Samantha Fish – Bullet Proof Tour 2024-The Newton Theatre – Newton, NJ

Samantha Fish – Bullet Proof Tour 2024

The Newton Theatre – Newton, NJ – 3/17/24

Review & Photos – Rebecca Wolf

The Newton Theatre was sold out on March 17th for singer-songwriter, guitarist Samantha Fish on her Bullet Proof Tour 2024. It’s not a surprise considering Fish has built quite a reputation in the music industry, as well as a fan following, since emerging on the scene 15 years ago. Fish is a charismatic performer, with exceptional blues rock guitar skills and impassioned, soulful vocals. In 2012, Fish’s album Runaway won the Blues Music Award for Best New Artist, and in the 12 years since she’s recorded seven studio albums. While often considered a blues artist, Fish’s music mixes flavors of rock, soul and Americana, creating a unique sound all her own. What’s also uniquely Samantha Fish are her blazing guitar skills that showcase a combination of powerful energy and graceful style.  

What is a surprise is that with Fish’s incredible musical artistry, the adoration of  her legions of fans, and the high-regard of those in the music industry, she’s not more of a “household name.” At The Newton Theatre I discovered another surprise. As I scanned the crowd, I observed the average age of the audience members to be middle aged and above. This age range is frequently seen at classic rock performances, where fans come to revel in the music from the 60s, 70s and 80s, music created and performed before the industry entered the computer-generated era. Many of these fans continue to appreciate music that feels real, authentic and tangible…an “old school” feel. There’s an enthusiasm about connecting to new artists who demonstrate these qualities. One of these musicians is Samantha Fish.

From the moment Fish made her way onto The Newton Theatre stage the audience was enraptured by her energetic spirit. As the drums began to rumble Fish put her hand up to her ear and motioned the crowd to make some noise. The hoots from the audience began to rise as the rhythmic drumbeat became increasingly powerful, inspiring the crowd to clap and stomp along to the heavy beat. Opening the set with “Bulletproof,” from 2019’s Kill or Be Kind, Fish played a fiery performance on her cigar box guitar, as she strut back and forth across the stage. Returning to her earlier days, Fish performed “Wild Heart,” the title track from her 2015 album, showcasing the perfect combination of rock and roll energy and passionate blues spirit. “Better Be Lonely,” from 2021’s Faster, an album that veered away from Fish’s blues base, infusing more of a pop sound, had fans grooving in their seats. 

There was never a moment throughout the close to 2-hour set when Fish was at anything less than peak performance. She consistently embodied a combination  of unbridled musical talent, artistic passion and glowing spirit that kept the audience enthralled. “Chills & Fever,” the title song from the 2017’s album, along with “Never Gonna Cry,” weaved sultry, blues tones between the energetic blues rock numbers, while “Black Wind Howlin’,” the title song from Fish’s second major studio album, brought searing, raw blues. 

As the band members departed the stage, Fish and her acoustic guitar remained centerstage. “This is the part of the show where we see how patient you guys are,” Fish said with a chuckle, to whistles and hoots from the crowd. “I’m gonna play you some blues because I’m a fan. This is a song by Charlie Patton,” Fish shared, as audience members continued whistling their approval. Plucking the guitar strings, Fish sang Jim Lee Blues, Pt. 1, from her 2015 album, with an aching, heartfelt bluesy twang that brought rapturous audience applause.

Regardless of the energy or the mood of a song, from the soulful ballad, “Dream Girl,” from Kill or Be Kind, to the seductive “I Put a Spell on You,” from 2012’s Girls With Guitars, Live, to the evening’s final number, the energetic, upbeat Bitch on the Run,” from Wild Heart, it was clear Fish puts her heart, soul and spirit into every performance. This award-winning artist lit up the stage with her authenticity, depth of spirit, musical passion and extraordinary artistic skill. It’s no surprise she played to a sold out crowd at The Newton Theatre. If the name Samantha Fish is not yet known in your household, I guarantee you will not be disappointed if you welcome her in.