On a Friday night at 6 pm you won’t usually find folks in Fayetteville, AR packed into the back room of a bar. But there are special occasions for such shows; one of which happened June 12 at George’s Majestic Lounge. Punctual as ever, the older-than-usual but rambunctious audience stood waiting for Samantha Fish to grace the stage. The crowd was buzzing with the anticipation of the fantastic blues rock show at hand.
Though they’re just a 3-piece band, the Samantha Fish sound is powerful. It rocks, it wails, it carries the crowd through the night with time seeming to pass by as quickly as the train that blared its horn at the perfect moment during the opening song “Road Runner.” With prowess and power, Samantha Fish band sped through the 2-hour set with near perfection.
I’d have to say this was one of my favorite performances I’ve seen at George’s. For my majority of experience, the bar has been graced with sloshed early-20s college students ready to PARTAY (!!!). But for Fish’s show, the crowd was attentive, appreciative and dancing with little to no abandon. From the enthusiastic woman letting loose in the front row to the smattering of couples dancing lovely together as if it was their wedding day, I didn’t see a single soul who wasn’t enjoying the shit out of the band’s set.
All three members of the Samantha Fish band are talented and function as a team. They vibe off each other and gain an impressive amount of control over the stage for just having 3 instruments. I love seeing small bands because they can’t pretend they know the music when they really don’t (at least not for long) and they can’t fake enthusiasm for an entire show. So when you see a small, powerful band like Samantha Fish…you know they’re in it to win.
Supporting their new album, Samantha Fish played a set that harkened back to older songs and featured an impressive selection of tracks from the new album, Wild Heart. The dedicated crowd sang along when they could and danced along when they didn’t know the words, creating an absolutely perfect crowd-musician exchange that truly solidified the perfection of the evening.
As the set came to a close, you could tell the crowd was nowhere near ready to shut it down. Feeding off the energy of the audience, the band took the opportunity to play a favorite of Fish’s, “Go Home.” The slower, softer song struck a chord with the audience and everybody just sort of fell into the melody. After “Go Home” the band pulled out their energetic, fun “Bitch on the Run” – a song Fish claims is one of her favorites to perform, and appears to also be a crowd favorite. At the end of the song, the audience was roaring for more. And one more fantastic song we did get.
Ending the set, the band played one of their newest covers, “Sympathy for the Devil.” Everybody on the floor loved it, dancing and singing along with unbridled enthusiasm. They swooned at Fish’s solo and I think we all turned into fanboys as the band exited the stage, ready to meet the audience and sign merch. The line at the merch table was long, a great sign for musicians these days.
I left that show feeling I had never seen a more respectful, enthusiastic crowd at a venue like George’s – and honestly the only other shows I’ve seen with such a fantastic exchange between the audience and performers was at intimate, acoustic, sit-down shows. I couldn’t have asked for more from the Samantha Fish band or the audience that night. You, too, can enjoy a Samantha Fish show this summer as the band tours supporting their new album. One of blues rock’s most impressive young stars, you’ll want to be one of the people who gets to say “I saw her before she was ridiculously famous.”