The stage at the iconic Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood, California, has spurred on the careers of many of rock music’s famous singer-songwriters over the years. Samantha Fish and Marc Broussard, two performers with strong industry buzz and a robust fan following, stopped in at the Troubadour on their U.S. tour. Their sold-out show on October 3, 2019, at the famous club showed everyone why each is drawing so much attention.
Fish and Broussard are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Elton John, Tom Waits, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne, who all played the club early in their careers. Fish opened the show and her set focused on tracks from her September 2019 album release called Kill or Be Kind, which thrilled the packed house. Fish and her tight band played the new fast-paced blues tunes that highlighted her strong guitar skills and are reminiscent of her previous albums. She also played some of the album’s seductive ballads that featured her excellent vocals and show her moving in a different direction, expanding her range.
Her enlarged band, now with Christopher Spies on saxophone, Harry Morter on trumpet and Phil Breen on keyboards, enhance the sound from her early blues power-trio days. She was a bundle of energy during blues-rock songs like the opener, “Love Your Lies” and “You Got It Bad.” The new album’s title track “Kill or Be Kind” as well as “Love Letters” are both sultry ballads that show off her exceptional voice, but still, finds space for Fish to blast thrilling guitar solos.
“Bulletproof” is another new track with a catchy hook. Fish used her cigar-box guitar running through a distortion pedal for the song. She belted out the tune, played a slide solo and encouraged the crowd to clap along to the beat. Her set ended with “Crow Jane,” an ancient blues cover that Fish recorded on her 2017 album Chills and Fever. She continued to use her distorted cigar box and a megaphone-like microphone for the vocals as the crowd clapped along and begged for more.
Unfortunately, Fish called it a night and the crowd had to wait for Marc Broussard and his band. Broussard came out to warm applause. The Louisiana crooner has soul to spare and his band of New Orleans-based musicians admirably complemented his vocal talents. Broussard opened with “Eye on the Prize,” a song from his self-titled 2011 album. He played a sweet cover of a Frankie Miller ballad called “Baton Rouge” that he recorded on his 2017 album Easy to Love.
Broussard’s original songs have heavy doses of throwback soul and R&B with nods to funk, blues and his Southern roots. He has released two soul covers albums, titled Save Our Soul and Save Our Soul II: Soul on a Mission, and established his charitable SOS Foundation in 2015. The second album came out in 2016 and he donated 50% of the profits to City of Refuge, a homeless veterans’ shelter. Broussard loves to mash up his tunes with some of those classic covers – seamlessly segueing back and forth.
An example of this came early in the set when he began his song “Try Me” from the 2008 EP called Must Be the Water and quickly transitioned into The Meters’ “Fire on the Bayou.” That funk classic smoothly jumped to Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” before swinging into The Temptation’s “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and then back to “Love and Happiness.” The crowd went nuts during this segment.
More classic covers blended with his original tunes to fill the rest of the set as Broussard and his band did amazing work on Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” which segued into Broussard’s “Dying Man” from his 2014 release A Life Worth Living. That song swung back to “Higher Ground” before launching into James Brown’s “Funky Good Time.” The band also played “Come Around” from their 2004 album Carencro, which segued into Brown’s “Get on Up” and Wonder’s “Superstitious.”
Broussard and the band teased AC/DC’s “Back in Black” before closing the set with another song from Carencro called “Home,” which is his biggest hit to date. The band came back for an encore that opened with beautiful vocals by Broussard on another cover from Save Our Soul II, Solomon Burke’s classic “Cry to Me.” At the conclusion of the song, all of the band members departed except Broussard.
Broussard put down his guitar and microphone, stepped to the front of the stage and talked about his newest charity project, S.O.S. III: A Lullaby Collection, coming out on November 15. It is a collection of lullaby covers with a portion of the proceeds going to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. He did a magical, a capella version of one of those lullabies, enrapturing the crowd. He finally finished, thanked everyone for coming and left to huge applause.
It was a night of great music at the Troubadour by two extremely talented musicians and their fabulous bands. Maybe the historical magic within the walls and on the stage of the legendary club will rub off on one or both of these artists. They each have the chops necessary to make it big.
Live photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon ©2019.