Review: Original Music at SAMM’s, 12th March 2019

So I decided to check out SAMM’s inaugural original music night this week and, boy, am I glad I did. Chilling out in the basement, sipping from the interestingly-named customer-created cocktails, I could almost forget it was the middle of the week and set aside all thoughts of to-do lists and impending deadlines. Friday night vibes were provided on a Tuesday. What more could anyone ask for?

We sat in the main bar for our first couple of drinks, whilst everyone was still soundchecking from downstairs. There were a few ominous sounds emanating from the basement and we genuinely almost drank up and ran home. Thankfully I already knew two of the acts on the bill so remained optimistic.

We ventured downstairs and took up a couple seats closest to the stage, yet still hugging the wall like everyone else. Within moments SIR opened his mouth to sing and I was instantly captivated. What a beautiful voice, so gentle and soothing, every note tinged with a hint of melancholy and yet somehow reassuring. The arrangements were interesting and the chord voicings unique. When his brief set drew to a close I was definitely left wanting more.

Little did I know, or could I tell, that this was his first live performance in front of an audience. He has been on the Doc Mason Radio Show on PCR as well as a guest of BBC Introducing but yet to put himself in front of a crowd. I only found out this information the following day, wanting as I was to find his music and make the requisite social media connections. If he seemed shy between songs it merely added charm and it soon dissipated each time he began playing.

If you want to hear for yourself, check out the fantastic song ‘Pale White Dress’:

Next to the stage was the more seasoned performer, Dan Poole. Dan was a frequent performer at SAMM’s previous incarnation Puzzles?, before it made the move a few doors down. He had yet to perform at the new venue, having spent the last year travelling around Asia. His hair now grown, tied back out of his face, and facial hair to boot, he came to the stage with the same charisma and wit but with an added gravitas to his very personal music.

Perennial favourite ‘Euphoria’ still evokes a very real connection with a familiar emotion – of not wanting to let go of somebody, just wanting for a brief moment to forget any recent changes and have one more conversation.

Rounding out the evening were Nick Corney + The Buzz Rats. One Buzz Rat short, and so lacking drums, it was interesting to hear the band in a different mode. As someone who has seen the band play quite often, I was happy to be afforded the opportunity to pay more attention to some of Nick’s carefully-crafted and – by his own admission on the night – rambling lyrics as well as hear the subtlety of the guitar work.

The songs from new EP ‘By the Skin of Our Teeth’ have a lot more punch than anything they’ve put out before but even without the power of the drums underpinning the performances they were still a tour de force. You can hear them in their original form over on Bandcamp:

Overall, a really enjoyable night was had and there were smiles on the faces of everyone around. I applaud SAMM’s for supporting original music. The night should be the second Tuesday of every month. Here’s to the next one… Cheers!