Guitar wizard Samantha Fish rocks The Independent


Returning to the Bay Area for the first time in four years, blues rocker Samantha Fish delivered an impassioned two hour set at The Independent in San Francisco Sunday night for a tightly packed shoulder to shoulder crowd.

Samantha Fish performs in concert Sunday night at The Independent in San Francisco.

Criminally under-publicized, the 34 year old Kansas City native is a force of nature and an absolute treat for the uninitiated. Arriving with a vast arsenal of guitars to showcase her talents, Fish comes across as a delightful mixture of Joplin, Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton all rolled into one.

Having cited influences such as Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Fish has released eight studio albums, including her latest Death Wish Blues, a collaboration with Texas country rocker Jesse Dayton. While no tracks from the new album were played Sunday, Dayton’s recent impact on recording with Fish certainly further showcased her versatility while adding to her diverse blend of blues, rock, country and rockabilly.


Taking the stage with a cigar box guitar, Fish began her 17 song set with “Bulletproof” a raunchy boogie from 2019’s Kill or Be Kind that quickly set the energy level to high, where it would remain for the balance of the show. Playing her ninth show in ten nights, it’s both a treat to see her in such an intimate setting as the Independent and a wonderment that she’s not playing larger venues. That will change, at least briefly, when she joins the likes of Buddy Guy and Carlos Santana among others at Clapton’s Guitar Festival this Saturday and Sunday at the 20,000 seat Arena in Los Angeles.

Supported by a three piece band featuring the powerful drumming of Jamie Douglass, Ron Johnson on bass and Mickey Finn’s exceptional keys, Fish has been quoted as saying “Anytime I play live, I just want to make people forget about everything else in the world and feel that same joy that I feel on stage.” To say that the captivating energy she exudes on stage discourages one’s mind from wondering to their everyday worries would be an understatement.


Performing songs from throughout her catalog, Fish’s nonstop energy providing an onslaught of enticing vocals and extended guitar solos for two full hours was truly invigorating. A cacophony of musical pleasure surrounding much of her material climaxed with an encore of “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” followed by a duet with show opener Eric Johanson as the evening’s finale.

Fish’s Love Letters tour continues September 20th with a performance at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento. Tickets are available here. You best be advised to see her while you can, because once her star power inevitably continues to grow it’ll be much harder to come by tickets for her electrifying performances.

About Daniel Gluskoter

Daniel Gluskoter is the Martinez Tribune's national music and sports editor and a Bay Area photojournalist who's work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2008 Presidential campaign as a correspondent for United Press International and has travelled worldwide covering events ranging from numerous Super Bowls and Olympics to Live Aid and the Grammys.

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