I’ve been following Samm Henshaw’s music for quite a while now. Ever since he popped up on a Spotify playlist, in fact. I instantly fell in love with his voice. I just knew he was one of the acts I had to catch live in London, which is why I was over the moon when he announced a headline gig at Village Underground – one of my favourite venues in London.
I didn’t even know this lovely little venue existed until I saw Alicia Keys play there earlier this year. No matter where you stand, you get a great view of the stage and brilliant acoustics.
We arrived in time to catch the first support act, Intalekt. Upbeat, fresh and funky. People usually head to the bar during the support act, but everyone stayed put for Intalekt – which proved he was the perfect act to start the show. He’s already collaborated with some of my fave upcoming artists, including Jay Prince and Jacob Banks, and his infectious energy on stage got everyone catching good vibes!
Up next was cheeky Mancunian, Tom Walker, who mellowed things down a bit, but grabbed the attention of everyone in the room. His typically British banter between songs just added to his charm. Tom’s sound is unique. His vocals are easy on the ears but his beats add just the right amount of edge to his sound. I’m also a sucker for a Northern accent so I was in high spirits during his set! My favourite song was definitely Sun Goes Down – an anthem in its own right.
After a short wait, the main man came out on stage to be greeted by a very enthusiastic audience. Samm and his band, The Sound Experiment, kicked off the show with Autonomy – a powerful opening with one of Samm’s most critically acclaimed songs.
Samm effortlessly glided into Chances, before turning things up with crowd favourite, Our Love, where he even pulled a few slick dance moves out of the bag to please his audience. It worked!
Samm was obviously beaming with pride about selling out his first ever headline show, but moreso about the fact that his family were watching from the side. This was definitely noticeable when he talked to the crowd. He came across a little nervous when interacting with the audience, but I personally found this endearing. His nerves didn’t show at all whilst singing. This was confirmed by the resounding applause and cheers he received as he finished singing Redemption – one of my favourite tracks by Samm.
Samm then took the opportunity to wow us with two certified crowd pleasers. These Hands, and the song it seems every couple was waiting for, Only Wanna Be With You. I think everyone was enchanted by his voice at this point in the show. Dreamy.
This man definitely knows how to work the crowd and switch things up a little. He even treated us to a singalong of My Girl and Wonderwall. The audience lapped up the opportunity to sing at the top of their voices, to the point where Samm’s vocals were almost a faint whisper. Ahem, sorry about that – but who doesn’t love belting those songs out?!
Up next was Everything – Samm’s anthem. A wonderfully- written concoction of funk, soul and rnb, with a pinch of British swag. It couldn’t really get much better at this point, except it did! We were treated to one of Samm’s new songs, Holding On, as well as the penultimate track, Night Calls – both of which showcased his incredible vocal range and unique rawness, which kept all eyes on the room fixated on him.
Samm finished the show with a firm favourite, Better. Sexy, soulful, superb.
I think everyone left the show knowing they had been part of something amazing. I certainly did. In fact, the last time I had this feeling was when I saw an ‘up and coming’ artist called Ed Sheeran play in a venue of this size back in 2012.
Samm said he’d love to play the Village Underground again, but I don’t think he will. I expect his next tour will be much bigger, to accommodate the growing demand for his timeless voice. I walked out knowing I will see Samm performing again – probably in an arena, amongst the thousands of fans longing to get a mere taste of his musical magic.
If you would like to hear the tracks that Samm performed during his show, check out his Spotify playlist.