Sam Walker – The Brunswick, Hove – 1st November 2018

Photo by Jonski Mason

This is a concert I had been looking forward to for a while now. To start with, it features two local artists I’ve know for over ten years, Sam Walker and Shona Foster, who I’ve seen countless times in a variety of venues and a number of different line-ups. Also, it’s in one of my favourite venues, The Brunswick, where I’ve seen them both play before numerous times and always left having enjoyed the gig.

Shona kicked off the evening and I had missed the last couple of times she had played, since returning from a short break of playing live. For the current line-up she performs a mixture of solo songs and is joined by guitarist Helen Durden and drummer Robin O’Keeffe. The solo songs allow the full impact of Shona’s voice to cut through, just accompanied by her simple guitar parts. When the band join in the distorted whammy bar-filled guitar parts and percussive accompaniment take it to another level. A beautiful and breath-taking performance.

Sam is quite an amazing one man band. Starting off playing guitar and keyboards, sometimes at the same time, to great effect. With songs like ‘This is the Blue’ Sam shows a more tender and quiet side of his performance that takes you away into a dream state. After a few songs Sam is joined on stage by guitarist Steve Baker with a brilliant piece of theatre. Halfway through a song he quietly sneaks onto the stage, looking like he is getting ready to join in on the next song. Instead, he joins in with Sam on the final part of the song in a brilliantly designed bit of choreography. He adds another dynamic to the rest of the set as the pace and intensity of the songs increase.

The real treat of the evening came with the encore where Sam invited Shona and her band onto the stage to preform a duet. I’ve always loved bands that collaborate and do something a bit different and this was the perfect example of it working really well. Sam and Shona have worked together before, Sam used to play drums and do backing vocals in one of her previous line-ups. They both have amazing voices with great range and dynamics and it all shone through with this wonderful closing song.

Once again I left the venue after seeing them with a huge smile on my face and their songs kicking round my head. I could not have asked for anything more.

Jonski Mason