October 16th 2022
Manchester Academy 2 welcomed multi-talented Samatha Fish and her band with open arms, even though it was a Sunday evening. American singer-songwriter Fish is on the UK leg of her lengthy tour and returns to her homeland America in December.
The show was opened by the brilliant Willie and the Bandits, a British-based band, and they certainly warmed up the crowd with style, throwing out a mix of their own fabulous blues, folk and rock songs. The more rock-based numbers definitely had a Led Zeppelin feel to them, which I’m sure they’d agree is a huge compliment. Lead singer Willie Edwards did confess to the crowd, halfway through their set that they very nearly didn’t make it as they shockingly had a blow-out on the motorway. However, fortunately for us, they did make it safely, brushed off their misadventure and had the place rockin’ before the main act.
Samantha Fish appeared on stage with her signature cigar box guitar, looking like an absolute rock goddess. Dressed in black leather, she oozed sex appeal and charisma. That’s before she even started playing and singing. As they launched into the first number Bulletproof from her 2019 album Kill To Be Kind, she commanded the attention of the 600 fans crammed together in the iconic music venue. She had an array of guitars behind her and swapped regularly which added to the excitement. Her swirling, powerful vocals are often enhanced by her skilfully playing melodic slide guitar with a slide ring.
At one point Fish affectionately teased the audience, suggesting they could get more involved and asking if she should she sing some Oasis to gasps of ‘NO’. She also amused them by asking if they were they tired from having their Sunday roasts. She dared them to prove her wrong and they did. Everyone soon got into the swing of it, reeling with the amazing sounds pulsating from the stage, with Fish going through numbers across her catalogue, ranging from rock to blues. She announced the next two songs were from her brand new album Faster, which were Ice No Whiskey, and the raunchy Twisted Ambition. Followed by Love Letters, Watch It Die and the title track Kill Or Be Kind from her last album 2019.
Fish was on fire, her powerful shrill and soulful voice with an incredible range echoed across the hall. Her masterful guitar playing spanned across multiple genres including blues, country, rock and funk. This combined with her amazing voice, her body rocking and head banging, and tossing around her Marilyn Monroe-style blonde locks made for a jaw-dropping experience.
Samantha Fish and her band are a must to see live to get the full experience, which far outweighs just listening to the album. It’s wild, raunchy and Fish is a force to be reckoned with, her guitar slung across her neck as she effortlessly slides up and down the fretboard and shrieks out her soulful melodies and meaningful lyrics.
The brilliant band accompanying her were Ron Johnson on bass guitar and boy, can he play it. The relationship between them and how they complimented each other was a delight to witness. An absolute powerhouse of a skilful drummer Sarah Tomek is a perfect addition and superb keyboards were played by Matt Wade. At one point, Tomek was having a few technical difficulties and Fish cringed, laughed and stated this was where she wished she could tell jokes, but that she’s not funny, so they’ll just have to stare at each other until it was sorted – which, ironically, was really quite funny.
Fish did not disappoint next with her cover of Nina Simone’s, Either Way I Lose. Perfect for her soulful tones with a mind-blowing guitar solo mid-way through. Finishing on Black Wind Howlin’, the title track from one of her most critically acclaimed albums released in 2013, the band blew the roof off and the crowd demanded more. They obliged and returned with an encore to wild cheers as they launched into the final number Shake ‘Em On Down.
This was without a doubt a gig to remember. The soulful Samantha Fish and her incredible band certainly made their mark on Manchester. Rock ‘n’ Roll is alive and kicking.
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All words by Claire Glover. More writing by Claire on Louder Than War can be found at her author profile here. | Twitter
All photos by Melanie Smith – Louder Than War | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Portfolio
A great review, excellent images as well.
I am looking forward to seeing Sam on Saturday