Live Review – Sam Fender

QMU, 03/05/19

Sam Fender graced the stage of our very own QMU on Friday 3rd May and brought with him a gig to remember. Since winning the 2019 Brit Award for Critics’ Choice earlier this year, he has become a real success story, and this gig was definitely proof of his undeniable talent. 

Fender very cleverly combines his own discontent with politics within his music, something which makes it all the more relatable as the crowd was in complete agreement with him. He recently told GQ that “pretty much every prime minister since I can remember has made me mad”. The North East of England has suffered at the hands of greedy politicians for decades, something all too relatable to a Glasgow audience.

‘Leave Fast’ projects the desperate need to escape one’s hometown when he sings that “an old man told me to leave fast or stay forever”. His latest single ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ really was the standout tune: as he sings that “the world is gonna end but till then I give you everything I have” an unexpected pit breaks out and the crowd jump in our shared worry about the state of the world, almost agreeing that if the world did end now, at least this gig was a class experience to end it on. 

Alongside political discontent, the song ‘Dead Boys’ explores the mental health crisis that is disproportionality affecting men across the country. He sings “nobody ever could explain all the dead boys in our hometown” and the audience shudder at an all-too-commonly-known experience. When his lyrics are so emotive, no wonder the audience’s reaction mimics this.

He even treated the crowd to new tunes off his debut album Hypersonic Missiles, which is being released in August. Similarly, these songs address toxic masculinity, Trump, and even mention the disaster that is Brexit. No wonder the young crowd felt so engrossed in every word he sang: our own thoughts were being projected back to us. 

Throughout all the success he has gained so far, it is clear he has never forgotten his Northern roots. The merch stand even resembled a kebab shop, and as I bought my t-shirt wrapped like a kebab I could have bought Fender’s very own garlic mayo alongside it. 

Sam Fender is the perfect artist for this generation as he mixes poetic lyrics, rock guitars, and regional charm to make his gig the experience that it was. All this excitement and success surrounding him has come before he’s even released an album and although I never doubted his talent before, seeing him live was proof that Fender is one to watch.  Returning to Glasgow at the end of the year, he really is an artist not to miss. 

[Grace Richardson – she/her – @headcarz]

[Photo credit: Ben Hetherington]

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