Samantha Fish with special guest Wille & The Bandits performing her Faster Tour at Rock City Nottingham on Sunday 23rd October 2022

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Rock City was not only treated to a rousing blues set from Samantha Fish on Sunday night, but Wille & The Bandits, Cornwall’s finest also showcased their latest studio album, When The World Stood Still.

Like so many musicians this latest work was born from and inspired by months of lockdown, and so front man Willie Edwards made no secret of the fact that he wanted to get out there and showcase this latest offering.

Opener, new song Caught In The Middle immediately pulled out all of the stops as it morphed from hip hop to rock before Refuge saw excellent guitar work. And that was just the start as they went on to deliver a good old foot stomping, sing along bluesy rock and roll set list that immediately lifted the crowds mood.

They were great fun and captivating to watch, with lots of textures and layers interweaving through songs like Keep it On The Downlow, Judgement Day and Four Million Days. Good Stuff with its upbeat groove and sing along chorus was an undoubted addictive foot tapper before their superb closer; Bad News brought a rousing cheer from the crowd.

From the moment Samantha Fish stepped out of the shadows, grabbed her trademark cigar box guitar and purposely strode to the centre of the Rock City stage, she oozed swagger and self confidence.

Launching into her first number Bulletproof from her 2019 album Kill Or Be Kind, this Queen of Blues from Kansas City commanded the crowd’s attention and just like that she was off and running.

Fish was backed by a three piece band that included Ron Johnson on bass guitar, Sarah Tomek, an absolute powerhouse of a drummer and superb keyboards from Matt Wade, as she followed up with Better Be Lonely from her latest album Faster which served to showcase her smoky atmospheric vocals that are just as recognisable as her trademark guitar tone.

With an array of electric guitars behind her including her favoured white SG and her vintage style Gibson Red Firebird, she treated the crowd to a raunchy Twisted Ambition.

At her core Fish is a blues woman, but on Sunday night she seemed equally at home with her country tinged songs, swampy blues and gritty rock which all showcased her searing guitar work and vocal prowess.

The rest of her set continued to mix songs from across her catalogue, including Hello Stranger and Highway’s Holding Me Now, before No Angels with its roadhouse blues saw her deliver the nastiest slide and blues guitar of the night.

Bitch On The Run was another high energy crowd pleaser, before she finished her main set with Black Wind Howlin’, the title track from one of her most critically acclaimed albums which saw the band deliver a ten minute performance that left the crowd euphoric with its thrashing guitar crescendo that saw them demanding more.

Ending the night with Shake ‘Em On Down, Fish had delivered a live performance that saw infectious energy, fabulous vocals and funky blues riffs from her power pumping guitar playing.