Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton at the O2 Ritz, Manchester on 22/10/23, Gig Review

Opening tonight’s show are Canadian’s The Commoners (although I did refer to them as the Commodores several times – it’s been a long week), and I believe it is their second visit to this country this year.  It is a fine performance too as they squeeze in 8 of their classic blues rock tunes with Devil Teasin’ Me dedicated to Planet Rock who have been big supporters of the band. 

We are treated to two new songs, Restless and The Way I Am, which means there is probably a new album on the way.  Find A Better Way closes out their set and for me is the highlight of their show.  They are so well received and loved by the audience and I hope we get to see them again soon with a longer set.


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  1. More Than Mistakes
  2. Shake You Off
  3. Who Are You?
  4. Devil Teasing’ Me
  5. Restless
  6. The Way I Am
  7. Fill My Cup
  8. Find A Better Way

Whilst I have seen Samantha Fish before I wasn’t sure what to expect this evening.  The album she has created with Jesse Dayton, of whom I previously knew nothing, is extraordinary and has been on regular rotation on my system at home.

With two guitar playing styles that are quite different, Ms Fish with her classic yet tasteful blues chops and Mr Layton with his more fluid blues rock playing, are seemingly complementary.  Whilst these two are the main focus, the band are also allowed to shine and perform more than admirably.

The set they play is intriguing too; starting off with MC5’s Kick Out The Jams (MF) they feature all 12 songs from Death Wish Blues which pleases me immensely as it is so good, from the highly accessible single Deathwish through to Lover On The Side with it’s rockabilly groove has me dancing.  More infectious are the funkier songs Down In The Mud, the high speed funk fest Supadupabad and set closer Riders have me wishing I’d come dressed in my flared pants and open skier collared shirt showing off my gold medallion!

With the exception of a solo song each from Dayton and Fish, the rest of the set was covers.  Granted, all three cover songs from the Stardust sessions were featured but they just didn’t gel with me as much.  And with such a wealth of material from the two of them we could have had a few songs from their own catalogues.  So Mr Dayton, why no Gunslinger Blues? Such a bouncy song with a killer groove and would have fitted in so well.  Grumpf! 

An encore of You Know My Heart and Goin’ Down South is well deserved and goes down well with the crowd, and despite my reservations about the covers I still hit the merch stand after the show so it must have been good!


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  1. Kick Out The Jams (cover)
  2. Deathwish
  3. Feels So Good (cover)
  4. Hello Stranger (cover)
  5. Brand New Cadillac (cover)
  6. Settle For Less
  7. Bulletproof (Samantha Fish song)
  8. Down In The Mud
  9. No Apology
  10. Trauma
  11. I’ll Be Here In The Morning (cover)
  12. Baby’s Long Gone (Jesse Layton song)
  13. Lover On The Side
  14. Dangerous People
  15. Supadupabad
  16. Flooded Love
  17. Rippin’ And Run-in’
  18. I Put A Spell On You (cover)
  19. 7 And 7 Is (cover)
  20. Riders
  21. You Know My Heart
  22. Goin’ Down South (cover)

About Ant Firmin