I’ve had the pleasure of attending several Sam Bradley shows over the past two years. He’s usually accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, but he’s never failed to entertain. I expected something similar when I arrived at 3rd and Lindsley on June 3, but that wasn’t what I got. After the supporting act, Holly Conlon (who deserves a listen, for sure), Sam took the stage with a full band and proceeded to rock the venue with a wide selection of songs.
Throughout the show, I felt I was getting a look into his favorite iPod playlist. He opened with Lights, where we got an immediate reference to The Clash. The Devil’s at Work, brought to mind a bit of Led Zeppelin. Mark Kerrey wrote Sugar Mama, which immediately reminded me of I’ve Just Seen a Face by The Beatles. With Whiskey, I heard some 60s doo-wop underneath his plaintive, powerful tenor. Thrown into the rest of the mix was a bit of the Allman Brothers, the Black Crowes, and even a jam band or two. Whether he actually has these artists on his iPod, I’ll never know. If he is influenced by these iconic bands, he’s turned his love for them into something new and exciting that’s all his own.
The suggestion might be that this collection of styles and sounds would present a jarring ride, but what we all got instead was a night full of fun and energy, and a set list that entertained music lovers of all types. With a voice that is at once smooth and gritty, he evokes emotions with every word he sings–even if that emotion is just to get up and dance (I did.) Sam Bradley is a truly magnetic performer who draws the audience in from the first song and leaves them hooked well after the last note dies.