, you’re bound to have a blast. I spent the whole time jumping up and down, fist pumping in the air, screaming along to lyrics of songs* I’d heard many times over on the radio with people I’d never before met and will likely never do again. Good times indeed.
Point of reference song: We’re all in this together

The Sam Roberts Band!
Eric Fares and Dave Nugent of the Sam Roberts Band
Sam Roberts and James Hall of the Sam Roberts Band
(The sax player)
Dave Nugent
Eric Fares, Dave Nugent, and a sax player
Sam Roberts

*With the magic of the internet, I was able to go back to rewatch the same concert recently on YouTube and sang (not screamed) along with it all over again.


Best tunes of 2002: #6 Sam Roberts “Don’t walk away, Eileen”

<< #7    |    #5 >>

Do you have a song from your youth that you detest? And I’m not thinking because it was a bad tune or anything but that its sole offence was that it used your name in its title or lyrics and became fodder for use in teasing by your peers.

Yeah? Me too.

Mine came by way of El Debarge’s “Who’s Johnny?” that featured prominently in the 80s film “Short circuit”, another source of teasing (“Johnny five is alive!” Kids are so weird). I also got a lot of “Johnny B. Goode”, which I minded quite a bit less, because, well, that song rocks. And then, in university, I was introduced to a song by Madder Rose called “Beautiful John” that… okay… nobody really used that one to tease me…

Then, there’s the case of a friend of my wife’s and mine who had to grow up with people singing words to a certain hit Dexy’s Midnight Runners song, to the point that she couldn’t abide the tune. We were laughing about this very subject one night over dinner and the physical reaction she had at the mere mention of “Come on, Eileen” was hilarious to behold. But when I asked if she felt the same way about Sam Roberts’ hit tune “Don’t walk away Eileen”, her response was: “No! I love that song!” And she immediately started singing the song and drumming her hands on the table.

I don’t disagree with our friend Eileen’s assessment of the song at all. It was released as the second single off Sam Roberts’ debut EP, “The inhuman condition”, and is the second song from it to feature on this very list. Not bad at all for a release that only has six songs in total and one whose artist wondered whether the EP was a good idea for his first foray into music. It is basically a reinterpretation of half the demo tracks he put together to generate industry interest and well, the EP generated a huge buzz on Canadian radio. Then, a bunch of these tracks also appeared on Roberts’ debut long player, “We were born in a flame”, that was released the following year after he signed to Sony Music.

“Don’t walk away Eileen” is a thorough banging and crashing away at drums and guitars, a general racket, really, and Roberts seems less concerned about carrying a tune than emoting the feeling of anger and passion. It is punk without the trappings of being punk. It is a fun tune that many can identify with, a universal kick at a troubled or troubling love interest, a song to scream along with at the top of your lungs, whether in your car, in your room, in a bar drinking with friends, or in the middle of a crowd at a concert.

Yeah, it’s fun. I’m not quite sure it mitigates all those years of “Come on, Eileen” for our friend though.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.


Playlist: The first day of Spring

Well, we made it. It’s the first day of Spring.

Yeah, this past winter has felt like an eternity but if I am being honest, it hasn’t even been that bad of a winter in these parts. It was relatively mild and we suffered through very few snowstorms, up until February, when, of course, all that went out the window. Even still, we’ve been seeing more mild weather again and the mounds of the white stuff have all but melted away.

And yet… and yet… it still felt like a long winter, didn’t it?

Well, it is officially over as of today. Mother nature be damned. And we are going to celebrate with a new playlist, the first of four seasonal themed mixes that I have planned for this year, all based on a theory my good friend Andrew Rodriguez has oft posited: there are certain songs that just “feel” like a given season.

Indeed, these are 25 songs that, even if not overtly Spring themed, they at least hint or evoke that certain mood. The playlist follows a chronological path, from the tentative first steps to the splashes in the rain puddles of April, from the traipsing through meadows of flowers to finally, a bit of a dance into June and the excitement of the summer beyond. Unfortunately, the song I really wanted to start this mix off with, The Gandharvas’ “The first day of Spring”, is not actually available on Spotify but I wanted to tip my hat to it nonetheless and replaced it with a similarly named track by Noah and The Whale.

Other highlights on this mix include:

    • “April fools”, the first track I ever heard by Canadian singer/songwriter, Rufus Wainwright, and it’s a whimsical ditty
    • “Rain”, a hazy number by The Clientele that evokes raindrops hitting against a steamed up window
    • Emily Haines and Metric covering the Lou Reed classic, “Perfect day”, no other explanation necessary
    • “June hymn”, off The Decemberists’ pastoral sixth album is a call for us all to go out into the woods and breathe deeply
    • And of course, “Spring and by summer fall”, is a ray of sunshine by Blonde Redhead that leads us off into the new season

For those who don’t use Spotify or if the embedded playlist below doesn’t work for you, here is the entire playlist (complete with YouTube links) as I’ve created it:

      1. Noah and the Whale “The first days of Spring”
      2. Kurt Vile “Wakin on a pretty day”
      3. Rufus Wainwright “April fools”
      4. Fontaines D.C. “Oh such a Spring”
      5. Blind Melon “No rain”
      6. The Jesus and Mary Chain “April skies”
      7. Frank Turner “The opening act of Spring”
      8. The Clientele “Rain”
      9. Ex Cops “Spring break (birthday song)”
      10. Engineers “Come in out of the rain”
      11. Sea Wolf “Dew in the grass”
      12. Camera Obscura “Honey in the sun”
      13. Crocodiles “Endless flowers”
      14. Arcade Fire “Month of May”
      15. Metric “Perfect day”
      16. Neutral Milk Hotel “King of carrot flowers, pt. 1”
      17. Cults “Go outside”
      18. Sam Roberts Band “Spring fever”
      19. Dum Dum Girls “Trees and flowers”
      20. The Decemberists “June hymn”
      21. Hey Rosetta! “Yer Spring”
      22. Unkle Bob “Birds and the bees”
      23. U2 “Beautiful day”
      24. The Like “June gloom”
      25. Blonde Redhead “Spring and by Summer Fall”

And as I’ve said before, I’ll say again: Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are safe and continue to be well. Until next time, enjoy the tunes.

For those of you who are on Spotify, feel free to look me up. My user name is “jprobichaud911”.