Word is getting out about Samantha Fish, fuelled by constantly touring and receiving fistfuls of awards in the past couple of years. Most dates on this UK leg of the tour are sold out or close to it, and many were here tonight to find out what the fuss was about.

Words: Liz Medhurst, Pictures: Steve Ritchie

As a blues-rock guitarist, singer and songwriter, Sam stands out from the pack by the way she fuses all the influences of her homeland. A Mid-Western belle from Missouri, blues, bluegrass and rock’n’roll runs through her veins.

samantha fish

Throughout the tour her stage outfits have been varied and colourful, and tonight she was all in black, well suited for the venue and the hot London night. The setlists have been mixed up too, keeping things fresh and showing what a supremely comfortable and accomplished performer Sam is.

From the opening of ‘Bulletproof’, with cigar-box guitar, through to the all-out ‘Shake ‘Em On Down’, The Garage was held and captivated by irresistible A-grade blues.

samantha fish

Sam’s natural affinity with the material was up front and centre, as she gets right into the soul of a song, her vocals and guitar playing as one, complementing each other. There’s nothing clinical here, hidden depths and grace notes are found by instinct, in the moment. Not many performers can do this so effortlessly; there’s good memories of Amy Winehouse here.

‘Chills And Fever’ was an early highlight, and the set moved seamlessly between straight up rockers, country romps, and torch songs. We were introduced to a few tracks from the forthcoming album, ‘Kill And Be Kind’, out on September 20th, including ‘Watch It Die’ which Sam introduced by saying it “sounds really Metal”. Not quite, but it has one hell of a groove and some top class shredding in the outro.

samantha fish

With the setlist having a good spread of tracks from the new album, and previously released – and all quite different – albums ‘Belle Of The West’, ‘Chills And Fever’ and ‘Wild At Heart’, the versatility of her playing was clear. Switching up guitars between Telecasters, acoustic and the cigar box, the merging of styles was effortless.

Samantha’s communication with her band was on point, and they shone without ever overshadowing her; they understand and complement each other. A call and answer with the drummer before ‘No Angel’ led in a keyboard heavy song with a groovy solo and a mean slide. This is lovely stuff.

samantha fish

As a package Samantha Fish is first class, her outstanding talent wrapped up in bags of personality, and just enough restraint to keep proceedings hot and the crowd wanting more. She’s come a long way and I’m sure there’s a lot further to go, and the venues are going to have to get larger to accommodate all the new fans. Don’t miss out.

samantha fish

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