another time in my wanderings about the city, i headed down to corktown to see the afore mentioned heroes and villains, who were one of 4 bands on this particular bill. i didn’t recognize the name of any of the others. when i was sitting down at a table waiting for the show to begin, who shows up but brandon moss, telling me his cousin, samantha, is playing in one of the bands, rootbear. they leave their cupcake stand (yes, they made cupcakes & i remember them being delicious) take the stage, and proceed to play some of the most ferocious, simple, sloppy, heartfelt, naive, and wise beyond their years songs i have ever heard in my life, and topped it off with a magical version of ‘brand new key.’ this was everything that pop music should be. yeah that’s hackneyed, but what isn’t in pop? it’s what moves you that counts.
rootbear at it’s core is keith bedore and sammy lewis, a wild rock and roll heart throb in the body of a mild mannered bookish english major and a quiet, shy young artist spending her free time drawing and crafting. originally on drums was one brad lyons, a friend and fellow music afficionado, who provided a ferocious beat for the band. he later moved on to his own musical pursuits (he’s also a fantastic guitar player who’s performed with forget and clicks and pops, and has his own recording project named eyes and ears), but not before playing a outstanding set at the second curare festival; quite a send off. sam took up the sticks and played with only a tom, snare, and tambourine while belting it out with her amazing voice, something along the lines of cat power with the range and delivery of dusty springfield. keith on the other hand, would stomp, jump and rip up the guitar, drawling his vocals the way a southern troubadour sings of women and booze and the trouble they bring. all that is, of course, when they weren’t howling about the minor tragedies that come with maturity. half the fun was keith and sam’s interplay; she’d snarl at him for being too crazy and loose, and he would respond with a roll of the eyes and sarcastic retort; then the awkward pause, and finally a count for the next song. for a moment, you’d wonder if they were going to break up the band right in front of you!
in the end, their differences drove them apart for good. after resurfacing in 2009 from their last split (and playing some of the best shows in their short career), they couldn’t bridge the different approaches each had to music. they played their last show at the belmont to a close group of friends, and headed off into the sunset, each taking a different direction. sam returned to crafting full time (in-between the day job of course), and keith has been schooling it up. each has dabbled around often with various musical endeavors. who knows if they’ll ever play together again? personally speaking, i’d give anything for it. until then i have their one and only cassette to sing along to at full volume.