Sunday, January 6, 2013

Samantha Fish Takes Davenport

I'm not a big fan of doing winter bargain hunts, it gets too cold, too snowy and icey on the roads and the car is untrustworthy, but upon checking my Facebook for the latest stories I heard that Samantha Fish was coming up to Davenport en route to a Chicago show, opening for Buddy Guy at Legends Sunday Night.  On perhaps one of the biggest spur of the moments I've done, I ended up getting an online ticket to get see her at The Redstone Room in historic Davenport's RME's building downtown.  It's a lot like CSPS here in CR, only the RME Building is a couple blocks from the Mississippi River.  Only 10 dollars gets you in.


For the most part of the afternoon I bided time by hitting The Source Bookstore and then Ragged Records, playing scratchy 45s till they kicked me out at closing time and then on to waste more time at FYE and dinner at Habernareros, then thought I could get a decent seat when I got there at 8.

That wasn't the case when I got there, there was a capacity crowd there and hung at the door for the better part of the evening trying not to get bumped by people coming in and trying to look over the shoulders of  a couple that hindered my view of the opening act The Winter Blues All Stars, a collection of teenagers covering classic R and B songs.  Mostly of the hits (Superstition, At Last, Let The Good Times Roll), the teen girls singers could belt them out, although the blonde (forgot her name) kinda overdid At Last and the band not exactly hitting the right notes.  But they had a excellent drummer in Cooper and a girl Saxophone player (think her name was Antionette) not more than 13 but could play the rhythm to Superstition just about dead on. Good to know that teens are still interested in playing blues and not trying to sugarcoat everything to bad beats and autotuner.  The Winter Blues All Stars, I hope can continue to play the blues,especially the sax player.

It takes a lot to convince me when it comes to play the blues; hell everybody around here does it be it pedestrian like The Blue Band which are good at their game or Ellis Kell who's one of the best if not the best that Davenport has to offer.  Samantha Fish comes from Kansas City is fast becoming one of the hottest blues player, male or female on the circuit.  I kinda came late to hearing her after buying Runaway last year and it influenced me to make a substitution on the best of 2011 since her album came too late for 2012.   Samantha is fairly well known in Davenport, playing there twice last year and returning Saturday Night.  Upon hearing Runaway I figured her to be in the league of a Bonnie Raitt but judging last night, she's more in tune with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Hubert Sumlin to which she played three Howlin' Wolf songs and a crazed Who's Been Talking and Killing Floor.  Backed by a perfect combination section of Chris Alexander on bass and Go Go Ray on drums,  they complimented Sam with aggressive but on the slower number a more subtle style.  Go Go was a pleasure to watch on drums.

I wasn't exactly pleased of where I was sitting between the passerby's and the couple in front of me moving their damn chair out in the middle of the aisle so I basically ventured up closer to the stage.  About the time that Samantha took her shoes off and played barefoot from there on out.  Playing new songs from her forthcoming album (She says it should be out in May), the crowd seemed to enjoy them as much as the Wolf numbers.  About that time, she caught on fire and the last two numbers from her Runaway album,  Money To Burn and the title track to which both songs went over ten minutes and showed the world that Samantha Fish when it comes to the blues, she's the real deal.  I have never seen anybody attack these song with the intensity not unlike regular blues artists who simply go through the emotions.  Samantha, really feels the blues with her expressions and guitar playing that you can't help but get taken over by the power of her music.

The last number Runaway is her signature tune and she takes it home, jumping off stage, swinging along with the crowd right to the point that she's right next to me wailing away on guitar like a female Stevie Ray.  Then jumps on the chair and still plays without missing a beat.  Her interaction with the crowd, even though she may be a star, she's one of us.  And it makes all of us love her that even more.  And here I am, sitting there, managing to make my way so close to the point of touching her that OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE SHE's Right With Me, playing guitar in front of me on top of a chair.  One of those moments that I wished I would have bought a camera to document it all.  Then she bounced right off the chair, back on stage and rocking us up to the top of the hour.

The encore was another lengthy jam, this time a rework of Funk 49, the old Joe Walsh song with Go Go and Chris adding some solos before Samantha ends it all with one more guitar solo and then it was all over for the night, a great way to end the evening, as she did a meet and greet with fans afterwards along with Chris. Go Go was tearing down his drums as I left and I'm sure there'll be a next time to which Samantha will return to the area  (she plays in Des Monies on Friday the 11th at the Gas Light, I recommend you go see her if she's in the area or in Kansas City as she'll be playing to sold out shows there).  I still stand by my remark of a few months ago and even more so last night that I have heard and seen the new face of the blues and that person remains Samantha Fish.

She IS the real deal.

The next night Samantha played Chicago opening for Buddy Guy to which this picture comes from and link courtesy of Tom Marker & WXRT:


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