When covering a show, a music journalist can only hope that everything goes smoothly and you come out of it stress-free with a solid opinion about the show but when I arrived at Rough Trade's ticket booth about 20 minutes before Sam Cohen's show, I was listed for "0" spots under "Mand Dude" making the impending ordeal, totally worth it. Equally amused as I was panicked, I texted our managing editor and frantically searched my e-mail for a phone number to reach Sam Cohen's PR team.
Of course, these things happen! Luckily, all the great people working at the venue along with Sam Cohen's reps, resolved the issue almost as quickly as it occurred. As I was waiting for access, Sam Cohen started the opening track, which I could hear intermittently as the doors opened and shut behind a rush of ticket holders. A couple of songs in, I was given the OK to hurry through the doors and catch what was left of the show.
Sam Cohen is a seasoned veteran when it comes to performing a killer show. He's a former member of two bands, Apollo Sunshine and Yellowbirds, and he's a Brooklyn-native songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, artist, and producer, so watching him perform in his own hood was pretty magical. Sam Cohen and his band were dressed in button-up shirts, except for the keyboardist, who was barefoot in a pullover sweatshirt, rocking the most incredible mustache I've seen in awhile.
Sam Cohen's vocal delivery leaves an individual mark on his listeners. His voice gives off a vintage psychedelic rock with some Bob Dylan affectations as he mixes dark-pop with sunny melodies. A highlight of the show was when he performed "Last Dream" and - measuring from the cheers as the song began - it was very apparent that it was a crowd favorite, as well. Alongside the constant drum beats, Cohen passionately sings out "Right now I feel lonely / Gonna put that in the air / Unrelated someone feels nothing / But soon I'll be in love again." During the break of the song, Cohen headbanged his way around stage as he ripped his guitar solo.
Sam Cohen closed out his short set with his records opening track "Let The Mountain Come to You" which was full of galactic electronic keys, Beatles vibes, and guitar riffs that keep you hooked from start to finish. The psychedelic atmosphere was in full swing as soft synths flooded the room and Sam Cohen put his folky, raspy vocals on display to close out the night. Such a crisp, mid-tempo song was the perfect way to walk out of Rough Trade yearning for more Sam Cohen songs.