Written by Neil Frawley
Country-alternate rock band, Sam Sniper, rocked Ashley Street Station as they were nominated for Athens’ 2012 Artist of the Year award.
On Sunday, the band headlined a show at Street Station, Valdosta’s up and coming music bar located on North Ashley Street. The performance was opened by VSU student, guitar player and songwriter Cody Gibson.
“(Ashley Street Station) is an awesome bar,” Gibson said, a senior mass media major, said. “Before (it) opened up, Valdosta didn’t really have a venue to go see original live music played. Bryan is giving local artists, like myself, the opportunity to be exposed to these bands on the road and make connections with them.”
Nominated by the Flagpole, UGA’s newspaper, for various awards including Best Southern Rock Band, Album of the Year and Artist of the Year, Sam Sniper offers its listeners an intriguing sweet, smooth, southern tone which is complimented by energetic rifts of rock. The end result is just about as awesome as Andrew Klein’s mustache.
According to the Savannah Stopover website, the festival the band performed at two days before, “A single song can move from country ramble to explosive rock, grooving together within the warm embrace of pop sensibility.”
Gibson believes that when the band performs, they inspire the crowd.
“Sam Sniper is a great band,” he said. “Their shows are always high energy and they sound phenomenal live.”
The stop in Valdosta was the fourth out of seven on the band’s SXSW tour that eventually will end on Friday in Austin, Texas. The SXSW tour is a pilgrimage-like event where bands all along the eastern seaboard make their ways south-westerly toward the ultra-famous “Mecca of music” that aptly describes Austin, Texas.
“Every March, the whole world descends on Austin, Texas or so it seems,” a Flagpole article read.
Sam Sniper was initially formed by three Alpharetta, Ga. natives, Chris Barnett (guitar, vocals), Andrew Klein (guitar, vocals) and Nick Mallis (bass, vocals). The group added Bill Bacon (drummer) after they moved to Athens.
“We all ended up in Athens probably about five years ago,” Barnett said.
According to Klein said, the group moved to Athens because they already had a lot of friends there and because it was already a great music town.
After the move, the trio met their drummer and fourth member–Bacon.
“I moved to Athens in 2008,” Bacon said. “ I was in a band previous to Sam Sniper called Laissez Funk.”
In 2011, Laissez Funk’s guitar player moved to South Africa, leaving Bacon in search of a new band.
Bacon heard about the band through word of a mutual friend of Klein. At the time, Klein was in need of a drummer.
“We jammed a coupled times and it seemed like a good fit, and ever since then I’ve trying to perfect the mastery that the album is,” Bacon said.
The album created was titled “We’re not Coming Back This Way,” and features many of Sam Snipers hit songs such as “Cancertowne,” “Loneliness” and “Comfortable Hypocrisy.”
Despite early challenges, Sam Sniper had a few quality influences that helped them break through.
“Awesome bands like Tumbleweed Stampede helped us as well as Yo Soybean, the band that Nick started in Tallahassee (that) moved to Athens,” Klein said,
After the tour, the plan is to get focused on the new record.
Although the CD does not yet have a name, it will release in August. The released single off the album, “Nothing Kills Me,” was featured on last year’s “Athfest 2012,” a compilation CD, which also featured songs by Reptar and Futurebirds, two bands that will be performing at Bonnaroo this summer.
Although Sam Sniper’s debut album is titled “We’re not Coming Back This Way,” we should all hope this is just a title, because great artists such as themselves should always be welcomed back.