ICYMI LIVE REVIEW // SAM FENDER
Words by Chloe Lewis
25-year-old Geordie musician Sam Fender is pretty much a household name these days after his rapid rise to fame this year- but when I headed down to see his set at Mountford Hall last Saturday, I was fairly new to the hype. Not really knowing what to expect, I found myself an instant fan by the end of his first song, the uber-catchy Will We Talk.
Despite Sam’s pleas not to compare him to hero Bruce Springsteen, it was easy to note Springsteen’s influence within his music, delivered amongst gritty, frantic melodies and soulful, James Bay-esque vocals. What makes Sam stand out from his contemporaries, however, is the politically-driven message of his lyrics, something that was not lost on his Liverpool audience.
The raw, honest, and often gloomy lyrical content of songs such as Dead Boys and Play God clearly come from a place of anger at the world we live in, and it was refreshing to see the effect this had on a primarily young male crowd, who belted every song word-perfectly, flinging pints in the air and climbing on shoulders. It appears that Sam is a genius- by concocting the perfect combination of big, anthemic tunes with catchy choruses to appeal to the so-called ‘Strongbow Dark Fruits’ music fan whilst also using his platform to help spread a message he invites young people to take an interest in politics and fight to make changes within their own lives.
Sam closed his set with the haunting Leave Fast, his audience proving their dedication to him by carrying on the song at the tops of their voices long after he’d left the stage. He returned for his encore, and another sing along, the entire audience almost drowning out the man himself with their rendition of the anthemic Saturday. After following this up with That Sound, it was impossible to see how Sam could possibly top the fervent, adoring reaction his music was having on the masses, until he took the entire room by surprise- with a Bruce Springsteen cover!
If you’ve never been to one of Sam’s shows before, put it high on your bucket list, whether you’re familiar with his music or not. The combination of a backdrop consisting of graphics of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson as ugly monsters, a saxophone player clad in a Newcastle football shirt, and a rendition of Dancing In The Dark that would make Bruce himself proud create an amazing live show, and will leave you both a Sam Fender convert and more determined than ever to kick out the Tories.
You can catch Sam on his Spring 2020 tour, dates below:
20 March - Victroria Warehouse, Manchester
21 March - Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
23 March - Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow
24 March - Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow
26 March - Alexandra Palace, London - NEW DATE ADDED
27 March - Alexandra Palace, London
30 March - De Monfort Hall, Leicester
31 March - Cardiff Arena
2 April - Leeds Arena
3 April - Newcastle Arena