For the last year or so, I’ve spoken about Sam Fender to anyone who’ll listen. After seeing him perform at a Quay Sessions gig, I was obsessed with his honest lyrics and ability to sound like an old classic, but new and fresh at the same time.
We had a chat last year at TRNSMT festival after his first few songs had been released (the link’s in the TRNSMT blog on my homepage), and I’ve had them in my playlists ever since. So, when I was asked along to his sold out QMU gig I was absolutely buzzing to say the least.
Kicking off his set with “Millennial” and three new tracks from his upcoming album “Hypersonic Missiles,” he had every single person in the room’s full attention. “Dead Boys” is possibly the most well written track I’ve heard in the last couple of years, and it was clear that the crowd felt the emotion of it too. Sam played through “Start Again” and “Greasy Spoon” which have been available online for a while now but, surprisingly it was newer track “Spice” that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Current single “Hypersonic Missiles” saw people all around the venue pulling out their phones to record it; a memory of seeing this track live in a tiny venue before Sam’s headlining arenas, is definitely one to be documented. The relatability that people have with Fender’s music, I think, is the main thing that’s going to catapult his career in the coming months.
He kept the crowd bouncing by segueing into “Play God,” and his band then left the stage. Sam stayed solo for three tracks – “Leave Fast” (my personal favourite,) “Poundshop Kardashians“, which has now become my favourite ‘insult’ to use – with lyrics like “cause the square reeks of plastic action men and poundshop Kardashians..” it resonates with every city in the UK these days. New track “White Privilege” was also done solo, before Sam announced that he wasn’t going to disappear off the stage and do the whole ‘encore’ thing, but instead just invite the band back on. “That Sound” was the finale track and had the entire room buzzing – a feeling that lasted long after the stage had emptied and the lights had come up.
Even Lewis Capaldi had shown up for the gig and was found fangirling in the dressing room afterwards (although to be fair, those infamous instagram stories were flying left, right and centre… and they seemed to have the loveliest bromance you’d ever seen, despite the “fighting” over Sam winning the Brits Critics Choice award over Capaldi in February).
Sam Fender is this generation’s Springsteen. I’m sure of it. In years to come, there’ll be queues outside arenas and stadiums around the world to hear what his lyrics have to say, and I feel very lucky to have been able to hear such a big voice, live, in such small venues.
If you missed out on this tour, you can catch Sam playing on November 26th in the O2 Academy Glasgow (or on one of his other dates below…)