By Terry Marland, Rock At Night Wales
Live Review: Samantha Fish and Wille and the Bandits-Manchester Academy 2-Sunday 16th October 2022
Manchester fans have been waiting a long time for this gig, this date has been bounced from February this year due to Covid concerns. Tonight the packed crowd are in expectant mood as they await the return of Samantha Fish.
First up though it’s Wille and the Bandits. As we have come to expect from Wille Edwards and his band they produce an excellent set featuring tracks from their back catalogue that stretches back thirteen years. Fronted by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Edwards the band play an engaging selection of songs opening with ‘Caught in the Middle’ from their most recent album When the World Stood Still and closing with an explosive “Bad News” from their 2017 Steal CD . They produce a unique sound, embedding rock , blues and folk influences and are well worth following up via streaming platforms or even better go and see them live on this tour.
After a brief interval Samantha Fish takes to the stage dressed from head to toe in black leather her Cigar Box Guitar poised for the first number. After a brief “How you doin’ Manchester?” she launches into an explosive “Bullet Proof” from her 2019 album “Kill or be Kind” featuring swampy guitar and bluesy vocals she alternates between microphones to give a retro effect. It’s a powerful opening that sets the bar high.
The set tonight features four songs from 2021’s Faster album including a searing “All Ice no Whiskey” again giving Fish the opportunity to display her jaw dropping guitar skills before slipping seamlessly into “Twisted Ambition”, from the same album, featuring a truly mind blowing solo.
Other set highlights for me include an atmospheric “Chills and Fever” and an emotional “Either Way I Lose” both delivered with soul and emotion.
Throughout Fish is backed by a stellar band of Ron Johnson on bass, Sarah Tomek on drums and Matt Wade on keyboards.
In between songs Fish engages with the crowd on topics as diverse as the Sunday roast, breaking the fourth wall and the pandemic. She’s a natural performer and the set is perfectly weighted to deliver crowd satisfaction on all fronts. She sings from the heart. Her bluesy vocals entwined with stunning guitar skills makes for an intoxicating mix that ranks her high among contemporary artists.
See remaining dates on the UK tour here https://www.samanthafish.com/tour/
Wille & the Bandits
Wille & The Bandits
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