Sam Patch at The Drake Underground20 March 2017 / by David Matta (author)
Who is Sam Patch? He was the first man to successfully jump from a platform into the Niagara River, earning him the title of "The Yankee Leaper". But Sam Patch is also the name of Guelph native Tim Kingsbury's new project that released the album Yeah You, and I. Currently he’s supporting the album with a small tour around Southern Ontario and the States.
Kingsbury made a name for himself as a member of the Grammy-winning group, Arcade Fire (who have a new album due out this year), but by no means is Sam Patch an Arcade Fire 'side-project'. The phrase ‘side-project’ is being used more and more in the music world as musicians from our favourite bands branch out and it's pissed off more than a few people (sorry Kevin Parker). After all, you wouldn't call The Foo Fighters a Nirvana side-project, or The Gorillaz a Blur side-project. Although Sam Patch features Arcade Fire drummer Jeremy Gara on both the studio recordings and in its live incarnation, Kingsbury makes this project sound and feel independent from Arcade Fire.
Overall, Kingsbury uses acoustic and synthetic elements to create a minimally structured but huge sounding album. Singles 'St. Sebastian' and 'Listening' are threateningly catchy and easy to dance to, and the album, albeit short draws you in immediately and keeps you dancing. In the studio, the Sam Patch band consisted of Kingsbury, Gara along with Basia Bulat and Matthew Brown, with contributions from Tortoise's John McEntire and Doug McCombs on one song. Live, Tessa Dawn K (of the band Loon) played bass and took over backing vocals in Bulat's (who played only the first three shows) absence.
The scene at the Drake Underground wasn't packed, sweaty and crowded, but instead it felt more like a community gathering. The crowd was full of family (including Kingsbury's parents) and friends of the band and everyone was in a great mood. The Sam Patch band began with a cover of Bob Nolan's 'Cool Water', then launched into songs from Yeah You. After 'Must Have Been an Oversight', the band seamlessly transitioned into '100 Decibels' only for Kingsbury's guitar string to break. A true stage professional, he stopped the song and attempted for a while to get his strap off and put it on opener Murray Lightburn's guitar.
When that didn't work out, family friend Doug changed the string while Kingsbury used his electric and the band went into 'Listening'. Kingsbury got his guitar back from Doug a few songs later, only for the string to break again halfway through the song. '100 Decibels' finally came back as the last song of the night and Kingsbury tucked Lightburn's guitar under his arm and led the band into an energetic finale.
The result of friends having fun making music together, Sam Patch delivers a light-hearted indie-rock experience both live and in the studio. You can stream Yeah You, and I here.