SAMIA BRINGS HER “HONEY” TOUR TO THE HOUSE OF BLUES BOSTON WITH OPENER TOMMY LEFROY
Written By & Captured By | Sam Hwang
As I stood in line outside of the House of Blues Boston on Friday, February 10, I couldn’t help but be grateful that the Boston date of Samia’s Honey tour (the fourth of 33 North American stops) hadn’t fallen a week ago, when record lows resulted in a citywide cold emergency. Instead, the temperature sat pleasantly in the upper forties—brisk, but not so cold that I could see my breath. Indeed, it seemed as though the city was thawing, coming back to life—a street performer tapped out a percussive tune on buckets and pans, a street food vendor sold sausages to members of the queue, and excitement seemed to grow just as quickly as the line, which soon stretched far down Lansdowne Street.
The electric atmosphere carried over to the inside of the venue as well, especially as opener Tommy Lefroy—the indie rock duo consisting of Wynter Bethel and Tessa Mouzourakis—took the stage. Each wielding a guitar, they demonstrated an impressive chemistry, neither seeming to overpower the other. They also excelled at audience interaction, fielding questions between songs and sharing tidbits about each track (for example, that they met as songwriters in Nashville, or that “Jericho Beach” is a nod to Tessa’s Vancouverian roots, referencing a place she knew where people would meet to make out or break up). They also gave the crowd a chance to get angsty, asking audience members to shout out the name of the last person who broke their heart before transitioning into “Mortals.” “But you’re just a boy with a biblical name… And you’ll never live up to the myths that I made of you,” they sang, with special sympathy for the audience members who had cried “Matthew” and “Isaac” minutes earlier.
See more photos of Tommy Lefroy HERE
As their set came to a close and I had a moment to admire the venue, my thoughts returned to the religious imagery invoked by Tommy Lefroy as I noticed the “God Wall” above the stage—a grand display featuring a variety of religious and spiritual iconography from cultures around the world. At its center was a large hamsa encircled by text: “ALL IS ONE. WHO DO YOU LOVE?” The question ate away at me throughout the evening, though it seemed to take on new relevance throughout the night as Samia worked through her set.
The stage lights were blue when the 26 year old indie rock phenom took the stage—nearly the same hue as the light bathing her upper body on the album cover of her latest project, Honey, released January 27 of this year. Small candle decorations framed a drumhead, memorial-like, points of warmth in the captivating cerulean sea that flooded the stage. Her set opened with a snippet from the beginning of her song “Pool,” an audio clip of her grandmother singing softly in Arabic, the deeply personal nature of the clip like an incantation, welcoming audience members into Samia’s world. Having grabbed the crowd’s attention (as though she didn’t already have it the moment she stepped out), Samia proceeded to dive into the first track of Honey, “Kill Her Freak Out.” As the lonesome organ notes filled the three-story venue like it was a cathedral, so, too, did the voices of the crowd, which shifted from eagerly cathartic during the lines “I hope you marry the girl from your hometown / And I’ll fucking kill her” to utterly heartwrenching at “I’ve never felt so unworthy of loving.”
See more photos of Samia HERE
Indeed, Samia’s setlist was full of emotional twists and turns. During “Fit N Full” she put her lively dance moves on display, leaping joyfully around the stage to “show you what my mama gave me” like the song’s lyrics suggest. There were moments of intimacy and honesty—she prefaced “As You Are” by saying “this is the most sincere song I’ve ever written,” and restarted “Winnebago” after having “choked a little bit,” taking it all in stride and inviting the audience to embrace the unpredictability of live music. She even performed “Breathing Song,” delivering incredible vocal work that was all the more impressive because of the emotional nature of the song: “I didn’t think I would show this song to anyone,” she explained. “It’s still hard to sing.”
Samia brought her set to an end by bringing Tommy Lefroy back out, treating the audience to a special rendition of “Dream Song,” the stage lights now the color of honey. The atmosphere was warm and wholesome, as Wynter and Tessa rested their heads on each other’s shoulders and Samia addressed the members of her band by name and thanked the crowd for coming. And yet, her departure from the stage was short-lived as the audience’s calls for an encore brought her back moments later. “We have nothing prepared! Actually, we do,” Samia said, before introducing a cover of AC/DC’s iconic song “You Shook Me All Night Long,” which she joked had been written about her by a friend during a camping trip. After one more song, she bid the audience farewell (for good this time), officially bringing her performance to a close.
“ALL IS ONE. WHO DO YOU LOVE?”
As I left the House of Blues, the words printed near the ceiling of the venue echoed in my head. “I’ve never felt so unworthy of loving,” Samia had sung during “Kill Her Freak Out,” then “how are you supposed to wanna love me anymore?” during “Pink Balloon” later in the night. The heaviness of those lyrics, the sheer pain they conveyed, made me wonder how Samia might answer the question posed by the “God Wall.” But after hearing her perform the last song of her encore, “Show Up,” where she aptly sang “nothing could ever stop my ass from showing up / To sing another song for the people I love” as a disco ball illuminated the faces of the hundreds of people in the crowd who loved her back, I think I know.