Kansas City guitar-slinger Samantha Fish had the crowd at Williamsburg’s Hall at MP in the palm of her hand as she roared through a set of high octane blues and no-nonsense three chord rock. From the opening chords of “Wild Heart,” the audience knew they were in for a night of stellar musicianship. Fish and bassist Chris Alexander have a musical rapport that borders on telepathy. Alexander anticipated every nuance of Fish’s guitar and vocals and provided a tight bottom end. Go-Go Davis was unflappable behind his drum kit – his rock solid backbeat kept the music anchored throughout the set.
Fish is a commanding singer and guitarist, but one of her greatest strengths as a musician is her versatility. “Highway is My Home” treated the crowd to a dose of pure rock n’ roll swagger, while “Turn It Up” gave Fish a chance to stretch out on slide guitar and bring a taste of Hill Country Blues to New York. After an hour of driving blues-rock, Fish was ready to shift gears. Trading her custom built Telecaster for an acoustic guitar, she gave a stately reading of Charlie Patton’s “Jim Lee Blues.” The stripped down arrangement allowed Fish’s powerhouse voice to shine. “Go Home,” a delicately performed acoustic ballad, bought a hint of country twang to Fish’s set. A sultry cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” made spines tingle. Turning on a dime once more, Fish closed the show with the blistering rocker “Bitch On the Run.”
Fish’s talent and ability to work a crowd are both remarkable given her young age. She’s a skilled band leader with a natural love of performing. Samantha Fish is just getting warmed up – the contemporary blues scene has a new rising star.