Samantha Fish gets San Diego whoopin’ & hollerin’ for more

A sold-out first night of tour is always nice. Plus, an intimate venue like Solana Beach’s Belly Up — just north up the 5 from the San Diego airport — allows artists to get up-close and personal with their adoring fans.

And, boy, were San Diego blues rock fans in for a treat on September 12th!

The venue was already alive upon entering at 8pm, echoing with the impressive shouts and shreds of opening act, Eric Johanson. Fresh off an album release, titled The Deep and The Dirty, Johanson — alongside two equally talented players — proceeded to drop the jaws clean off everyone’s faces. This man can ROCK and he’s not afraid to show it. A talent of this caliber wasn’t expected so early in the night, so I had to go regroup after his set back at the merch table to give him all my money.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for Sam Fish up next, Johanson could’ve kept going all night!

No one would’ve minded. Watch out for this rising Americana outlaw from the “Deep South” of New Orleans! He’s sure to rise to a headlining slot sooner than later.

Let me paused for a quick backstory of how I ended up here. Let’s also start in Marshfield, Massachusetts. It was an almost unbearably hot day at the 2018 installment of Levitate Music Festival — an event that unites bluegrass, jam band, folk, and reggae into a weekend of revelry. I flew out from San Diego just for it. Now, in the midst of one of my cycles from stage to stage, running around with my camera trying to photograph all the artists overlapping each other, one performance made me stop dead in my tracks. She was on the side stage, a name I’ve never heard of, and was absolutely SLAYING on the guitar in 4-inch heels. Her red pumps, skintight black pleather pants, and iconic Marilyn Monroe hair immediately made her intriguing, without mentioning the fact that what I was hearing from the stage was beyond comprehension. I thought, at that moment, that I was witnessing one of the best guitarists play live… on an unreasonably small stage!! I hung around maybe 30-or-so seconds after I got the shots I needed before I had to run to the next set across the grounds (as a photographer, you have to be prompt). But I vowed, then and there, that I will see this woman in action again — and for longer next time.

Fast-forward five years and here I am again — in utter awe of Samantha Fish.

Coming out in signature style and switching guitars every song, Samantha Fish is a force to be reckoned with. Every song of hers is a banger. And she started with the catalyst of them all — “Bulletproof (Tangle Eye Mix)” off Kill or Be Kind. Traversing her entire discography, the crowd was entertained to say the least, from “Wild Heart” to “Blood In The Water” to “Love Letters”. “Chills and Fever” was particularly delectable, not just being one of my faves, but having Samantha and her band go into a Doors-y, psychedelic jazz interlude, only to wrap back to the chorus minutes later. Phenomenal execution, irrefutable talent, pitch-perfect vocals. The precision of Samantha Fish is something of legends.

Samantha gave her backing boys a quick break in the middle of the set, improvising acoustically (as she purported to the audience). At that point, it didn’t matter what she played or sang; she had everyone in the building hooked.

If you’re able to see Samantha Fish in a town near you, do not hesitate, since tickets most likely will sell out! As one of the most intriguing performers and genuine talents out there, you won’t be disappointed. It’s an understatement to say this was well worth the five-year wait.

Photography by Kristy Rose

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