Sam Fender + Heidi Curtis @ O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK – 25th August 2021

Review and Photography by Robert Barrett

They always say that the third time’s the charm, and that’s what all the patient ticket holders were hoping for on Wednesday. After being rescheduled twice from its original date in 2019 due to illness then the pandemic, Sam Fender’s long-awaited sold-out show at the O2 Academy was finally about to take place.

Heidi Curtis

Fellow Newcastle artist Heidi Curtis opened the show up with her incredible voice and some great sounding tunes. For an act without any songs released (as far as I can find) the band played like a well oiled machine, and the songs got heads bopping. It’s great to see new artists being pushed up to larger support slots, and I’m sure there will be much more from Heidi and the band in the future.  

Heidi Curtis

“I didn’t think this was going to happen” Sam said before “Will We Talk”, I’m sure he wasn’t the only one in the room feeling that. The lights then dropped low for a mournful performance of “Dead Boys”. It took a while for the momentum to build up after such a powerful track, but “Spice” and latest single “Howden Aldi Death Queue” got a mosh pit forming.

A short set of only 12 tracks in total closed with a cover of Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” and the rip roaring “Hypersonic Missiles”. I guess that’s the curse of being shot to stardom so quickly is that you lack the back catalog of bands usually plying the Academy. Still the case remains that is was a strong show from an artist early in his career, hopefully Birmingham doesn’t have to wait another two years for his return.

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