Review: Sam Roberts Band at Bronson Center

Tonight’s show was not just a new tour promoting a killer new album. It felt like a celebration of everything fans love about them.

I was surprised at more than a couple of tunes I hadn’t heard live in a LONG time. It was part looking in the past but embracing the future. Loved it.

Ever since seeing them at the Capital Music Hall in 2003, they’ve gained a fan and they continue to put a fantastic show. Catch them on this upcoming tour.

It was also a rare night out for Vero and I at the same time!  We had a couple of babysitters (or as the kids call it…kidsitters) take care of them.

The opening bang was Grand Public from Montreal.  Shoegazing type music which wasn’t bad but I don’t generally get excited by that type of music.

This certainly is different than collecting paper concert tickets.  All I have is a screenshot of the ticket from the Ticketmaster app!

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Photos and the following article are from A Journal of Musical Things.  I’ve copied and pasted the text in case that site ever dies.

[Ottawa correspondent Ross MacDonald was at it again. – AC]

Six-time Juno award winner Sam Roberts has kicked off his 2024 North American tour in support of his new album The Adventures of Ben Blank. He started his tour in his hometown of Montreal on Friday 2 February, then on Saturday he drove two hours down the highway to perform at Ottawa’s Bronson Centre Music Theatre to a sold-out crowd.

Starting off the night was the Montreal alt-rock band Grand Public. Their music was shoegaze-style, highlighting a pair of guitars (with single-coil pickups) and lots of effects pedals. Fortunately, the band weren’t stuck to their pedal boards and moved about the confined stage.

It was refreshing to hear some french lyrics at an Ottawa concert. And the music definitely drew inspiration from the 90s and 00s rock boom; lead singer and guitarist Gregory Paquet was formerly in The Stills, so they come by their sound honestly.

After a quick stage setup, Sam Roberts took the stage with his band and without delay broke into the first track to their new album ‘The Ballad of Ben Blank’, followed up immediately by another new song ‘Afterlife’.

Sam Roberts Band in Ottawa

The night was packed with two solid hours of music, a mix of new songs, deep cuts from previous albums, and of course all the singles that the Ottawa crowd is familiar with; Sam Roberts deservedly gets a lot of airplay on the local Ottawa alt-rock radio station Live 88.5.

Sam Roberts Band in Ottawa

Sam let the boisterous crowd take over lead vocals for his biggest hits like ‘Where Have All The Good People Gone?’, ‘We’re All In This Together’, and of course the powerful ‘Don’t Walk Away Eileen’ that closed out his main set.

Sam Roberts Band in Ottawa

The extended encore opened with Sam Robert’s new hit single ‘Picture of Love’. After over 20 years, Sam is continuing to create relevant music that appeals to his new, and long-time fans.

Sam Roberts Band in Ottawa
Sam Roberts Band in Ottawa
Sam Roberts Band in Ottawa
Sam Roberts Band in Ottawa

Fittingly, Sam Roberts closed out the concert with his huge hit that started his career: ‘Brother Down’. After all those hard beats, it was hard for the crowd to go back to reality, as they filed out of the hall, into the cool night, to the sounds of some ska played over the PA system.



Leaning tower of snow

January 13

January 18

January 23

January 27


Ezra shovelling snow

While we haven’t had a LOT of snow dumping on us this winter, this past week had enough accumulating that it was time to shovel the driveway!  Ezra was home getting over a fever but he had enough energy to push around some snow which he enjoyed.


Weekend in the snow

Ezra showing off the toilet for the ‘house’ they built in the front yard

Slow motion snowboarding

The weekend was pretty relaxed considering we had Sierra with COVID but it really didn’t amount to anything but a runny nose which is great news.

Not sure if you can tell but Ezra was NOT a happy camper when we brought him to go snowshoeing near the cemetery.  He refused so he and I just walked around in the forest.

It was a nice day to go for a trek even though Ezra was a poop.

Ezra was a lot happier the next day when we went to a different forest and tried out a few sliding hills.

Ottawa doesn’t get much sun during the winter so it was nice to see it peaking through.


Baking sourdough + cinnamon rolls + bread machine

Saturday morning the kids had the grand idea to make cinnamon rolls.

If you know me, you know that my adventures in the kitchen are not something I enjoy.  Sure…there are spurts where I get some ambition to try new supper/lunch ideas and I have to say we’ve got a few go-to Instant Pot ideas now because of that…but baking is definitely not a forté nor an interest of mine.

However, Grandma did make some cinnamon rolls the last time she showed up and Sierra wrote a recipe so of course when the kids begged to make some, how could I say no?

*Sidenote: this was a great activity to do with Max and Uncle Mike when they visited a few weeks ago.  Baking is a lot more fun when there is a gang looking for a productive way to spend time together.*

We only made one batch of rolls (I’m not even sure I got more than one in my belly after the week went by but the kids sure enjoyed them for breakfast each morning!) but I also stumbled upon a bag of sourdough brew bread that my folks picked up for me when they were in the United States a few years ago.  Maybe many years ago?  How long has this bag been sitting in my pantry?

It made a tasty loaf of bread which got Vero and I thinking of buying a bread maker.  Life is too short to settle for regular bread, especially if I eat toast every morning!

I’m on the hunt for a bread maker that’s been in sitting in someone’s closet for the past ten years not being useful.  I want to try it out before I buy one.

Edit/update: A few days after posting this, a heavy package from Amazon arrives on the doorstep.  I ask Vero: “What’s in this thing, a breadmaker?”  She replied “How did you guess?  It’s your Valentine’s Day gift!”

So I made a loaf of bread and it was pretty neat.  Vero also attempted a loaf of bread, didn’t follow instructions closely and it resembled an alien.  But hey, it’s both our first attempts here folks!


Kicking the chunk of ice + COVID

I was amused the other day by the age-old game Ezra and I played while walking back from school.  “Let’s see if we can kick this chunk of ice all the way home Dad!”

I remember many a chunk of ice being kicked down a street in my youth.  Probably every Canadian has seen how far they can go with some ice.

In other news, COVID has finally entered our home.  I have to say it’s pretty wild when I think that it’s been five years and no one had it.  All Sierra has currently is a runny nose so let’s hope that’s as far as it goes!

Ezra has a sore throat so the two of them have been playing Nintendo this morning.  I booted up some Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers on the Nintendo for them.  I’m not sure their brains could understand just using the A and B button for a game.


Thinking of retirement

* If you don’t want to hear about pensions and stuff, just go to another post where I talk about what I did with my kids.*

Who doesn’t think about retirement?

I know I didn’t really think about it for a long time…I was so early in my career that whenever Dad would ask me specifics about my pension or my plans I would have to admit that I didn’t know a whole lot.  Why would I need to?  It was so far away in the future to think about it!

But Etienne and I were comparing notes today and we both realized we can retire the same year.  What a milestone for two buds working together for such a long time.  Heck, maybe we will even walk out of work the last day and hit the pub!  Sounds like a typical Friday back in the day for us.

2034 is coming fast, especially with a young family.  2034 is the year I can retire but it’s also another milestone…Sierra will be finished high school!  Aye aye aye!  What a thought.  Would I really want to retire while my kids are still/just finishing high school?  It’s too early to tell really.  Who knows what I will want my life to be in ten years.

What I do know is Vero will still be aways from retiring so it will be fun to sleep in while she has to go to work.  Mwahaha.



Winter has arrived

Winter fun time is finally here after waiting through a green Christmas.

This year Vero asked that I snowblow some snow into the typical hill that we make but also have a spot where the kids can try out their snowboards.  They seem to work out better on a spot where’s not a lot of snow.  It worked out quite well as I just blew the snow from area onto the snowhill for the other!

Contrary to popular belief, I was the one who followed Ezra’s lead with his hand in his pocket while having his drink.  I thought it would make for a fun picture.

Snowblowing on this particular weekend was tricky.  When I started snowblowing the 20cm of snow it was really sticky.  Ideal snow for making snowmen.  But it was really compacted on the left hand side of the driveway after starting from the right side.  Next time I think I will need to start from the left side, blow as much as I can and either do another pass at the end or blow some of it to the right.

The kids built a pretend house in the snow and I started building a snowman.  I’ve never seen snow that sticky since we moved to Vars so I took advantage of it.  Here’s a hilarious video of Sierra trying to scale the bottom part of the snowman!

The snowman was so high I had to hoist Ezra up to work on it!

The snowman originally had a bucket fez but we traded it in.

A little out of focus but at least we captured the snowman in its glory.

Best buds.

The best part of this weekend was the temperature.  Hovering around -2 makes for great days to spend outside.  The kids and I had sore muscles that night though!  I couldn’t sleep well with my sore arm from snowblowing and building that snowman!

On Sunday we ventured out to Ski Hill Park with Vero and Melody.  She wasn’t a happy camper…I suspected she may be teething.

Vero and Sierra ripping down the hill on the GT

I laughed at how Ezra steered back up the hill instead of heading down

I thought I was a welcome addition to this photo until Vero immediately asked me to leave so she could take a nice photo of the kids.

Nice spot for a snack.

Great winter weekend with some good memories made.  I really don’t mind winter with the kids if we can have some fun with it.


Merch cuts explained

This was a really good read about how the life of a musician generally works while touring. It was an eye opening read.


Stormy storm

They were calling for quite the storm but other than the snow blowing in the kids faces, we made it through quite well.

The key to this storm was to snowblow the driveway late at night before the rain came overnight otherwise I would have been blowing slush which is ridiculous.

But as long as the rain doesn’t take all the snow away, that’s all I care about this winter!