A typical cold Hamburg March evening, Sam Fender played the best concert I’ve ever been to at a sold-out DOCKS. It‘s already the highlight of my 2020, and since there will be no more concerts in the next months, it will probably stay that way. To say that I’m a bit of a fangirl when it comes to Sam Fender is a slight understatement. Now I know how the teenagers back in 2010 felt about One Direction.
Sam‘s sound is a mixture of good, timeless indie britpop and little tributes to the boss, Bruce Springsteen. His lyrics are not politically condemning at all, but rather intelligent and based on sober observations of the social discourse.
I saw Sam live for the first time last September and knew what to expect: the perfect performance, so my expectations were high from the start. The 25-year-old has achieved more in a very short time than other artists in years of work. The fact that he could not perform on the Glastonbury Festival because of his vocal cord inflammation, broke his heart. But maybe because of that, he enjoyed his performance in Hamburg and his tour even more. You could see how overwhelmed he is for what he has achieved, and the opportunity to play in front of so many people that makes him more than likable.
“Will We Talk” introduced a 1 ½ hour spectacle in which I jumped around, danced, smiled all around and maybe cried a little bit. The setlist ranged from the songs off his debut record “Hypersonic Missiles”, as well as brand new songs as “Hold Out” and “All Is On My Side”, songs that didn’t make it onto the debut record, to older songs like “Greasy Spoon”. The crowd certainly had as much fun as Sam himself, and as soon as the band played “Hypersonic Missiles” nobody stood still anymore.
The gig was crowned by an incredibly good “Dancing in the Dark” cover where I fell in love a little bit. Sam and his band manage to fascinate the audience like no other band. The dynamic of their set made everyone dance around the room just to be drawn into the melancholic sounds of “Leave Fast” the next second.
The highlights for me were the encore where he stood alone on stage and had a sing-along with the audience at the chorus of “Saturday”, as well as the premiere of a song he had written the night before on the bus where his roadie had to show him the lyrics on his mobile phone.
Sam Fender didn‘t only fulfill my expectations but exceeded them. How good the concert was for everyone could be seen in the happy faces of fans and Sam himself. We loved Sam, he loved us and at the time of the gig, all problems he sings about in his controversial song “White Privilege“ seemed to be gone, at least for a moment.
Sam Fender fascinates me not only by his talent and his voice but also by his down-to-earth attitude. He is a special artist and I am already looking forward to his next concert and to everything we can still expect from him musically.
Photographer: ©Katrin Arfmann