Show Review: Sam Roberts Band heat up Detroit

Oh, the extremes we go to for a show. Last December, four of us-- and we mean an audience of four-- shivered inside the Vernors Room of the Crofoot to watch Rah Rah. Last month, we sweated inside a sold-out St. Andrews Hall, full of fans-- both human and inexplicably, motionless mechanical ones-- where the temperature easily topped 100F (40C).

The Sam Roberts Band (Montreal) didn't need any help heating up Detroit. They do a pretty good job on their own. Roberts' affection for the city, warts and all, is obvious and the fans (the human ones) return it, more than comparable well-attended shows we've seen in the Detroit area (Hot Hot Heat, Destroyer, New Pornographers).

Why? Roberts' catchy, straight-up rock 'n' roll definitely appeals to Motor City musical sensibilities and to Canadian fans and Juno voters as well; both his 2004 release, We Were Born In A Flame, and 2009's Love At The End Of The World won Rock Album of the Year. Live, the band delivers a performance full of crowd-pleasing hits as strong and sincere as Roberts' handshake. Although in our opinion the band's latest release, Collider, is not quite on par with those Juno winners, there is still plenty to like.

Dear Zeus: We think there's plenty to like about your music too (so reminscent of a certain famous 60s band from Liverpool), and apologize for missing all but one and a half songs of your opening set. We hope our failure to pay attention to show start times doesn't leave a Permanent Scar. Love, N2DS2W.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images