January 25, 2022 at Paradise Rock Club
There is a moment that every fan experiences when they see one of their favorite artists live in concert, a moment of near disbelief. It’s a moment where you realize that this icon, whose music you’ve had on repeat for months, is real, and standing right in front of your very eyes. Of course, you always knew this was the case, but as they say, seeing is believing. More than anything, the fan is just honored to be in the presence of their favorite artist.
It seemed that on the night of January 25 at the Paradise Rock Club, indie artist Samia experienced almost the reverse of this feeling: she was truly and humbly honored to be surrounded by her fans. “Are you real?” she asked the audience in grateful disbelief. “Did my mom pay you to be here?” Indeed, the house was packed with young fans screaming her name, complimenting her outfit and hair, and even tossing her gifts. One of these gifts was a stuffed plush pig, a direct reference to her song “Is There Something In the Movies,” which Samia promised to take care of (unlike the subject of said song). Her continuous gratitude for her fans’ kindness only further fueled their love for her, and contributed to the overall comforting vibe of the night.
Beyond audience interaction, Samia’s stage presence was quite strong. This was the second stop on her Loving U, Thanking U tour, and it seems that Samia is already pretty comfortable on stage. At the start of the show, she experienced a slight technical glitch with her mic pack that, while clearly bothering her for the first two songs, failed to interfere with her ability to perform in any meaningful way.
Easily at the forefront of Samia’s performance was her outstanding vocal talent. With each song, she completely filled the space with her melodious voice. In comparison to her slightly timid speaking voice, the jump to her singing voice was unreal. It’s abundantly clear that this woman was born to sing, and clearer still that she is fully confident in, and aware of, her ability. This confidence was put on full display in her dancing. In the instrumental sections of all of her songs, she was moving all over the stage. She shook her hips, she skipped around, she even danced with the flowing movements of a ballerina. And above all else, perhaps the strongest part of her performance was her ever-present smile. Whether she was singing a happy song or a sad one, or just talking to the audience, it seemed that her grin never left her face. There’s nothing better than seeing a performance and knowing that the performer is genuinely enjoying it, and that was certainly the case with Samia.
About halfway through the set, Samia surprised the audience by performing a brand new, unreleased track titled “Pour Some Sugar.” Although it’s not clear if this song is part of an upcoming project, it did stand out as different from her current discography. In particular, the sound of the band as a whole seemed to be fuller, with the guitar, bass and keys really sharing more of the spotlight than usual. Of course, this didn’t detract from Samia’s outstanding vocals, which in fact sounded even more powerful when placed on top of a heavier backing such as this one. This tease of new music did exactly what it needed to: it showcased Samia’s growth and range, and left her fans itching for more.
Speaking of the rest of the band, they also brought a great energy to the show. All of them avoided the stereotypical behavior of an uninterested backing band for a vocal performer, actually smiling and dancing reactively with Samia’s movements. They even got their own moment to shine mid-set, when Samia stepped offstage and the four of them sang an endearing cover of Alphaville’s “Forever Young,” prompting an audience-wide sing along.
The rest of the show continued on with the same upbeat energy throughout, with even the section of sad songs doing nothing to mellow the electrified crowd. As the main show came to an end and the band left the stage, the crowd continued to roar, so strong that the pre-encore break only lasted about 60 seconds before the band returned to the stage, this time with the addition of opener Annie DiRusso. The two female leads closed out with “Show Up,” a satisfying conclusion to the night. Samia said her bittersweet goodbyes, but after a show like that, one thing is for sure – she’s got more to show, and she’s not going anywhere.