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Sam Champion at the
Mercury Lounge
October 2, 2008

Written by Will Jamieson
Photographed by
Amy Davidson

The Sam Champion band consists of four youthful lads hailing from Brooklyn. Their show at the Mercury Lounge was something of a celebration, as it served as the official coming out party for Mr. Champion's latest effort, entitled, "Heavenly Bender." The crowd built slowly over the course of the evening until showtime, at which point the lounge's small ballroom was mostly packed. Rather unsurprisingly, the band seems to have quite a number of young female fans, many of whom seemed to know the members by name. Whatever you're doing, keep up the good work, boys.

The band's sound is a pretty standard blend of hooky, tuneful indie rock and wistful, slightly aw-shucks vocal stylings. Damned if it was clear what any of the tunes were about, but the band rocked along admirably, hitting the changes with a professionalism that's somewhat rare when it comes to these kinds of shows. The show was wonderfully devoid of rock star theatrics: no "I'm a sex god" posturing on stage, no hipper-than-thou snobbery. Whispers amongst the crowd seemed to indicate that the band was slightly off at this particular show, but none of the supposed mis-steps were audible to these ears. On the contrary, the band seemed especially tight, even if the material was not all that rhythmically challenging.

The gig had something of the feel of a homecoming, too; friends seemed to be recognizing each other in the crowd, and it was a low-key affair on all counts. Unfortunately, the band only inspired one or two attendees to dance, which resulted in a classic "lots of head nodding and foot tapping" rock show. It would have been nice to see the music generate a slightly more physical response from the audience, but perhaps the tunes are targeting a slightly different audience. All in all, the band put on a really enjoyable show, and everyone left with a broad smile.

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