Two Nights At The Kee To Bala With Sam Roberts Band: 2016

Sam Roberts Band Kee To Bala 2016

If you’re still reeling from two glorious nights of Sam Roberts Band at The Kee to Bala Labour Day weekend, you’re not the only one. It’s a week later, and I’m still struggling to make my words, mostly because Sunday’s show. (SUNDAY’S SHOW).

When you consider the release of TerraForm is right around the corner – October 28th, to be exact – it’s no surprise a fiend like me can barely function these days. It’s like everyday is like Sunday or something.

I knew SRB would destroy the Kee, because SRB always destroys The Kee. It’s as much a Muskoka tradition as the long weekend itself. Before we relive those two amazing nights, please note I made no requests this year.

This is relevant because my beloved Sam somehow read my mind and delivered the ONLY two things I wanted from an SRB show, ever, on Sunday night.  Unsurprisingly, the hero worship is out of control at our house right now.

Let us get to the highlight reel, sports fans! I mean, Sam fans! Or is it Sam-fam? Let’s go with Sam-fam because it rhymes, and again – do not expect much from me. In fact, if a fourth TerraForm pre-order song shows up, just sedate me until the stroke of midnight on October 28th, because I probably will not survive until then otherwise.

Sam Roberts Band_Kee_To_Bala_2016

We watched Saturday’s show from the balcony, with the hardcore fans who watch SRB up there every year. I love these folks ’cause they’ve seen SRB countless times – literally, they’ve stopped counting – and they’ve forgotten more about Sam than I will ever know.

SRB started the night with Detroit ’67, With A Bullet, and Fixed to Ruin. The crowd-pleasers (Where Have All The Good People Gone, Hard Road, Brother Down, and Don’t Walk Away Eileen) almost ripped the roof off the place, and TerraForm’s first offering, If You Want It, just gets better and better every time it’s played live. See?

Josh’s drumming is always perfect. This is nothing new. He never makes mistakes, ever. Likewise, Eric and his keyboards. No spoiler alert required – just perfection, as per usual.

Here is Saturday’s setlist . . .

Sam Roberts Band Setlist The Kee to Bala, Muskoka, ON, Canada 2016

The obvious highlight Saturday? An American Draft Dodger in Thunder Bay. Carolyn (from Thunder Bay, of course) launched a relentless Twitter campaign to get SRB to play her song. The actual draft would’ve been easier to dodge than Carolyn, and thanks to her endless devotion, a solid percentage of the audience – myself included – knocked an incredible rare live gem off our SRB Setlist Wishlist.

Speaking of setlists, here’s Sunday’s  . . .

Sam Roberts Band Setlist The Kee to Bala, Muskoka, ON, Canada 2016

If you’ve got an SRB addiction and need a support group, might I suggest Sam Roberts Band Superfans on FB? Shannon –  admin of all things Superfan, passionate Periscoper, and all ’round delight – organized the SRBSF’s inaugural pre-Kee drinks at The Bala Bay Inn, and next year’s reunion alone is reason enough to join the group, if you ask me.

It turns out if you tailgate in the Bala Bay Inn parking lot pre-Kee – rather than drink on the patio, which we also did – you will get shut down. It doesn’t matter if Denny and Terry created a Northstar-inspired cocktail that would’ve made Sam, James, and Eric all proud. Also, drunk. It would’ve made them all drunk, but definitely proud, too.

Summerville Sunny Lemon Tina

It’s my pleasure to present the first-ever recipe here at The Bootleg Saint. All the way from Pennsylvania, it’s . . .

The Summerville’s Sunny Lemon Tina

Ingredients: Lemon-Lime Vodka, Sweet Tea, Orange Juice, and Sprite

Directions: Pour a few fingers of vodka over ice, add the sweet tea, the OJ, and a splash of Sprite. Keep in mind, too much sweet tea will make the drink murky, says Denny, the host you see above. Please drink responsibly, and promise you will use a red Solo cup.


On Sunday night, we braved the floor, and when the band launched into Taj Mahal I started to think we might’ve made the right decision. During the show, Sam said fuck a few times, Josh wore his G n’ R shirt, Dave spit beer all over the place. It was the real deal – the full experience, as these things go – and it was amazing.

Sam wore those tie-dyed shirts from Maine both nights. It appears we’ve changed the uniform from SRB shirts to tie-dyed shirts, and he forgot to tell me. I am going to tie-dye my SRB shirts before the TerraForm tour starts, just in case.

If you stay at The Bala Bay Inn, you can hear the soundcheck from the hotel, and when it comes to amenities, that’s all you really need, I guess. Brock says he heard a couple bars of The Canadian Dream Saturday afternoon, but I heard no such thing. He said nothing at the time, because he doesn’t play games with my heart as a rule, and if it wasn’t played, I might’ve cried.

But it WAS played, and I still almost cried, mostly because I wanted nothing more in entire world than to chant S-O-C-I-A-L-I-S-M with Sam! It’s always busted out in the best places (like Jackson-Triggs, or all-request Minotaur shows in London, ON) without me – until now.

You’ll have to forgive me – I did not record one second of the song, ’cause I just wanted to sing along with everybody else, because that’s the point of this one. Surprisingly, nothing’s shown up on YouTube yet, but when it does, you will be the first to know.

Additional weekend highlights include Nuge, who was particularly on fire with two beyond-exceptional performances, including a stellar Mind Flood closing out Sunday night, and James (in general), who I just love, but if he does not tone down his fierce fashion choices, my heart will explode and I will RIP. The black makeup he wore Sunday night – symbols drawn all over his face inspired by a conversation about philosophy while sunbathing with Chet, apparently – blows the kimono right outta Bala Bay.

James Hall Kee To Bala 2016

Speaking of Chet, The Kee is the first time I’ve personally seen resident saxologist Chet Doxas on stage with the band in over a year, and undeniably, there’s a fuller, richer overall sound when Chet and his sax are around. A prime example of this includes the best Uprising Down Under I’ve ever heard, played on Saturday night.

You cannot see Josh, Eric, or Chet when you’re mashed up against The Kee stage – you can only hear the flawless sounds of Josh, Eric, and Chet. This is the price you pay for proximity. You’re rewarded with a drumstick (thank you, Josh!), AND the best possible view of Sam hoisted up to surf the crowd – the OTHER only thing I ever wanted from an SRB show, ever.

Sam Roberts Crowd Surf Kee To Bala

We missed Bala 2015, Sam crowd surfed, and my heart broke into a million pieces. Then it happened again and again, and we missed it, again and again . . . until Sunday night. Sam climbed off the stage during Brother Down, disappeared into the crowd, and miraculously – magically, even – ended up right behind us.

Here’s two videos. The first is mine and it will not win any cinematography awards, ’cause I kinda lost my shit, but you’ll get the idea . . .

And here’s a second video from the balcony I found on YouTube . . .

Somewhere along the way, Sam lost a shoe in the crowd, and half the audience offered theirs up in return. Sam took special care to return an especially fancy boot to it’s rightful owner. Eventually, Sam got his shoe back – thank God, because I would’ve lost all faith in humanity if he did not – and everything was right in the world again.

You’d think, given I’m a claustrophobic germaphobe who is terrified of rough crowds, the front row of a sold-out Kee show might not be the best place for me, and you’d probably be right. (Case in point:  when someone behind me kindly offered their shoe up to Sam, beer from said shoe poured out – all over my face).

So, I don’t know if I would’ve given the floor a chance, considering the unusually rowdy crowd the night before, without the SRBSFs . . . Marni and Steve – who came all the way from Halifax – Denny, Terry, Carolyn, Shannon, and SRBSF-in-training Alicia . . . but I’m SO HAPPY I did, because it ended up being one of the best concert experiences – SRB or otherwise – EVER. There’s not a chance I would’ve enjoyed my only two real goals in life – a live Canadian Dream experience and witnessing Sam crowd surf with my own two eyes – as much if I wasn’t on the floor with this crew, that’s for sure.

It’s like Sam always says – stay true to your friends, ’cause they’ll save you in the end. See you next year, Bala!

(All photo credits except Sam in the crowd and James: Judy Robinson, who convinced me to go to The Kee in the first place! xoxo, Judy!)

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Sam Roberts Band’s NEW ALBUM TerraForm is coming October 28th!

Behold! This is the cover of TerraForm, the long-awaited seventh album from SAM ROBERTS BAND.

Sam Roberts Band Terraform

STOP YOUR LIFE, and go pre-order this record right now. You’ll get TerraForm the title track, and it’s just the most beautiful wall of sound ever. We’ve got a release date – October 28th –  we’ve got the title track, and we’ve got this track listing  . . .

1. TerraForm
3. If You Want It
4. Black Spark
5. Roll With The Spirits
6. Ritual Dance
7. Tourist Trap
8. Rogue Empire
9. Lake Effect
10. The House Inside
11. Spring Fever

Beyond the amazing news of a beautifully official release date and a gorgeous new song, we’ve also got NEW TOUR DATES – SRB is bringing their flawless live game and NEW RECORD to eleven cities across Quebec, Atlantic Canada (with Adam Baldwin!), and the Eastern US in November, and tickets are ON SALE NOW. (Check the band’s FB for the most complete listings, including the American dates).

We don’t know much about TerraForm yet, but here’s what Sam said in the Universal press release:

“Terraforming is the concept going to another planet and making it viable and livable for humans.  But in a sense, for this record it can be seen as planting the seeds for that sort renewal in your own life – that regardless how much you have broken the parts your life along the way, there is always a chance to start over.”

And here’s what he told  The Leader-Post before the band’s triumphant return to Regina Folk Fest in July:

“In terms of this record, like the nature of it, I really think that it’s very much an album and not just a collection of songs. It’s meant to be listened to from start to finish. I think in some ways, part of the inspiration behind it, was to make a bit of a musical journey in a way — something that would induce a state of mind that you occupy for the duration of the album — I hope that people hear it and listen to it in that way.” 

TerraForm the title track is THE perfect start to any musical journey, and a start-to-finish listen is exactly how I’d describe my very, very most favourite SRB album Chemical City.

Now go pre-order TerraForm the album, because TerraForm the song will blow your mind and steal your heart all at the same time. If you haven’t heard this song yet, brace yourself.

And if you haven’t seen the TerraForm merchandise yet, then you better sit down.

There’s two (2) limited edition records – a glow-in-the-dark limited press from, and there’s also a translucent splatter limited press from Paper Bag Records. Only 500 of each record will be available – unless you enjoy hunting limited edition vinyl down when it’s nearly impossible to find (trust me – you do not), your best bet is ordering right now before everything sells out.

There’s a box set and a t-shirt and a signed guitar and a lithograph and it’s enough to satisfy even the most raging of SRB addictions, including my own. All this fun stuff is available on the band’s website.

Perhaps most importantly, all this delicious pre-order swag comes with a pre-sale access code for tickets to select dates on SRB’s upcoming TerraForm tour, and this will come in handy later.

TerraForm is available October 28, and the tour kicks off November 2 in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

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NEW Sam Roberts Band! IF YOU WANT IT is finally here!

And just like that, the summer of #SRBLP6 started on Saturday with the release of IF YOU WANT IT, the tremendous new single from Sam Roberts Band we’ll hear absolutely everywhere this summer.

If You Want It

This is not a REVIEW of SRB’s new single IF YOU WANT IT, because a review would be silly. I’ve got a raging SRB addiction, and I wear my heart on the sleeve of my Canadian tuxedo when it comes to those guys and their music.

This is a CELEBRATION of SRB’s new single IF YOU WANT IT, because if early signs are any indicator, this infectious sing-and-dance-along gem just might become the song of the summer.

If I may be so bold, I would like to throw the term “perfect Sam Roberts Band song” out there. If you don’t like it, you can send it right back, BUT judging by the overwhelmingly positive response on social media this weekend, absolutely everybody wants IF YOU WANT IT.

From the Twitter . . .

In Ontario, good taste runs in the family  . . .    Tweet_Shannon And our American friends will hold out as long as it takes for iTunes to give up the goods:Tweet_Karen In other news, the merch demands started already, because that’s what happens when the artwork is so rad.

It would be impossible for the mad, mad fan love to burn any brighter on the band’s Facebook page. Here’s a random sample, but it’s all exactly like this . . .
If You Want It Facebook

There’s also no way I can keep up with the Facebook views, and the shares are endless, too.

No official #SRBLP6 release date yet, but after this weekend’s beautifully flawless release (Apple Music! Beats 1! The Strombo Show!) of such a ridiculously impressive first jam, it’s probably best we’ve got some time to brace ourselves before we hear anything else.

Until then, you can download IF YOU WANT IT on iTunes, and if you use Apple Music, you can relive the song’s premiere on The Strombo Show over and over again.

Your first possible chance to hear IF YOU WANT IT live – if it makes Sam’s setlist, of course – is this Thursday at Winnipeg Folkfest.

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IF YOU WANT IT debuts on Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio TODAY!

The Sam Roberts Band is revealing their brand new jam IF YOU WANT IT to the whole entire world with Apple Music and Strombo today, and it’s all so perfectly perfect I can barely make my words.

This isn’t your standard episode of The Strombo Show. It isn’t even your standard, extra-special Canada Day episode of The Strombo Show. Today’s date with our boyfriend George starts off the first-ever Canadian takeover of Apple Music’s radio station Beats 1, and this takeover gloriously includes the debut of the long-awaited first single from #SRBLP6.

A debut on Beats 1 is a big deal because it means the SRB’s new single will be streamed to Apple Music listeners in more than a hundred countries around the world this weekend.

Takeover The New Canada Strombo If You Want It

It’s also the first of five Canadian takeovers set for Beats 1 on Saturdays in the month of July, all designed to share our best and brightest musical exports – like those national treasures the SRB, for example – with the rest of the world.

If you’re dying to hear IF YOU WANT IT, listen to Apple Music’s Beats 1 at 2pm EST / Noon MT today.

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Sam Roberts Band just shot a video for their NEW SINGLE

We must be closer than ever to new music from Sam Roberts Band, because our beloved SRB just filmed a music video for the first single off their new record this weekend.

The SRB’s new (!!!!) single is called IF YOU WANT IT, and here are some very mysterious photos from the SRB’s video shoot on Sunday at Pie In The Sky Studios in Toronto . . .

Video Shoot_Eric

Video Shoot_James

Video Shoot_Dave

Video Shoot_Sam

Video Shoot_Josh

My mind is still kinda blown from watching videos of Sam crowd surfing his way across Ontario this weekend, and my video production knowledge is very limited / non-existent, but if that’s green screen, anything is possible. Also, I counted exactly five (5) members of the SRB in these photos – does this mean we’re returning to the days of I Feel You, when videos featured the entire band?

And if there’s a green screen, what can we expect for visuals? What about special effects? When will we see the video? And when will we hear the single on the radio, exactly?

So many questions! So few answers! Only SRB knows for sure.

All I know is a delightfully official hashtag appeared online Sunday, and we’ve gotta be close if there’s an official hashtag, right? I sure hope so, because the summer of #SRBLP6 can’t get here fast enough for me.

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