SAMIA CONCERT REVIEW
By Aileen Tran
Samia put on a sold-out show at Brighton Music Hall on October 1st, with singer-songwriter Savannah Conley opening. This performance followed the release of her 2021 EP Scout, and was her first time back in Boston since February 2019.
Nashville-native Savannah Conley began her set a little after 8pm, and set the tone for the night with her not-quite-sad but not-quite-happy aura. Genre-wise, Conley doesn’t put herself into a box and her sound ranges from twangy folk, to indie-pop, to country. Her songs sounded like the Lumineers had a baby with Mazzy Star, mixed with a distinctive vibrato evocative of Stevie Nicks—all in the best way possible.
The 24-year-old opened with songs from her 2018 album Twenty-Twenty, with Conley struggling with themes of heartbreak and vulnerability. In “Same Old Eyes,” Conley crooned about the loss of innocence that comes with growing up and seeing the real world. She went on to perform a stripped-down version of her 2020 single “Being Around You,” and showcased her impressive range when she belted out the chorus, “I’m so sick of being aROOouunD YOOooUUUU!” over and over. Conley finished her set with a cover of “Do I Wanna Know?” by the Arctic Monkeys, and the audience knew every word.
After Savannah Conley left the stage, Samia walked out in a flowing white dress with billowing sleeves that reminded me of a 19th century evening gown. The crowd went absolutely wild, and Samia kept throwing her head back in laughter and disbelief. She excitedly waved at the crowd like a little kid and opened with “Pool.” The ethereal vibe of the song matched her dress perfectly.
Throughout her set, Samia seemed genuinely shocked that the crowd loved her so much and, at times, was physically taken aback when the audience cheered her on. After profusely thanking everyone for a sold-out show, she joked, “What is happening? I’m dissociating.” With her goofy open-mouthed smile and soft-spoken voice, Samia seemed like a bashful girl who doesn’t like to draw attention to herself. That is, until she starts performing. I wouldn’t necessarily call her movements “dancing,” but Samia moved her body with the music however she saw fit. Whether she was jumping up and down in double time or doing her own version of ballet bourrées, it was clear she was comfortable on stage.
Samia went on to perform “Fit N Full,” “Big Wheel,” “Triptych,” and “Stellate,” all from her 2020 debut album The Baby. What struck me during these first few songs was that Samia has the kind of voice that sounds even better in person than it does through your headphones. Her vocal range seems so effortless that when you try to sing-along and match her pitch, you’ll most likely hear your voice cracking like a prepubescent boy.
Savannah Conley rejoined Samia to perform “As You Are”, from the EP Scout. Everyone on the stage, including the backup players, looked like they were having the time of their lives— like they were just best friends enjoying each other's company. After Conley left the stage, Samia performed her 2017 single “Welcome to Eden” and left the stage for a brief intermission.
During this time, her four backup players sang a cover of Bobby Vinton’s “Mr. Lonely.” With their matching silk pajamas and overexaggerated singing, these guys clearly didn't take themselves too seriously and the crowd had a good laugh before Samia returned to the stage.
Samia picked up where she left off with the mournful 2018 single “Django” and a few more songs from The Baby, including “Limbo Bitch,” “Waverly,” “Minnesota,” and “Is There Something in the Movies?” (my personal favorite). If you listen to any of these songs, it’s apparent that Samia has incredible songwriting skills. She knows how to put feelings into words in the most creative way—as if you’re reading a poem that makes more and more sense each time you read it. She then went on to perform a cover of the 1977 Heart song “Barracuda.”
Before the night could end, the audience demanded an encore and Samia delivered with her 2018 single “21.” The lyrics talk about looking forward to being 21 and a “real adult” all your life, until you actually turn 21 and realize you’re still as unprepared as you’ve ever been. Samia goes on to explore societal pressures to live a certain way or look a certain way with the lyrics, “I weigh a hundred and fucking something pounds, That makes me almost good, It is nice to be a hero, But it's better to be anything that anyone could want in a woman.” Because the crowd consisted of mostly college students, this song was a perfect choice to cap off the night. Everyone was screaming the words and the energy in the venue was tangible before Samia finally finished her set and walked off the stage.
After this show, I can confidently say that no one else does it like Samia. Her voice, her personality, her songwriting—everything about her exudes uniqueness. Luckily for me (and you), she’s returning to Boston in January 2022 for her “Loving U, Thanking U” tour and tickets are on sale now.