Category Archives: tour

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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happy sam roberts band weekend, vancouver!

sam roberts at the town ballroom in buffalo - via danielle fortier

is there anything better than brother down?

i’m gonna vote no. i’m also gonna vote on behalf of danielle fortier, who took this awesome photo at the town ballroom in buffalo. if you think brother down sounds best in your town, please – let’s debate. any and all nominations happily accepted. i can play this game for days.

the sam roberts band will most definitely play brother down at the interior saving center – they kick off their western winter tour in kamloops tonight – before SRB weekend starts at the commodore in vancouver, and there’s nothing (NOTHING) i love more than a good SRB weekend.

first, a brief recap of the last leg of the lo-fantasy tour – buffalo, toronto, and windsor. it’s brief mostly ’cause i wasn’t actually there, but let’s not get too bogged down with technicalities, because you guys are the absolute BEST, and sent me your rad stuff. i love rad stuff.

from buffalo, we’ve got both friday and saturday’s setlists from the town ballroom, and you can find those on the SRB setlist page. thank you, thank you, karen and charles!! captured this pretty darn great version of the SRB’s juno-nominated we’re all in this together and @cupioproabeo shared with me via the twitter machine . . .

the SRB sold out massey hall, and the photos and reviews are as lovely as you’d hope the photos and reviews from an SRB valentine’s day show would be, complete with roses on jean jacket lapels and a surprise backstage marriage proposal. you think of everything, SRB.

the next day in windsor, the world’s greatest sam roberts cover band, minotaur, played an acoustic set at dr. disc, and the SRB shook everybody’s hands and signed everybody’s stuff. it was like, minus fifty-ish that day in windsor (or something), and the place was STILL packed. iridium films captured everything right here . . .

that night, the SRB played caesar’s windsor, and social media raved about the show the next day. my sources – all reliable, i promise – tell me windsor was phenomenal, and if you need actual proof, here’s the windsor setlist. (ps: thanks so much for sending this, adam!)

caesars windsor, windsor, ON - 02.15.15 (via @adbail)

there’s just one east coast show left before juno week starts – the SRB hit the hometown ice march 7th at the metropolis.  beyond the two (2!) nominations – single of the year and rock album of the year – sam plays juno cup hockey friday, the band will sign your stuff at juno       fan fare saturday, and you can see them play the juno award show sunday night.

wow. whatta weekend. it’s like mmva weekend all over again, but we’ve substituted craft beer for hockey gear. if there’s anybody out there who’d like to actively juno-creep the SRB for me, please tell your people to call my people right away.

tonight, the SRB plays the interior savings centre in kamloops. there’s still tickets left. tomorrow, there’s a winners-only show at vancouver’s lift bar and grill, courtesy of cfox, then the first of two (2!) nights at the commodore, but before i actually get to vancouver (aka SRB show number twenty and twenty one, respectively), i’ve gotta confess something:

this blog is a total lie. it’s the bootleg saint, and it should be the bootlegsaintS, but there’s only one bootleg saint in chemical city, and we must always respect the creative genius of sam (always).  there’s two people behind this blog. first, in alphabetical order, there’s me. i’m annie.  i write posts and work the twitter. there’s also brock, who handles all things technical. if the site crashes and someone’s gotta call go daddy, it’s him. i freak out about juno nominations, session ale, and sam wearing hats. brock loses his mind over arpeggios and josh. we both know all the words to everything.

if you ask brock, he will tell you HE introduced ME to the sam roberts band, and he’s spread this vicious web of lies from coast to coast for over a decade now, mostly because he’s convinced himself it’s true. if you ask me, i’ll tell you the truth and swear on sam – i heard brother down first.

this weekend, we’re gonna bring our battle of alberta (girls vs. boys) to vancouver to settle the score once and for all. we’ve both prepared friday night setlists, and we’ll compare these setlists to sam’s friday night setlist. the person who gets the most songs correct is obviously the person who heard the SRB first, right? right.

i’m gonna channel sam now, tweak my setlist, and plan my victory party. the soundtrack? the inhuman condition, of course. here’s brother down – see you at the commodore, vancouver!

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two nights at the jubilee with the sam roberts band

right! i think we’re all agreed here – two classic SRB shows at alberta’s jubilees north and south, respectively. our beloved sam roberts band finally – FINALLY – made lo-fantasy a reality in wildrose country after our long (so long!) and lonely (so lonely!) SRB-less summer.

photo credit: lisa mueller

photo credit: lisa mueller

what if we picked a winner in the SRB’s  battle of alberta? because there are battles of alberta, y’know. it’s an actual thing here. oilers vs. flames, edmonton vs. calgary. it happens. i don’t know much about hockey, but i know there can’t be two winners. i know the oilers and flames don’t share the cup.  i also know if the SRB were a hockey team, i’d totally cheer for them.

that is exactly everything i know about hockey.

i almost – thisclose! – declared the battle a draw, because you’re my countrymen, my comrades, and i love you both, edmonton and calgary. i’ll admit i struggled for a few days to pick a winner, until i remembered this isn’t about me. i always have the best time ever at SRB shows because i always have the best time ever at SRB shows. i am a sure thing. 

this is about you, alberta, and you, beloved SRB.

fact:  the sam roberts band sold out the jubilee in edmonton. the sam roberts band did not sell out the jubilee in calgary. also, it must be noted the SRB sold out the jubilee in edmonton on saturday night with BOTH fleetwood mac at rexall place, and hometown heroes corb lund and smalls at the starlite room for their much-hyped reunion tour. these are facts, because you deserve the truth.

this also happened: the northern jubilee stood from the second the SRB took the stage to the second sam finished the handshakes and high fives of brother down. the southern jubilee needed sam’s permission to stand. edmonton and calgary! you guys are sooooo adorable! and predictable! we do this dance (or not) every. single. time.

more truth: we do not have a staff photographer here at the bootleg saint. this is mostly because we have no staff. if we hired staff, we’d definitely ask lisa mueller first. she took all the fantastic photos of the SRB at the northern jubilee, and ever-so-graciously let me use them here. thank you, lisa!  

photo credit: lisa mueller

photo credit: lisa mueller

speaking of lisa . . . lots (lots!) of devoted, long-time SRB fans at both shows. lots of people who knew the words to all the singalongs, AND lo-fantasy. unsurprsingly, both nights relied heavily on lo-fantasy, and by design lo-fantasy works so beautifully live. the masses have spoken, and they know all the words. people are listening to lo-fantasy, and they’re listening on repeat.

live beauty at the northern jubilee: with a bullet. it’s one of my all-time favourite SRB songs and always a highlight for me. flawless visuals matched the SRB’s flawless performance. shapeshifters, angola, metal skin – it’s almost too much. it’s times like these i struggle to make my words. in other news,  a couple got engaged in edmonton. i didn’t witness this personally, but it’s becoming more and more common at SRB shows, so i’ll take the reports as gospel. awww moment edmonton: a girl gave her front-row spot to another girl, who desperately wanted to be close to sam, and almost immediately burst into tears. may the girl who gave up her front-row spot be blessed with good karma forever and ever.

live beauty at the southern jubilee: that setlist, tho! sam! seriously!!! detroit ’67, up sister, and every part of me back to back (to back)?! minds blown, hearts broken, wow. detroit ’67 works so absolutely perfectly with the rock spectacle of the lo-fantasy tour it should become a nightly staple, because it was definitely a highlight in calgary. aww moment calgary: sam gave his setlist to a pregnant woman in the front row “for the baby” because of course he did. what, did you think he wouldn’t? i worry about you sometimes.

just in case you didn’t believe me, here’s calgary’s setlist courtesy of cara agar . . .

SRB Setlist - Calgary, November 2014

home truths: i have heard much – much! – about kid icarus over the last few days! mostly about the drums. also, much talk about sam’s guitar in uprising down under, and how james plays the synthesizer in chasing the light. if anybody would like to discuss the guitar playing talents of dave nugent at great length, please – call my house.  i can’t contribute to these technical talks. “one-note solos, high on the neck, with no mistakes ever,” apparently. that’s probably why i leave every SRB show completely convinced i could learn to play guitar just like nuge, but i think that’s just ’cause he works so hard to make everything look so effortless. 

pro tip: if you’re like me and can’t be trusted to buy a poster at a concert without destroying it before you get home, don’t worry – you can buy canadian tour posters (also tote bags and shirts) right here.

and the winner is . . .  edmonton. lit with help from the tragically hip all those years ago, northern alberta’s fire for the SRB burns as strong as ever. you’ve officially won the completely unofficial lo-fantasy battle of alberta, edmonton. let’s keep our fingers crossed we can play this game again in a couple of years. until then, edmonton, here is a treat from the calgary show – it’s every part of me. enjoy!

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sold out! the SRB’s first night in alberta

SRB at the jube in edmonton - november 15, 2014

the sam roberts band sold out the jubilee in edmonton last night.

WARNING: this is just a teaser post. hang tight – full alberta coverage including my pre-show chat with sam is on the way. until then, here’s last night’s set list:

Sam Roberts Band Setlist Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, AB, Canada 2014

i’ve never used the word ‘epic’ before, but an hour with sam roberts – THE sam roberts –  talking about everything from his daughter’s pet frogs to spotify to that time he saw morrissey in spain is pretty damn epic. it’s all i’m gonna talk about for the rest of my life.

speaking of things i love to talk about, we’ll cover the bold fashion choices of one mr. james hall some day here at the bootleg saint. he wore a kimono last night. obviously, the post will require much research and careful consideration. you can’t rush into things if a guy’s gonna wear a kimono. you’ve gotta do the kimono justice.

james hall in edmonton

sometimes, i forget it’s the official lo-fantasy tour, versus the kee, or a festival, or a bar, and i forget there’s going to be this huge flashy rock spectacle. endless props to Team SRB and their lighting guru ian mcdonald. how crazy impressive are those lights, tho?  seriously.

i see more and more girls crying at SRB shows, and i love these girls so, so much. like, if sam shakes your hand, and you start to cry? i. can’t. even. holy beatlemania. you steal my heart every time.

the only thing better than live SRB is live SRB with your friends – super happy our friends steve and rindi could come with last night, and big thanks to rindi for taking the rad photo at the top of this post.

i’ve gotta go now, ’cause calgary is a few hours away, and rock and roll doesn’t wait for anybody. brace yourselves, calgary. tonight we sing and dance and it will be glorious.

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back to valhalla: two nights at the kee with the sam roberts band

kee night two

if rock and roll is your religion, the kee to bala is one hell of a house of worship. if your religion, like mine, is heavily based on the musical scripture of the sam roberts band, the kee to bala is heaven on earth.

you can tell there’s something special about the kee before you even step inside. in real life (as opposed to things you just see on the internet) the big, white building on bala bay is larger than life.  on both nights of SRB weekend at the kee, the line up outside starts hours before the doors open.  a few sad faces linger by the ticket window; on the first night, a tall blonde girl waves a fan of twenties in the air. the show is sold out, but she hasn’t lost hope, and who can blame her? when it comes to these kinda things, there is always hope. 

soldout at the kee

the kee lives up to the hype. it radiates this magical energy so tangible it competes with muskoka’s late summer humidity for air space, and consumes the line of already-excited fans waiting for the doors to open. before long, the line reaches the street. at the front, there’s people who’ve seen the SRB forty (FORTY) or fifty (FIFTY) times. the vibe is amazing, and the collective love for the sam roberts band is absolutely staggering.

over the last eleven years, the SRB’s annual summer show at the kee evolved into a sold-out, make-or-break labour day weekend tradition. these days, summer in bala is not officially over until sam roberts sings.  on  the 102.1 edge special up close and personal (which is reeealllllllllly great, by the way), sam even says it’s his favourite place to play.

photo by jessica doyle (@coralrosebud)

you can always count on jessica doyle (@coralrosebud) for front-row SRB photos. she took this great shot of sam and dave on night one, and i kinda love it. (a lot). thanks, jessica!

the kee isn’t a bar, exactly, and it isn’t a theatre, and it definitely isn’t outside, where freak show-stopping storms break everybody’s hearts. (i’m talking about you, regina). instead, the kee is the perfect storm in cottage country – it’s an end-of-summer party at a legendary venue, hosted by one of the country’s most talented and beloved rock bands.

live music does not get better than the sam roberts band at the kee, and nobody knows this better than the fans who flock year after year. unsurprisingly, i absolutely love meeting other SRB fans. the first person i see in bala is judy, a super fan from the gta i met at an SRB show in los angeles earlier this year. her description of the kee shows, complete with the breeze blowing in from the water, sealed the deal for me. 

upstairs at the bala bay inn, someone is blaring collider, and it competes with the strains of the SRB soundcheck i can hear from across the street. leaning out the window, I recognize mind flood, and briefly lose my shit. outside, a car pulls up and everybody who gets out is wearing an SRB t-shirt. at the kee, i meet chad, who took his eleven year old to see the SRB at SARStock years ago. someone else shows me photos from the lo-fantasy release show at new york’s mercury lounge back in february. it’s official: i love this place.

saturday is the first of two incredible back-to-back performances. the SRB open with shapeshifters, and set the stage for a dance party.  lo-fantasy continues with angola, their blistering new live powerhouse. the singalong staples – like hard road – take on lives of their own at the kee. there’s eighteen songs on night one, and eight are from lo-fantasy. between all the song and dance, i punched the setlist into my phone . . . if i’m wrong, you can go to to fix my mistakes (and i’ll buy you a beer next year).

Sam Roberts Band Setlist The Kee to Bala, Muskoka, ON, Canada 2014

by now, we’ve established the kee is something special. the performances – night two, especially – exceed all expectation. sam comments the energy is different on the second night, and he’s right. again, eight of the nineteen songs played are from lo-fantasy, but everybody’s favourites, like where have all the good people gone?, are completely different with a new crowd singing along. sunday’s encore goes a rare four songs.

Sam Roberts Band Setlist The Kee to Bala, Muskoka, ON, Canada 2014

the highlights for me? i’m a huge mind flood fan, and i got super spoiled by the last tour, where mind flood regularly claimed the final spot on the setlist, and the riff would echo in your head for days. i loved those days. i’ve never heard the bootleg saint live before, ever, so that’s incredible. and the gate! finally! live after all these years! if you’ve ever wondered if someone would base an entire sam-cation on the strong possibility of hearing the gate live, the answer is yes. yes, i would. here’s the gate from the balcony on night two:

if i heard just those three songs (and brother down, of course) i’d consider the weekend a raging success. throw in a few hockey chants of “let’s go sam-my! let’s go!”, ALL of lo-fantasy spread over two shows, AND a whole bunch of rad, fun people, and you’ve got yourself the best weekend ever.

obviously, there’s no such thing as too much SRB for me, and live SRB? never enough, ever. one day, when i win the lottery, i’ll never miss another show again. i realize this is slightly crazy, but honestly – three consecutive shows is my preference. two shows aren’t enough, and i’m always sad there isn’t a third show – unless it’s two shows at the kee. a weekend at the kee, and even an addict like me is completely satisfied. it is the kee, after all, and just as i’d suspected, the kee – like the sam roberts band – is good for the soul. speaking of good for the soul, here’s brother down. until next year, bala!

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