On Tuesday 6th, the crowd in the basement of the Shipping Forecast was delighted to a show that demonstrated the amazing up-and-coming talent that Tyneside has to offer. North Shields’ Sam Fender produced a performance that captured the hearts and minds of his fans with his down to earth nature and fearless willingness to tackle social taboos within his songs. Despite his rapidly increasing fame, it was evident from the get-go that this 22 year old was the same lad he had always been, with his ‘what you see is what you get’ attitude and Gordie twang.
A Festival, A Parade
Supporting Sam was A Festival, A Parade, hailing from Newcastle. The four piece stunned the crowd with raw guitar tones and the sheer volume of the set, that seemed to make the room tremble. Their standout song of the night was Sex Dream from the band’s newly released EP, which encapsulated the band’s alternative rock vibe.
Sam swaggered onto stage to the opening bars of Millennial, the lyrics of which make atongue in cheek dig at those who negatively prejudge the younger generation. The words “this truth is the gospel” were sang and with that, the gig was in full flow. It was the perfect opener as the upbeat tempo and relatable lyrics ensured the audience were singing and dancing the whole way through with an enthusiasm that never faded.
This was his first gig in Liverpool since supporting George Ezra in 2014. He spoke fondly of a night out in “something Square” that was packed full with people and bars, ending with him waking up to Nutella covered hotel room walls. Unfortunately, this was not to be repeated as the tour demanded his presence in Bristol the next day.
One of the highlights was when Fender played Dead Boys, the title track of his debut EP, which is to be released later this month. The poignant lyrics concentrate on the devastating effects of depression and male suicide in the North East. It was clear that this is a topic very close to Sam’s heart and his passion for raising awareness for all those who suffer in silence came rushing through. It was not sang with melancholy however, but instead as an anthem to overcome grief and loss – the audience’s admiration for this young artist was growing by the second. The straight talking lyrics about the flaws people encounter in society, that fuel the majority of his songs, were reminiscent of those found in John Lennon’s Working Class Hero.
For the final two songs, the band left the stage and Sam proceeded to thank the audience and display his gratitude for how much his musical career has taken off in the past year.
He did what he does best and took to his guitar to play the striped back, flashlight waving worthy Leave Fast. The slow tempo and gently strummed strings gave his velvety smooth voice centre stage and his talent, not only as a songwriter but as a singer also, was never more prominent.He ended the gig with his brilliant rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark for one last sing along with the audience. Undoubtedly, his popularity will grow and grow and it won’t be long until the arenas are calling his name. The intimacy of this gig is something the audience will never experience with Sam Fender again.