Sam Roberts Band + Heaven's Jail
(11 Feb 2014: Mercury Lounge New York)
Heaven’s Jail (a band name I’m not too fond of) sounded pretty good as they opened for Sam Roberts Band but unfortunately the trio didn’t have much of an audience to witness them. As the fact the show was sold out might indicate, the crowd really was at the Mercury Lounge to see Canadian singer-songwriter Sam Roberts and his eponymous band perform. It was a special evening given the band’s latest album, the critically well-received Lo-Fantasy, was released that day. As Roberts announced, the band would celebrate by performing the entire 11-track album straight through, and return for an encore of a few earlier hits. Lo-Fantasy is a melodic, rock album that redefines Roberts sound with the addition of sinewy and gauzy club vibes that gives listeners more reasons to dance than to head-bang.
The audience cheered loudly as Roberts took the stage and the band kicked into the disco-swagger of “Shapeshifters” and then tore into “We’re All in This Together”, a song that ought to become the band’s signature anthem. The tune bonds everyone together with its siren’s call to “keep moving / don’t stop”. “Angola”, though stylistically different and with more political heft, was also an explosive anthem, one that could help Roberts connect with new fans who might hear the discussion of inequality and poverty within it.
Although not every track on Lo-Fantasy is as strong as the lead combo, the album is well worth a listen. Roberts and his band will continue to tour the big coastal cities of the US and back for the next month or so. They will be stopping by NYC-suburb based radio station 107.1 The Peak for an intimate performance later this week—you can find out details about possibly attending or just tuning into that over at The Peak’s site.