Sam Fender live at Rock City 26/11/2019
Since being discovered in his local pub by Ben Howard’s manager Owain Davis, Sam Fender has achieved national success with a number one debut album and a Brits Critics’ Choice Award. He’s now on his Hypersonic Missiles Tour with his third stop being a sold out show here at Rock City.
Fender and his band open with ‘Will We Talk’. The fifth single released from his debut album. The track follows a narrative of social observation at a club. Fender reveals in an interview with Radio X that popular Newcastle nightclub ‘The Cut’ was the place that lead the inspiration for this track’s narrative. A perfect choice of song to set the mood for the night. With a powerful guitar beat and strong vocals, the crowd know they are in for a great night.
Fender is not blind to labels and as his second track ‘Millennial’ begins, the crowd create their second mosh pit of the night. Described as a “tongue-in-cheek response to the tabloids’ view of millennials”, his young crowd sings the lyrics passionately, clearly sharing similar feelings to Fender about the views of young people in society.
Fender appears as your typical Geordie lad as he commends the energy of the crowd as they mosh to each track. He decides to give them something to compete with as he tells them, “we just had Glasgow last night so you have a lot to live up to, but I reckon you can do it.”
Providing them with an excellent song to spark the crowd’s energy again, Fender starts playing ‘Greasy Spoon’. It provokes a large reaction from the crowd with the perfect build up. Holding off the chorus until after verse two, you can see the crowd itching in anticipation to release their pent-up energy that is spurred on by the track.
Fender decides to take it to another level as he begins ‘All Is on My Side’. The track introduces a sultrier vibe to the evening, adding the perfect balance of light and dark to the gig; it also shows the versatility of Fender as an artist. He’s joined by ‘his brother’s best mate’ Johnny for a saxophone solo which introduces a jazzier element.
As a young musician, his ability to capture important issues in his music makes him stand out from the mainstream music scene. The 25-year-old is renowned for relating crucial matters back to his hometown of Newcastle. Named as Annie Mac’s ‘Hottest Single in the World’, Fender’s track ‘Dead Boys’ tackles toxic masculinity and male suicide specifically in his hometown. As soon as the track begins, the whole crowd come together to sing the intro – in a way this highlights the need for society to unite and support each other.
There is something very real-life about what Fender sings about. Issues surrounding mental health and inequality are embedded in his set list as his vivid storytelling provides an eye-opening way of educating a young generation of society’s ongoing problems. His social consciousness and political awareness are clear throughout his performance.
His next few tracks provoke massive reactions from the crowd. As he starts to play ‘Play God’. Noting how the track was written in his mum’s garage. It is clear to see how, despite his success, Fender is nothing but humble as her remembers his roots. The lyrics describe an alternate dystopian reality as Fender’s audience are transported through his intricate story telling. In a crucial time before the election, these lyrics could not be any more relevant. The track speaks out against the mistreatment of the working class. Fender is not afraid to express his opinions and use his platform to educate his fans about voting.
His album title track, ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ paints a picture of the modern world. Fender’s vocals are strong throughout the gig but particularly shine in this track. For a young musician, his vocals and soaring guitar riffs encapsulate the epic qualities of 80s British rock.
Drawing on the many comparisons between his music and Bruce Springsteen’s, Fender ends on a cover of Springsteen’s track ‘Dancing in the Dark’. Ending the gig on a high, Fender exits the stage leaving the crowd full of adrenaline from this sold-out show.
We’re excited to see his talent and bold message take him further as he will no doubt be selling out even bigger venues soon.
Will We Talk?
All Is On My Side
Dancing in the Dark