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Sam Roberts Band – Chemical City

The trend, if you want to call it that, for naming a band after the leading man (or woman) was retired a while back, along with the 8-track tape. If anyone deserves to bring it back in style it’s Sam Roberts. The McGill University English graduate has a lot on his mind, and communicates it well, both in word and in song.

After the success of Robert’s debut We Were Born In A Flame, the Montreal group (Dave Nugent, lead guitar; Eric Fares, keyboards; James Hall, bass; Billy Anthopoulos, drums) returns from the lands and water of New South Wales where they took the term “religious experience” to a whole new level, using a renovated Presbyterian church as their home base for recording and writing Chemical City.


As a writer, a musician, an artist, Roberts is in a mode of observation; drinking in the world around him and reflecting it back out in sparkling waves of rock ‘n’ roll that rise with the tide, soothing at times and torrential in others. Floating harmonies transcend into a psychedelic brain trip on “Mind Flood,” and conflicts within our societies are experienced in “An American Draft Dodger in Thunder Bay.” The influence of their surroundings is felt on “Uprising Down Under,” with a country essence and folk charm, but whose words are less than lofty, “You feel the weight of the world on your shoulders / ‘Cause every day gets shorter and colder / Hand in hand we walk through a land of fire / the mountains bleed red as the sun gets higher.”

While a large segment of our country’s population is enthralled with celebrity gossip and the flaccid makings of millionaire pop stars, the rest of us who are paying attention have some anthems in our pocket to inspire, to console and rock out to, compliments of Sam Robert Band.

After Mother Nature pulled the plug on their appearance at the Sasquatch Festival in Washington this past weekend, the band has stayed positive and will arrive ready to make Boulder’s ears ring at Trilogy this Monday, June 5. They play with Damnwells and Slow Runner.


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