Review: Sam Fender, Leeds Arena, November 24 – 12 Photos



Right now, the world is at Sam Fender’s feet and that’s for the taking. Their no-nonsense brand of guitar rock and a barrowload of songs that their audiences can recognize marks a refreshing change in the mediocrity that currently finds its way up the charts and onto our airwaves.

Fender has now delivered two great albums, the latest of which, Seventeen Going Under, pulls off the tricky business of being even better than their first hypersonic missiles.



The energy of their performances, Springsteen’s guitarist Stevie van Zandt (with whom Fender Newcastle took the stage pre-Covid) and the regular performances of some of Boss’ songs mean comparisons to a young Bruce Springsteen are inevitable.

But forget New Jersey, cars and girls, it’s growing up on the mean streets of Newcastle that make up and influence Fender’s songs.



As any Geordie will tell you, he is one of them. Last week he played at the sold-out Newcastle Arena with a capacity of 11,000, which gave him a hero’s welcome and this week it was his turn to see what the fuss was about when he performed at FD Arena on Wednesday.

These shows have been rearranged, thanks to the postponement of covid, but already



Next year Fender has a sold-out spring tour of the arenas to keep you busy ahead of some coveted slots at The Killer’s summer stadium show.

Taking the stage to a background of sax and trumpets, the crowd was already booing well, but as soon as Fender went outside and his guitar was coming to a boil. Opening numbers shall we talk? The tone was set for the evening and an enthusiastic crowd cheered as their collective singalong surprised the fenders.

It was a great start to the set and was followed by the aptly titled Getting Started. The tempo slowed down with the mournful Dead Boys—a song addressing teen depression and suicide—and a spirited version of The Borders is preceded by chants from the new album, arguably the strongest track on their first release.

This song might change your mind if you’re not up for the Springsteen comparisons. The contribution of sax player Johnny Davis just before the final chorus vividly recalls the late Clarence Clemons’ role in the E-Street Band. It was wonderful to see the band singing along to the voices of the audience in full swing.

Fender told the crowd that there would be a mosh pit for some songs and, as the space was created, told the audience: “Go in it, or not. But if you do, take care of each other and whoever also goes down pick it up and if there’s a problem I’ll hold it until it’s resolved.

The Spice and COVID-infused thrash, titled Howden Aldi Death Que, provided a moose occasion, during which participants strongly recited the advice in the song “Keep your distance / Woh woh woh woh woh woh / He’s less than two meters”. rejected.

Another cracking song from the new album Get You Down was enhanced again by a love letter from Fender to his dad before Davis’ driving sax run and spit of you.

Last week he took to social media for fans to send pictures of themselves with their loved ones, saying some would be used as backgrounds while singing on tour.

This created an emotional song about how fathers and sons often struggle to talk about their feelings, so Fender’s lyrics cover how his grandmother’s death affected his father and how it made him reconnect with loved ones. Reminds me of the importance of making the most of your time. ,

Fender ended his main set emphatic with the crowd favorite Play God, but before that we had a great version of Seventeen Going Under. The song is a brutally honest, almost nihilistic behind-the-scenes look at his teenage years, including snooping videos, fist fights on the beach, scraps with “Buzzies”, first love, his mother’s struggle with debt, DWP’s illness and Mention the dangers of worry. Anger. There is no doubt that it is either the power of the song or how deep the lyrics are.

Armed with his gray Jazzmaster guitar, Fender returns to the stage with Dave L’Euppe of Australian backing band Gang of Youths – who was incidentally excellent – to sing Springsteen’s I’m on Fire and then another of his songs. covered, Dancing in the Dark, before his bandmates reunited with him for Saturday.

There was only one song that could end the evening and that, of course, was the hypersonic missile, with the crowd bouncing and singing at top volume as columns of CO2 shot skyward and confetti showers their Fell all around.

It was an assured performance that showed confidence and swagger and demonstrated why Fender is currently riding high with both critics and fans. In August I saw him and his band descend from the roof of about 300 capacity Theater With his performance in Stockton. In Leeds, he stepped up and repeated the feat to over 13,000 people. Tickets for next year’s show are like gold dust, so I for one am hoping bookers for next summer’s open air theater season in Scarborough are taking note and encouraging them to take a trip to the seaside. trying to do.

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