After the tight, new wavy sounds of Mother Mother settled and the equipment for Sam Roberts' band was being setup, a strange smell wafted through the crowd, an aroma I haven't been subjected to at a show for quite some time. A fog curled its way through the room and some of the people near me looked at each other quizzically. "Dry ice?" someone said. Yep, good old-fashioned dry ice. And a light show thrown in for good measure.
Sam Roberts had the showman thing down pretty well, with the hook-drenched songs to back him up, but there's a part of that "C'mon let's all put our hands together!" business that feels disingenuous to me. Maybe I'm just old. Roberts certainly knows how to bring a band to a blazing crescendo, but those assaults were moderated by so many breakdowns that they drained the energy from the room. Roberts' Canadian stardom worked against him in the small club setting, though a good chunk of the crowd bought the package entirely. But they seemed pretty young.