Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sam Black Church - Realive in Boston

Sam Black Church reunites for their 25th anniversary at the House of Blues, Hometown Throwdown w/the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

It's been 7 years since the last SBC reunion which took place in Sept. of 2007 at the Roxy in Boston. I attended that show, the pits were brutal, the music was amazing and the band hadn't missed a beat. Fast forward to 2013, with barely a clue given on their status all these years, a Facebook page for the band popped up offering merch. Then the page started offering hints that something big was happening. That big thing was the Hometown Throwdown. Mighty Mighty Bosstones for several years have been putting together a series of local shows for the die hards called the Hometown Throwdown. This year Sam Black Church would be opening for them on the third night of the concerts. For the first time in many years, I bought tix the first day they were available. The last show in 07 was historic and I was not going to miss this show.

Jet and company in full form.
To set the stage a little bit, the third night of the Hometown throwdown was a dreary, cold and rainy night. Standing online in the shadows cast by the hallowed walls of Fenway park, fans huddled together waiting for the doors of the House of Blues to open. The staff were friendly and courteous. Given the ease of purchasing and printing tix at home I handed a now soggy paper ticket to the staff and manually called out the ticket number to the staff member after the scanner was not reading the bleeding bar code. I drove up with one of my best pals who had purchased a ticket to the mezzanine while mine was for the floor. We met up with another friend at the door who had mezzanine tix as well. They headed upstairs as I entered ground floor and purchased an anniversary shirt at the SBC booth. I met up with friends from Western Mass on the ground floor who were excited to see SBC as well. I tried to take in a head count of those wearing the newly purchased SBC shirts and those clearly there for the Bosstones. It was a good mix of both camp's fans.

It was clear to me a lot of the Bosstones fans were intrigued and not very sure who SBC were. I overheard conversations like: "What does Sam Black Church sound like?"", "Why is there a pit already forming when the music hasn't started yet?", and ultimately "look at that guy's bloody face!". I kind of snickered to myself a bit. The band opened with a classic, LIGHT THE NEEDFIRE. Frontman Jet stormed the stage as the rest of the band was clearly pumped as hell to start the night off right.  By the third song I could see a lot of converts. Young folk that weren't around when it seemed like Sam Black was playing every weekend back in the day were shouting "SBC!" at the top of their lungs. Especially when frontman Jet Crandall, thanked the Bosstones for giving them the stage to perform.

House of Blues Boston
I moved from the bar side down to the floor shortly after I noticed people in my area not moving toward the catchy cover of Disco Inferno. The pit was smaller and slightly less violent than the numerous circle pits at the last Reunion show in 07.  Jet sang from the top of the crowd, surfing atop fans' heads and hands with a wide smile. As is the norm at concert these days, everyone wants to personally document their concert experiences with a camera or a phone. I have to include myself in that catergory at times and found myself pocketing my video camera when Jet quickly quipped after the song BIG BBQ "put away your Iphone" to someone in front as he rolled back up on stage. Shortly after, Jet proceeded to shout "OLD SCHOOL" as the band launched into another classic Infernal Machine.

Ben Randall with a newly bald dome, head banged full on as Jet with a wild set of white hair himself looked maniacal as he put his sweaty arm around the guitarist in an embrace that left a smile on all the fan's faces. Bassist Richard G. Lewis entertained the crowd on the left side of the stage as he pulled the mic toward him and questioned the crowd "who said we need work?" with a big shit eating grin. He also hinted throughout the set that maybe this wasn't going to be the last time we see the band for awhile. Maybe?

First time in 6 years, SBC on stage.
Arm in arm, fans chanted "SBC!" as Jet was given the sign off stage that 5 minutes were left before the set up for headliner's Bosstones. I leaned closer to the pit as the crowd surged forward. Duncan Wilder handed the frontman a stack of stickers and was announced as the main force behind a documentary "Leave Behind A Groove In The Earth" he's been working on for years. There is a kick starter set up to hopefully fund the completion of this project in the coming year. As the band launched into their final number Locked Unit, the crowd came together for one last pit to send the band off in style. The lights came up shortly after and stage hands took down the set. I stood proudly watching youngsters patting each other on the back, palming sweat off their foreheads and saluting the band just as I had in my late teens. The future is a mystery but if the band has any plans for extending their stay this is as good a start as any. Long live Sam Black Church!

Light the NeedFire
Captain of the World
Infernal Machine
Big Barbecue
Disco Inferno
New God Science
We Got The Youth
Locked Unit

For the Kickstarter
Click Here

Official Facebook of Sam Black Church

Offical Merch site of Sam Black Church

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