Samantha Fish Heats Up New Orleans’ Howlin’ Wolf (SHOW REVIEW)

Kicking off the late-night shows for weekend number two of Jazzfest in New Orleans, Samantha Fish blazed a set steeped in heavy electric blues across the stage at Howlin’ Wolf on Thursday night May 5th.

Before the headliner, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears opened things with their mix of gutbucket blues and soulful rock and roll. The four-piece turned out some gnarly guitar riffs during the shout-along “I’m Broke” as drums banged and saxophones blared out amongst the loud sound.  Mixing Led Zeppelin riffs and RL Burnside blues vamps the band came across as a revival throwdown on speed. 

Samantha Fish took over the stage, riding high from her most recent release Faster, Fish and her bandmates, Ron Johnson on bass, drummer Sarah Tomek, and Matt Wade on keyboards confidently began the night with “Bulletproof”. Fish produced a fiery trial, ripping on her cigar box guitar during the opener, sliding up and down the small fretboard. 

The dramatic “Loud” was highlighted by Wade’s piano work and “Highway’s Holding Me Now” had big drum breaks from Tomek. Fish was the clear rock star though, commanding the stage with a mega solo on the headbanging “Twisted Ambition” and her slide guitar mastery during “Love Letters”. 

“Chills and Fever” grooved with predominant organ work while “If I Lose” showed off Fish’s huge vocals to the sold-out crowd. “Bitch On The Run” was straight-ahead rock and roll but “Dream Girl” was a better showcase of Fish’s talents, starting slow and then swelling with layers of sound, passionate singing, and mega guitar riffs.

The show ended with the encore blues celebration of “Shake’Em On Down” as each member took a mini solo. Fish went back to her cigar box slide playing to bring the night full circle around warbling excursions and huge crescendos. Few are as talented or magnetic as a performer as Samantha Fish and all levels of her skills were on display during this hot night at the Howlin’ Wolf.  

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