He’s been making top quality rock albums since the turn of the millennium, and this weekend Sam Roberts visited Vancouver to play packed shows Friday and Saturday night at the hallowed Commodore Ballroom.
Roberts dropped his debut six-song EP, The Inhuman Condition, in 2002. Thirteen years later, a pair of tracks from that release, “Brother Down” and “Don’t Walk Away Eileen,” remain his most widely-known creations. What most don’t realize, especially outside Canada, is that Sam and his band have spent the following decade and beyond releasing truly exceptional rock albums.
— TED Vancity (@TEDvancity) March 1, 2015
2006’s Chemical City was laid-back, nostalgic and slightly psychedelic, while 2008’s Love at the End of the World demonstrated diverse brilliance and emotional depth. More recently, the soulful, brass-textured Collider in 2011 and the airy, bright danceability of 2014’s Lo-Fantasy have cemented Sam Roberts as a fixture of quality Canadian music.
Die-hard fans of Sam exist across our great nation, and legions of local loyalists turned up to the Commodore this weekend in appreciation. A stunning digital backdrop framed the five-piece Sam Roberts Band to create a polished, symmetrical experience. With limited banter, the quintet played a tight set that ended with a slightly drawn-out encore that ended things on a bit of a mellow note.
While the show was a definite treat for the converted, it’s difficult to imagine this performance helping any uninitiated spectators fall in love with the music of Sam Roberts Band. A certain element of accessibility was missing, perhaps due to a set list that favoured deeper tracks over some of his more well-known material, such as “The Gate” and the aforementioned classic “Don’t Walk Away Eileen.”
There’s no denying the strength of Sam Roberts’ material, and it’s a shame more around the world aren’t in touch with the entirely of the band’s discography. Though a great pair of rock concerts took place this weekend, more on-stage openness would surely help spread the love further in the future.