“There has always been a unique spirit that has infused the music of Sam Roberts Band. It’s highlighted by melodies that are infectious, lyrics that are deep and somewhat enigmatic, but memorable, and a live show that just plain rocks. The music of Sam Roberts Band isn’t always easy to categorize either. It’s been often lumped in with other alternative or alternative rock bands, but there is also a substantial 1980s melodic rock vibe, mixed in with the best of 1990s Brit Pop.” (Jim Barber)
Being human ain’t what it used to be. We leap eras in weeks, going forwards and backwards simultaneously — the 21st century has become a horror show of technological evolution in the face of political regression. Sam Roberts Band began its seven album arc way back in 2002. Back then, despite the nightmares unfolding in Afghanistan and Iraq, possibility still seemed, well … possible. Back then, Canada’s highways stretched toward something other than a flaming protest over an oil pipeline, and it wasn’t insane to believe that the future would usher in the future, rather than some shit-blasted reboot of the 1930s.
But a question: has SRB ever believed in the future? “I’ve been dying since the day I was born,” Roberts correctly observed on his debut solo album, We Were Born in a Flame. Indeed, the band has never submitted to rock n' roll’s priapic Fender-first machismo, but rather delivered an elegiac swoon wrapped in late afternoon sunshine — hard-won shimmer concealing the pain of maturing, getting older, losing.
Thankfully, despite the autumnal sensibility that runs through their discography, SRB has never come across as a bummer. Their songs aren’t dirges — they’re blueprints for how to be properly alive. This alchemical high-wire act can’t be easy to pull off, especially when their signature sing-along line is, “I think my life is passing me by”. But they’ve managed to keep us sane through the tumult, even if the arena-ready anthems are undercut by the agony of being fully human in inhuman conditions.
Sam Roberts Band moves emphatically towards the 21st year of the 21st century, where life isn’t just passing us by, it’s coming at us with a chainsaw and an eviction notice. In this swirl of malevolence, salvation arrives not in the narrow kinship of the wolf pack, but in a much larger program of solidarity. The clue is in their latest album’s title: All Of Us. Everyone, locked together in the insane asylum that constitutes late capitalism’s plague-sickened socio-economic matrix, fighting to be free. We have now lived through a strange eon where togetherness breeds contagion, but being trapped in our silos is far deadlier — a road to anger and hatred that has nearly collapsed the supporting beams of every institution worth fighting for.
Sam Roberts Band continue to deliver their legacy of hit singles to take over the airwaves, including their latest tracks ‘Ascension’, ‘I Like The Way You Talk About The Future’ and ‘Take Me Away’. Their fiery spirit and infectious rock have made their live shows legendary, earning them performing spots everywhere from Letterman and Conan to Bonnaroo, ACL, Lollapalooza and Bumbershoot, and alongside heroes like the Rolling Stones and AC/DC.
Tuesday, July 13
Stampede Summer Stage
New this year