Sam Fender, a 25-year-old indie rock singer-songwriter from Newcastle, England, made his 2019 United States Tour debut at the Troubadour in West Hollywood on Sept. 30th. Despite cancelling a previous show due to illness, Fender did his part to live up to the musical prestige associated with the Troubadour.
Opening the show with his upbeat single “Millennial”, Fender and his energetic band had the entirety of the intimate audience-- including myself-- screaming along with his first line of the night. It did not take long for Fender’s natural British charm and endearing humility to shine through.
In a moment of awe, Fender let slip that his favorite rock singer, and Troubadour legend, Elton John, had wished him luck before this particular show. The idea of Fender and John’s short conversation added to the surrealism of the night for both Fender and us as an audience.
The skeptics in the crowd that were not won over by the young singer’s playful humor were sure to be impressed by his rather meaningful and deep lyrics. With a set list featuring songs like “Dead Boys”, “Poundshop Kardashians”, and “Hypersonic Missiles”, Fender finds himself as an unsuspecting activist. He addresses issues he believes are under recognized, including male suicide, fake media culture, and nuclear violence, through music.
Fender created an atmosphere among the venue that allowed for frequent audience interaction. Multiple audience members revealed that they were from his hometown or other parts of Britain that he was familiar with, and this familiarity led to more acclamation from the crowd, a feat which clearly made Fender admire the loyalty of Los Angeles fan culture even more.
The highlight of my concert experience was his spontaneous performance of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”. It wasn’t until multiple demands and cheers were made by the audience for a cover of Springsteen, a commonly known musical hero of Fender’s, that he gave into peer pressure. This time the audience was left in awe by Fender’s on-the-spot reinvention of the classic rock song.
The night eventually came to a close after twelve rhythmic songs. The instrumentals were seemingly spot on and Fender’s voice was full, clear, and close to flawless, in spite of his cold. The pure joy and enthusiasm that Fender and his band experienced and endorsed that night reminds me of why I’m dedicated to the Fender fandom.
Jonas Scale of Concert Evaluation Key:
Nick- Awesome. Could go 17 times for his 17 weddings.
Joe- Pretty good. Not totally worth the price.
Kevin- Could have been better. Fairly average.
The Bonus Jonas (Frankie)- Awful. Why am I here?
Fender receives a Joe on the Jonas Scale of Concert Evaluation. He was surprisingly better than I thought and would recommend his concerts to friends, but I think he is still young and could work on his rock star persona.