“Thursday is the new Saturday,” observed guitarist James Cameron to a packed Victoria crowd last week. And he isn’t wrong. With recent bands such as Case Hardin, Hello Lazarus, Super Squarecloud and The James Warner Prophecies all pulling decent pre-weekend numbers maybe original music is going through a bit of a resurgence. And when faced with this wonderful outfit, it is not hard to see why.
Although in recent years the whole Mumford and The Whale crowd have tried to convince us that Indie bands adopting beards, jumpers and playing a banjo like a man on speed is the future of the roots genre, it’s Sam Green and his Devonian troubadours who actually feel like the real deal. They sit at cross roads that links finger-picked and slide blues stomps of the American South-East with the more expected folk traditions of the English south. This is bisected by a road that links the often-retrospective nature of their influences with the progressive and contemporary musical vehicle that they have built for themselves. The result is a band that will not only take roots music into the future but forges new pathways whilst being aware of their own place within those traditions.
And aside from this journalistic dissection of the nature of the band, live they are nothing less than a great night out. Matt Cooke and Joe James, on drums and upright bass respectively, form a rhythm section that manages to be unbelievably tight whilst simultaneously appearing loose and unaffected by the storm they whip up. On top of this the eponymous Sam and the aforementioned James trade acoustic tricks and electric riffs whilst riding the musical frenzy that is being conjured around them. But for all the dexterous musicianship and obvious talents at crafting songs, their immediate selling point is that they seem to be having just as much fun as the crowd in front of them and how can you not love a band that gets that much pleasure out of what essentially is …for want of a better expression, just doing their job?