From the moment they hit the stage on Thursday, November 13th, the Sam Roberts Band had Kelowna cheering, loud, and on their feet. Opener 'Shapeshifters', from their newest LP ‘Lo-Fantasy’, turned the theatre into a seated dance floor. From there the band continued to showcase related material, including the groove of 'Metal Skin,' the infectious 'Human Heat', or the anthem-wrought “Kid Icarus.”
For the entire evening, a large electric triangle back-dropped the stage (the same triangle on the 'Lo-Fantasy' album art). Each song in the set was amplified by the attached, massive wide screens - sending you underwater, into volcanoes, clouds, or the spontaneous light show. Not to mention a mirror image of yourself – the audience was blown up on screen via front facing cameras during each moment of crowd-participation.
The band was loud enough to shake foundations. Lead guitarist Dave Nugent notably elevated every song with John Frusciante type arpeggios and leads. His pedal board provided cutting, sunny guitar tones washed in reverb with delay. Bassist James Hall idly rocked in a beat-up cardigan. He sported a long, grey beard looking like the band's cool, wise older brother despite being turned up a little too loud. Between songs, at a moment when cheering reached peak energy, you could barely hear a man shout “Drop the bass.”
Regardless, Sam Roberts Band proved themselves a B.C. mainstay, returning every ounce of enthusiasm in strum, beat, and decibel. As their main set closed they were washed in applause, the empty stage bearing the test of screaming static. In a couple minutes they returned with ‘Lo-Fantasy’ single 'We're All In This Together' and closed with 'Let it In’ off 2011's 'Collider' ('Let it In' starting with lyrics 'Take me back to Valhalla', possibly a reference to UBCO rez-life).
After the encore was officially over, Sam Roberts stayed on stage for about five minutes. He shook each hand of the standing, outstretched audience – if indicative of anything, that it was more than a polite gesture – before dividing the picks and setlists for those requesting...
Sam Roberts Band newest release, ‘Lo-Fantasy’ is out now on Paper Bag Records.