Alternative pop artist Samia brings new music to intimate Southeast Portland venue, showcases varied vocal talent

Singer-songwriter Samia, born Samia Finnerty, brought her “Loving U Thanking U” tour to Portland on Feb. 8. The tour, which is stopping in over 20 cities across the U.S., comes off of the success of her 2020 album “The Baby” and her 2021 EP “Scout.” 

Alongside opener Charlie Hickey, Samia played Holocene in Southeast Portland. A delightfully small venue, her ethereal presence filled the room. Opening with “Pool,” the first song on her album “The Baby,” the audience was captivated by her beautiful voice. Followed by “Fit n Full” and “Big Wheel,” more upbeat songs, people were able to dance and have a ball. After these two songs, Samia remarked that “things were about to get sad.” Although that was true, it was not boring; the artist  combined her impressive vocal control and beautiful energy, gracing the concert’s attendees with a truly wonderful listening experience. Samia’s songs are often technically challenging, and yet she killed it all night. 

The show felt personal and intimate due to the subject matter of the music and the way Samia was able to connect with the audience. She was constantly responding to the audience members’ comments, and it felt like a friend performing for a group of close companions. Samia even debuted a new song, “Pour Some Sugar,” that she had written just a few weeks prior. 

“Thanks for letting us do that,” she said, before adding, “Well, I guess how would you have stopped me?” 

Samia also told the audience  that we should message her co-writer on Instagram if we liked the song.

One of the sweetest parts of the show was that  it seemed as though the tour was one big musical family. Hickey brought Samia out for a duet during his set, and Samia brought him out to sing her final song of the night. Her band also brought great energy to the stage. During a number of the songs, Samia and her drummer had choreographed movements that they did together. During one song, she laid down on the stage while the band, especially the drummer, made as much noise as possible. You could almost feel the catharsis in the air as she lay there with her eyes closed. 

My favorite songs of the night were “Triptych,” “Is There Something in the Movies?,”  “Big Wheel,” and “Show Up.” This was my first concert since Jan. 2020, and there was something so magical to be in a room full of people experiencing live music – even if we were all wearing masks. “Show Up” was a perfect song to hear at my first show back; the chorus goes “nothing could ever stop my ass from showing up to sing another song for the people I love.” This was a fitting end to my first show back.

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