Passion - The Sam Roberts Band Live in Hamilton

Let me ask, what are you passionate about? Is there anything that makes you feel enthralled, happy and content? I hope so, because without passion there is no success and there is no living.
You would just be a shell moving throughout life with little meaning.
Let me tell you about my passion.
I love music.
I went to see Sam Roberts Band on Saturday night and I was in seventh heaven.
It may have been the best last minute concert decision I have ever made.
I was familiar with the band, but I did not know all of their music.
I knew some of their music that was played regularly on the Verge, a music station on XM radio in Canada.
I also owned one of his first albums, before he changes from Sam Roberts to the Sam Roberts Band.
I knew that I was going to be happy at the show, but little did I understand the overall impact that the show would have on me.
The opening act was a band from Alberta called the Rural Alberta Advantage.
What they brought to the table of this eclectic group of concert goers was a new and brisk sound unlike any I had witnessed in a long time.
Nils Edenlof, lead singer, guitarist and singer led the way with his bristling speed acoustic aptly supported by Paul Banwatt on drums.
Banwatt provided a musical glue uncommon for a drummer.
What was really amazing was the skimpiness of his drum kit.
To get the overall bombastic sound that he provided for the band was a new way to understand the impact that drums can have on a song.
Amy Cole played keyboards, percussion and, on one song, xylophone.
Her performance supported Edenlof and provided additional percussion support to the musical drums of Banwatt.
The band ripped through seven or eight songs and left this writer knowing that the first stage of his passion had been met.
I needed to know more about this band and I made it my mission to learn more about them and to add them to my collection.
The night had just begun.
My passion had been brought to the surface by the Rural Alberta Advantage and now it was time for the Sam Roberts Band.
They did not disappoint.
The band kicked into high gear right away with a couple of tracks from their new album.
These songs cooked with depth and musicianship.
Dave Nugent on lead guitar provided the sonic counterpoint to Sam Roberts' guitar.
The drumming of Josh Trager provided the solid rhythm required to maintain the hard rock sound.
Now it must be noted that on record, one may not associate Sam Roberts with Hard Rock, but merely Rock.
But live, a completely different aspect of a top quality outfit emerges.
A lot of this is brought about by the bass guitar of James Hall.
His driving bass lines pounds into the soul and provides the listener with the deep appreciation of what is being performed.
One thing I found interesting that adds to this concept of hard rock was the keyboard prowess of Eric Fares.
There were times that I felt reminded of the way that Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep played.
Another musician who appeared from time to time was saxophone player Stuart Bogie.
Although not present on all songs, he made a positive contribution to the songs that he played on.
The band worked its way through a large portion of their catalogue, playing songs from the beginning as well as songs from the most recent releases.
The crowd would sing along with many of the best known songs, and this was encouraged by Sam Roberts.
By the time main set was finished, the audience was satisfied but not satiated.
This required an encore of four songs.
They came back and hit hard, mellowed out for a song or two then climaxed with an awesome rocker that put the concert over the edge.
The final five minutes was a great example of what hard rock is all about.
Hard playing instrumental leads and pounding rhythms.
One could not but feel honoured to have witnessed this performance.
Unfortunately for the Sam Roberts Band, they were playing to a Hamilton audience the day before the playoff game between Hamilton and Montreal in the CFL.
The very next day at half time, the band played for the crowd at the Big "O".
Being from Montreal, Sam made it known where his allegiance lay, but on Sunday, Hamilton spoiled the party.
This was a show that was worth it and any true music fan should try to find a way to see the Sam Roberts Band live.
Look for them in your neighbourhood and satisfy the passion.
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