Gig Review: Sam Fender at Riverside

A lively and commited crowd arrived well in time for the supporting band, ‘A Festival, A Parade’. ‘We’ve never played to a crowd this big before, I’m very nervous’ the frontman announced to a forgiving bunch of Geordies.

The Newcastle band demonstrated their alternative rock to a friendly crowd. Gloomy and atmospheric, their set warmed up the crowd nicely. Tracks like ‘ ‘An Opinionless Witness’ and ‘People Person’ were affecting in a way that showed this dark and noisy sound to possess a power that the energetic band were keen to demonstrate.

The beginning of Fender’s set demonstrated vocals that could soar

The beginning of Fender’s set demonstrated vocals that could soar. ‘This Tune is The Gospel’ reverberated through the riverside venue, the strength of Sam’s vocals were established in that instant, a feature of his set that would not waver. The crowd was of course thrilled by the introduction of his performance, given his Geordie roots, it seems the obvious presence of family and friends seemed the perfect recipients of Fender’s music.

‘Start Again’ rolled forth providing us, once again, with the clean and affecting nature of Sam’s vocals. Resonating pristinely through the venue, it was quite astonishing to see Fender produce a strength evident in in his released tracks. ‘Greasy Spoon’ followed soon after, boasting even more vocal authority that the significance of the lyrics deserved. Belting the words ‘I Am a Woman’ to the crowd made for a moving performance that indicated very clearly the importance of a message about sexual harassment.

It was quite astonishing to see Fender produce a strength evident in in his released tracks

Audience interaction was kept to a minimum, with a brief and heartfelt dedication to the musician’s parents being his longest interval. Perhaps this lack of tenderness was compensated for with the short time in which he performed individually. Though the cohesive strength of the band was clear, the decision to strip back elements of Sam Fender’s support was a good one. His new stuff took centre stage, and the sensitivity that came from the sole assistance of a keyboard made for a welcome contrast to the sharp bite of the released singles.

While the lack of released tracks is something of an obstruction to fully appreciating the music, this didn’t hinder the enjoyment to be had from the performance of a clearly very talented individual. ‘Play God’ did, of course, swiftly return the dark and punchy nature of Fender’s sound that concluded the set with the young musician’s triumph.

 

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