LIVE REVIEW: Sam Fender @ O2 City Hall, Newcastle (24.05.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Thomas Jackson, TyneSight Photography

The fact that Ivor Novello winner Sam Fender sold out Newcastle’s O2 City Hall is no surprise. He’s recently completed a sold out tour including two dates at the city’s Utilita Arena, and with his star firmly in the ascendency, it’s was surprising to see him back to gracing stages at venues of this size, but the cause was a great one. The ‘rocking-horse-shit-sprinkled-with-gold-dust’-esque tickets were raffled by O2 at a fiver a pop, raising £133k for North East Homeless, and doing almost immeasurable good for the work of the North Shields-based charity. Against this backdrop, the show didn’t really matter. Try telling that to Sam and the band though.

Featuring a broadly similar set to the recent tour, and most of the same stage setup, this was an arena show in all but venue. The hits were rolled out throughout the set, including a punked-up Seventeen Going Under, the always touching Spit Of You, and Dead Boys, Fender’s rallying cry against the growing issue of suicide in young men.

Sam’s usual call for a mosh-pit prior to tearing into the double header of Spice and Howdon Aldi Death Queue did not go unheeded, and as usual it required the safety staff to up their game considerably, which was no small challenge in the oppressive heat of rammed to the rafters O2 City Hall. It really is a venue which needs better ventilation, and as a matter of urgency.

Right, let’s finish on the one that got us into this fucking mess,” was the only introduction Hypersonic Missiles needed. The now-traditional show closer is a classic in the making, and a firm fan-favourite. It’s a song which gets more poignant with every listen, and is all the more powerful when screamed back at the stage by a packed room of believers. It’ll be a long time before we hear it screamed in the O2 City Hall again, and rightly so. Sam Fender is far, far too big now for this room. A stunning show.

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