SAMANTHA FISH + FÉLIX RABIN – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 08.03.20
I arrived in plenty of time outside Concorde 2. Again another cold wet and breezy evening on the seafront. The queue of people winding outside waiting to get in. A hand gel bottle greeted us as we filed in. Most people took a squirt of the liquid before entering a warm Concorde 2.
The venue was pretty busy which is great to see, it was a Sunday night–a school night. Looking Around it was great to see a really wide variety of concert goers for tonight.
First to take to the stage and bang on time, 8pm sharp was Félix Rabin, he had a band with him somewhere in the generous fog created by the smoke machine. He stepped forward whilst buckling up his guitar, Félix had a drummer and a bass player. He says he knows Los Angeles inside-out, and has played in almost every club in the UK. I’ll wager he wishes he was in warmer climes tonight, after seeing a photo of them all on a wet and windy Brighton Pier. Anyway, he peered out into the sizeable crowd and smiled as he hit his first note of the evening.
A serious set of chords and riffs, The guitar built and in came the bass and drums to welcome in the first song of his set, ‘Down Our Roads’. Félix didn’t hang about on showing his electric skills as his young fingers picked out a divine solo slot in the song.
Blistering guitars notes hooked us up for ‘Say (You Wont Leave Me)’. This is a track of his forthcoming EP ‘POGBOY’. He really had an opportunity to let his vocals out of the cage before we were treated to another defining solo break. His feet flying as fast as his fingers as he kicked in and out the pedals at his feet.
The drums kicked in as Félix plucked the notes from his frets for the intro to ‘Moving On’. Some superior guitar playing greeted us again for this one. A slightly slower number. I could imagine say Bryan Adams kicking himself for not having this one! It’s a great song.If you listen to the EP he has a brass/horns section behind him. Not tonight, this was stripped back and really rather good.
Sorry, a comparison is made here to some of his playing and styles that draw a slight Hendrix comparison as he made his music. He really has mastered his sound and what he was doing for us tonight. So the Hendrix thing popped into my head, then the opener of the fluttering guitar and opening notes heralded ‘Voodoo Chile’.
This was not a straight “cover” as Félix improvised with some of his own brilliant interpretations of the song with some glorious guitar breaks. A shout to his bass player for some fabulous playing especially through this number. Watching Félix he was totally on it and I am guessing pure adrenaline fuelled those digits. The drums on point really pulled this whole song into something quite extraordinary. I loved it, and the crowd loved it! A great choice Félix it really gave you and the band a chance to shine. You nailed it. The superb guitar leads seemed to flow and eddy from the neck of his guitar washing over us. If you know the song, you will know it builds and the guys did the same, doing it justice. Superb stuff and rightfully greeted with a massive cheer by the now crammed Concorde 2.
Félix apologised for his accent if anyone had trouble in hearing what he was saying. No problem Félix we heard every word and every note! Another track ‘Find Me’ followed quickly. He had the crowd by now. This was quite a spectacular display of guitar playing and musicianship, no-frills but Félix and his band were busy delivering an enjoyable set of guitar led rock and roll.
The last song of his set, which just flew by, was the first track of his new EP, ‘Walk’. An out and out rocker to end things. This has a kind of familiar sound to it, but it twists and changes as sounds and pace change. The staccato guitar firing at us through this one, and it has a real catchy chorus line.
Félix and his band impressed me. I loved the sounds and the creative twists that Félix puts on the genre with his material. Crowd pleasing is obviously something Félix can achieve, and with ease. The entire set was highly enjoyable.
It was a delight to meet up after the gig, he was a really nice guy and we chatted about the tour, the setlist and I even managed to grab a signed CD. Thank you Félix–hope to see you again for a longer set.
We had enjoyed Félix Rabins set. He had warmed the crowd up nicely for Samantha Fish. The venue, Concorde 2 was now absolutely packed. The crowd, shoulder to shoulder, waiting for Samantha Fish to take the stage. And bang on 9pm the band filed out onto the stage.
Samantha Fish (born January 30, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist originally from Kansas City, Missouri. While often cited as a blues artist, Fish’s albums and live shows feature multiple genres, including rock, country, funk, bluegrass and ballads.
A look at the stage showed an absolute plethora of guitars. There must have been half a dozen being looked after by a guitar tech.
The band took their positions and broke into an instrumental ‘Hole In The Bottom’. The crowd clearly getting restless to see Samantha, not to worry as a voice addressed us announcing “Ladies and Gentlemen Ms Samantha Fish” and that was greeted with a warm cheer as she took to the stage with her cigar box guitar and quickly plugging in her luminous pink jack plug we were away!
This lady seemed to just explode onto the stage wearing a black and white jacket, stretch black latex jeans and yellow heels. Her backing band, also certainly looked the part.
An intro of ‘Love Your Lies’ took us straight into ‘Bullet Proof’. An elongated scrape down the strings on her custom guitar as she then started up the guitar, which just sounded incredible and different. She would swap between two mics for the vocal changes. OK, there you have it one song and the place was jumping. This song almost has a heavy funk beat behind it, but it is all changed and mixed around with the sounds from the four string Cigar Box. This track is from the new album ‘Kill Or Be Kind’ that was released at the tail end of 2019.It’s an all-out foot stomper and great to feel the Brighton crowd doing just that!
A change of guitars to a SG and the title track from the album ‘Kill Or Be Kind’ was next. It’s amazing the vocal ranges on display and we were only two songs in. The keys and solid bass really shone through behind Samantha’s vocals. This really has an old school smokey bar room venue atmosphere behind it as Samantha massages your ears with the smooth silky chorus. Just mesmerising.
Then it was up a gear again as ‘Watch It Die’ was fired at us. Another guitar–this time a Black Delaney. The band were really cooking it up for us tonight as the synched up keys gave us a solid backing to this one. I told you there were many guitars.
‘Love Letters’, back on the SG, with ‘She Don’t Live Around Here Anymore’–a superb vocal display for this ballad. So far we had a touch of rock, funk and ballads and we were only about halfway through the set. ‘You Got It Bad’ is a real gutsy blues number. Loved this one! It was a quick switch to an acoustic guitar for ‘Say Goodbye’ and a sharing of the vocal duties with a guest slot from Nicholas David, also on keys. A classically delivered song, which shook things up a little.
A touch of country and western for ‘Little Baby’, and yes this song brought another guitar change to a Jaguar. This one brought a hoedown party feel to Concorde 2 and the crowd loved it, almost has a feel of ‘Shout!’ to it. A shout to the guitar playing on this one! Is there anything Samantha Fish can’t do? I doubt it, she is extraordinary. The rock and roller ‘No Angels’ and the slower tempo ‘Dream Girls’, both on the SG, followed quickly. This band is totally on point and really are delivering a tour de force behind Samantha.
A blinding ‘Bitch On The Run’ followed. This one had Concorde 2 positively jumping. What a storming way to end your set! Screaming guitars and a great blast of gutsy rocking goodness. Samantha just pulled the guitar riffs on this and served them to her crowd. The band also had a chance to do their own solo slots which was great fun. What a climax. And that was it. 90 minutes almost gone! The Brighton chant of “One More Song” worked!
We had time for a couple more as a super encore. Another spot of Nicholas David on vocals and keys. Samantha had changed her guitar to the one it all started with–The cigar box.The sliding guitar notes heralded ‘Shake ‘Em On Down’. This went down a storm and those feet thumping the floor of the venue, hands in the air. What a joy to be there and share this night. And that blast brought things to a close, great vocals, great guitar(s) playing, top band, rock, country, funk, bluegrass and ballads–yep Samantha gave us it all tonight.
There was no doubt that Samantha Fish had made sure the audience had been thoroughly entertained tonight. The set had been precisely calibrated, it earned her a long running ovation from the crowd.
I might just have to go and see her again.
Just in case I forget I have to commend the Concorde 2 sound team for tonight, Samantha and her band sound brilliant. Everything was crisp and clear, and the volume was spot on.
Tonight’s line up is believed to have been: Samantha Fish (guitars/vocals), Chris Alexander (bass/vocals), Phil Breen (keyboards), Scott Graves (drums), Christopher Spies and Nicholas David on keys and vocals.
For further information on Samantha Fish, visit her official website – www.samanthafish.com
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