Sam Roberts @ Commodore -- 02/27/15

It's been a few years since I last saw Sam Roberts and his Band play live, and apparently nine years since they last graced the stage of the Commodore Ballroom. Which is probably why they were playing back to back sold-out shows this weekend, on the heels of last year's latest album, Lo-Fantasy. 

I caught the first of the two nights, unfortunately missing both local acts that opened the show, Pigeon Park and The River & The Road. 

I arriving just in time for Sam Roberts Band to hit the stage, with a giant LED screen behind the band. Most of the time the screen had shapes, colours, and patterns to go along with the songs, but a few times it had something more specific; old clips of Detroit in 1967 for the appropriate song, or a direct feed from a camera that was sitting on stage, pointing out into the crowd.

The Montreal band delved into Lo-Fantasy early with "Shapeshifters" and "Human Heat" kicking things off, before hitting songs from all previous albums (and showcasing just how many hits the band has). There was lots of singing along throughout the night, which started early with "Where Have All The Good People Gone?" and lots of dancing (well, weak-moshing/jumping, perhaps to prove that "Them Kids" did not, in fact, know how to dance to rock 'n' roll). Other highlights included the jangly keyboard of "Detroit '67", the driving, anthemic "Kid Icarus", and the dark and kind of brooding mood of "I Feel You".

"Chasing the Light" closed out the main set, but instead of the normal silence to tease the inevitable encore, there had glitchy, synth beats pumping out with a video on the big screen, leading up to a countdown for the band to reappear. They promised the crowd "We're All in This Together" before one last singalong, "Brother Down", that ended with Sam jumping into the photo pit to get right up with the crowd, and even grabbing the camera that fed to the big screen and playing cinematographer.

That ending right there would have been pretty good, but they weren't quite done. After an hour and a half, they still had one song left in the tank. One song that is not only my favourite Sam Roberts song, but unarguably their most epic, the ten-minute long "Mind Flood". The song ebbed and flowed with swirling psychedelic guitars and cacophonous drums, to built to an intense climax for the perfect ending to the show.

Shapeshifters, Human Heat, The Last Crusade, Where Have All The Good People Gone?, Golden Hour, Fixed to Ruin, Let It In, Detroit '67, Metal Skin, Kid Icarus, I Feel You, Hard Road, Them Kids, Bridge to Nowhere, Chasing the Light. 
(encore) We're All In This Together, Never Enough, Brother Down, Mind Flood.