Sam Fender at Corner Hotel, Melbourne, July 23, 2019

“Who is Sam Fender?” I wondered, as I starred at my TV during crazy hours of the night while watching a music guest on an episode of The Graham Norton Show. After watching the English music artist perform a catchy tune that was reminiscent of both The Killers/Brandon Flowers and Bruce Springsteen sounds, I decided to make it my mission to not only find out who this music artist is, but to see him perform live in my city.

A few months later and after much research, I attended Sam Fender’s debut headlining Melbourne show on Tuesday the 23rd of July at the Corner Hotel. With an incredible voice both metaphorically and literally, Sam Fender graced the iconic Melbourne venue with his presence, sharing his musings from initial debut song “Play God”, newly released single “Will We Talk?” about one-night stands, to “Dead Boys” a song about male suicide. Although “Leave Fast” captivated the Corner Hotel crowd with a hauntingly beautiful number addressing the fear of never leaving your hometown, it was unreleased track “White Privilege” from Sam Fender’s upcoming debut album that truly silenced the crowd, especially when he belted at a pivotal point of the song, making me gasp in awe.

Confident but clearly chuffed that he was being appreciated in the ‘other Hemisphere’, Sam Fender appeared boyishly awkward but comfortable on-stage, playfully addressing the crowd and even building rapport with the expats that proudly heckled him, also hailing from his side of the world.

My favourite part of the night however was when Fender performed the song that inspired my music mission, “Hypersonic Missiles”; a song about a glimmer of love and hope in a world full of chaos. Not only are the lyrics so profound and accurate to the reality we know today, but it is evident that Sam Fender is a talented and mature lyrical genius. Accompanied with his energetic brotherhood of a band (sadly, minus his saxophone player), I was certain that I was witnessing only the beginning of Sam Fender’s musical journey. That, and when the crowd (including myself) sung along to “Hypersonic Missiles” in unison, it gave me chills.

“So, who is Sam Fender?” Sam Fender is a singer-songwriter that demands your attention and deserves every moment of it. Despite severely reminding me of his hero, Bruce Springsteen (who I also adore), Sam Fender still has his own unique writing style and sound. Not only are Fender’s melodies pleasing to the ears, but Fender has something to say and isn’t afraid to speak out, or in his case – sing out. Born to be on-stage and share his songs with the world, I predict that this ‘Sam Fender‘ guy is going to be around for a long time, so if you aren’t accustomed to his music, it’s time to start listening. I feel very blessed to have seen Sam Fender perform live prior to the release of his debut album.

Sam Fender’s debut album “Hypersonic Missiles” will be released on September 13th, which doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you’ve heard unreleased tracks live – it’s a damn long wait. Until then, I will continue to listen to Sam Fender’s already released tunes and hope that the next time he visits Australia, that he brings his saxophone guy.

Header photography by me. Gallery photography by Grant Alexander.

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