We plotted a couple hundred Sam Roberts Band live videos on a map, because why the heck not?
They’re a touring rock band, after all. What better way to track the comings and goings of our beloved SRB than with a map covering a healthy dose of their live shows over the years?
All these videos can be found on YouTube, but some require a deeper, more determined search than others. Sometimes, the best videos have almost no views, and that’s just tragic. We’ve creeped (deep), and found some gems you might not have seen before, and some classics you’ve committed to memory for sure.
Just click the map below to get started. (It’s also a widget over there. See?)
The only things you really need to know: The map is searchable – search Brother, you’ll get Brother Down. Search Grog Shop, you’ll go to Ohio. Zoom in, and you’ll narrow down your options. Click a numbered icon, and those videos will appear in the sidebar along the right.
Never enough: The live SRB videos on YouTube are almost endless, so there’s definitely more than a few missing here.If you’ve filmed the SRB live in the flesh in your town, and uploaded said live, in the flesh performance to YouTube, just send the link and we’ll be sure to add.
The medium is definitely the message: In a testament to the time, we’ve included a few videos of the earliest of days we could find, when Eric played guitar and nobody wasted their time with haircuts. These videos are lo-def, high energy. Might I suggest On The Run at The Paradiso in Amsterdam? It is a delightful vintage, and you will not be disappointed. Promise.
When the Sam Roberts Band released Chemical City in 2006, the critics used words like “magnificent slab of psychedelia flavored rock”, “sumptuous,” and “anthemic” – their “most ambitious work to date,” they said.
Some loved the new stuff – the evolution, if you will – while others just wanted Sam to make another We Were Born in A Flame, and who can blame them, really? Change is hard – scary, even – and We Were Born In A Flame is so very, very good.
Sadly, there will never be another We Were Born In A Flame, just like there will never be another Chemical City. Happily, the evolution will no doubt continue with the SRB’s new, yet-to-be-released sixth studio album. Before we go crazy because there’s a NEW ALBUM in the works, let’s celebrate the last ten years of Chemical City with ten random facts about the SRB’s sophomore album, shall we?
1. Somewhere between We Were Born In A Flame and Chemical City, in the first few months of 2005, Sam and his wife Jen traveled all over the place: South Africa, Holland, Australia. Was it wanderlust or running from themselves? We’ll never know. We do know they found an old church in Newrybar, in Australia’s Byron Bay, and the old church became one of two studios where the band recorded the album.
2. Why Australia?
“We were looking for somewhere in the southern hemisphere because we wanted it to be hot. I didn’t want to make another winter record,” Sam told Canoe.ca’s Jane Stevenson. “I honestly believe the weather influences the outcome in a big way, and it was a freezing cold winter in Montreal. So Australia was just staring right in our faces and none of us had ever been there before.”
3. Matt Mays joined Sam in Australia, and he played the guitar and sang on Uprising Down Under. (The Internet also says they surfed a lot). Matt also joined the band in CBC’s Studio 211 for their Lo-Fantasy special and a little Uprising Down Under.
4. The SRB’s friend Joseph Donovan produced this record (and he won a Juno for producing the next one, Love at the End of the World), and the band also recorded some of Chemical City at Stock Market Audio in Montreal.
5. Released in April 2006 (May in the USA), Chemical City gave us three singles – The Gate, Bridge to Nowhere, and With A Bullet. Directed by Dave Pawsey (who also directed Them Kids, Detroit ’67, Shapeshifters, and co-directed I Feel You with Jonathan Legris), Bridge to Nowhere won the Juno Award for Best Video in 2007.
6. The cover of Chemical City is a stunner.
If you wish you could create incredible art too, good news – there’s a class for that. The illustrator – Alberta-born artist Ken Dewar – is also a sessional instructor at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. Ken took the band’s sci-fi / fantasy inspired ideas, and “came back with this incredible thing, right off the top,” says Sam in this canoe.ca article from back in the day. “And I was, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe that this is going to be on our record.'”
7. There’s a Japanese release of Chemical City, with a Japanese sleeve covering alternate cover art and two bonus tracks: Fall Before You Finish, and Embrasse Moi. Good reasons to add this one to your collection (it’s around, you’ve just gotta look), include the aforementioned bonus tracks (Fall Before is especially stellar), and the cover, because Sam is wearing what appears to be a most incredible dashiki, and there’s kimonos inside.
8. Sam the Songwriter prepared for Chemical City by not, um, preparing for Chemical City, mostly, and it’s all because he read the Neil Young autobiography Shakey.
“You know, Neil would sit down to record with Crazy Horse or whoever he was working with at the time, and he would have a couple of riffs, and that would be it. They would make a record like that,”Sam told Vancouver’s Georgia Straight back in 2006. “And I just love those records, where they were working through problems but the Record button was constantly on.”
9. On the List of Songs The SRB Never Play Live, A Stone Would Cry Out comes out on top. In this YouTube video of a live performance from Sonic Records, Sam himself says we’ll “never hear it,” because he’s “saving it for the retirement years.” Let’s say you can’t wait that long – you’re a master piano player who’s desperate for a live version, so you’re just going to recreate this lovely jam at home – that’s not gonna happen, either. Sam broke the bad news to the blog Apocalypse Now back in 2009:
“There’s a very specific set of things that has to happen to a piano to get that tone. We were in Australia and there was this very old Australian guy who lived out in the middle of the bush and owned a piano shop. And we went up there one day and picked out a piano that sounded perfectly fine. He put it on the back of his delivery truck a week later after tuning it, supposedly,” explained Sam. “Then he brought it by one of the bumpiest roads you could imagine and dropped it off and the thing sounded the way that it did. It went from being a very normal piano to being a very irregular piano, but to me that is what gave the song it’s personality. That sound just kinda came out.”
10. Single number three With a Bullet – or Bullet, as it’s noted on set lists – is a fan favourite, but this little gem didn’t receive the love it deserves back then. In fact, there wasn’t even a video . . . until the band released this incredible live version filmed at Montreal’s Metropolis in 2012, and it was totally worth the wait.
Serious question: How soon is too soon to go crazy about this? Maybe even download an app to start counting the days? Is it too soon? I don’t think so. There’s enough Likes out there to establish we’re already all excited, and our beloved Sam Roberts Band have only just started recording.
If we’re a week or two into things, do we start throwing the term “recorded” around? How does that process work, exactly? Do verb tenses matter? Does anything matter? It doesn’t really, does it? Nothing matters except the glorious news SAM ROBERTS BAND IS RECORDING A NEW ALBUM.
I’m sorry for that bad Counting the Days joke I just made. If we’re being honest, I also throw Sam’s lyrics into errryday conversation so people think I’m smarter than I actually am. They’re always like, “You’re right, Annie – time IS a slippery fish now,” and I’m all like, “I know, right!?”
More confessions – I realize I dropped off the face of the Earth, guys, and I’m sorry. It’s a long story, and completely unrelated to our beloved SRB, so who cares, really? We’ve already figured out the only thing that matters here: SAM ROBERTS BAND IS RECORDING A NEW ALBUM.
Exactly everything we know:
SRB is recording their new album at The Bathouse Studio, a two-hundred-year-old(ish) coachhouse-turned-recording-studio, owned by The Tragically Hip just outside Kingston, Ontario. Sometimes old houses are cold, so that’s probably why Sam is wearing a poncho, and most photos are all plaid and hoodies and jackets.
Graham Walsh is producing SRB’s new album. If you’re into electronica, you might already know Graham from the band Holy Fuck. They’ve got a new release coming out in May. And y’know The Great Detachment? That new Wintersleep record everyone loves? He worked on that one, too. Other names we could drop right now include Alvvays, Viet Cong, Rich Aucoin, and Lights.
You can know stuff and creep SRB at The Bathouse in somewhat real-time, if you follow both their Twitter AND Instagram accounts. (Josh’s, too – he’s thoughtfully geared up a drum cam for us and everything).
In 2004, the SRB recorded some Chemical City demos at the Hip’s studio, and everybody knows Chemical City is The Opus. I spend an excessive – perhaps slightly even obsessive – amount of time thinking about these kinda things, and I can’t dream up a better possible start to the new record than ponchos in Kingston. Here’s all we’ve got right now, friends. It’s early days, and the video is just a few seconds, but it’s obvious something beautiful is surfacing at The Bathouse.
(welcome to really rad juno coverage, sports fans, all thanks to shannon daggett – aka @writegirl17. shannon is a girl after my own heart – she went to juno cup in hamilton to cheer on the rockers, and our MVP – lucky number 14 – sam roberts. if you missed the game, no worries – here’s the highlight reel, courtesy of our resident sports reporter-photographer – thanks so much, shannon!)
Last Friday I had the distinct pleasure of attending the 2015 #JunoCup in Hamilton. A charity event which pits former pro-hockey players such as Wendel Clark, Rick Vaive, and Gary Roberts against The Rockers including Chris Crippin from @Hedleyonline, Jon Gallant from @BillyTalentband, and – your favourite and mine – #14 Sam Roberts from @SamRobertsBand
This was my first time at any Junos event and I was impressed by the number of Rockers vs NHL Greats (31-12), and by the number of fans in the crowd. As a hockey fan (what true Canadian isn’t?), I was expecting a good time but I was really impressed with how much fun this event was. I’ve seen my fair share of live pro hockey games and the Greats still had “it”. They skate like they’re floating over the ice and instinctively know where their fellow players are and where the pucks coming from Intermission brought some fun little skill games and then the second half brought out why I was there: Sam.
I’m pretty late to the SRB phenomenon, not sure why but likely because I was stuck in SesameStreet/Dora/Disneyland while I raised my own two children, and various others between 2001 and today. However, better late than never and since last year my SRB obsession has taken over my Ipod, truck radio and Pinterest page. My husband has acknowledged my addiction and presented me with four tickets to the Sam Roberts Band concert in Buffalo for my birthday with the instructions to take three friends for a SR Girls Weekend. Best. Gift. Evah. Also, best concert I’ve ever been to (and I’ve seen SRB before that).
But I digress. I ended up at the Juno Cup as part of a Juno’s weekend that started off with @22crusher saying I should volunteer as a seat filler, and btw did I know that SRB was going to be at the Junos? Um, I’m in. A friend helps you hide a body; a best friend gets you tickets to the Juno Cup so you can cheer on your singing hero.
@10kmom comes with to support her Jim Cuddy addiction and we somehow choose seats right where the players are coming onto the ice. As I realize this and see Sam’s a mere 6 feet away from me, I turn into a screaming teenage girl (inside) and have to mentally restrain myself from leaping over the small wall screaming “I love you, sing Uprising Down Under to me right now!!”
Instead I distract myself by taking photos of him waiting to play in the second half:
Who knew Sam Roberts was such an amazing skater? He obviously has skill, and loves to play. He’s able to keep up with the alumni and has a fierce competitive streak (as evidenced by the fact he was in the middle of the action during every shift).
I thoroughly enjoyed the night and had some luck with the camera. I was able to print off some of my better shots and present them to him at #JunoFanFare the next day as a memory, and got a special 8 x10 original picture signed by Sam.
The first step is admitting you have a problem. I’d go watch @samrobertsband open an envelope, but a hockey game? Hells yeah!!
Thanks to thebootlegsaint for liking my photos, and offering me the chance to share my thoughts on #Junocup and our mutual affection for @SamRobertsBand
Keep Chasing the Light!
(thanks SO MUCH for sharing your experience and awesome photos, shannon! now go check out Shannon’s blog, you guys – http://expresscheckout8.blogspot.ca/ – she says she just might update it, BUT even if she does not, you can read all about why she loves the SRB, and those kinda stories are my favourite. And follow her on Twitter, too – she’s fun, and super loves the SRB – it’s @writegirl17).