SAMM Henshaw performed at the cosy venue, The Deaf Institute in Manchester on Saturday (May 28). The South-London born songwriter of Nigerian descent has toured with the likes of James Bay and Tori Kelly and has gained support from BBC Radio 1 DJ’s including Huw Stephens and Dev. Quays News entertainment reporter Katura Barrows-Robotham was in the crowd…

Tom Walker, the first support act, resembled a young James Corden with a voice similar to Maverick Sabre. The Scottish born singer captured the audience with his husky voice and soulful tones. He jokingly described himself as the ‘Lee Evans’ of music – sweaty, which is to be understood when someone sings with so much passion.

His musical influences from a young age have ranged from Ray Charles to Bob Marley and he now has a following from BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac, and SBTV. Tom’s single, ‘Sun Goes Down’ showed his vocal range and the pure grit he performs with, it filled the room and everyone in the audience was gripped by the intensity of his voice that carried around the intimate venue.

Tom Prior, was the second singer to support Samm Henshaw, the 23-year-old dad, sung whilst playing keyboard throughout his set. We witnessed his raw, emotional performances, one song of which, ‘Don’t Worry’, was written and dedicated to his daughter, will be featured on his next EP ‘The Sunday Scene’.

There was a slight element in some of his songs of spoken word which the audience seemed to find refreshing. His influences include, The Kinks, Kanye West and The Arctic Monkeys, the latter was the most evident as he had an Alex Turner-esque to him. In between songs he’d chat about little anecdotes and swear once or twice, it seemed to tickle the audience and he presented himself in a charismatic manner. Towards the end of his set, free copies of his EP ‘Paint the Ceiling Blue’ were given out to the crowd which was a lovely gesture.

Samm Henshaw’s band walked on stage just after 9pm, shortly after, the main man himself Samm Henshaw graced the stage to whistles, claps and screaming fans in the audience. It was off to an energetic start – ‘Autonomy (Salve)’ was performed first.

His voice resembles that of John Legend’s, soulful and strong with compelling lyrics. His band were very enthusiastic throughout the gig, dancing, smiling and genuinely looking like they were having a party on stage. Samm’s band, named ‘The Sound Experiment’ is made up of Jordan Bikila on bass, Jesse Dickson on drums, Gaetan Judd and Jon Hockings on guitar and Stefan Adamson on keyboard.

The crowd were thoroughly entertained throughout the night as Samm performed his songs as well as snippets of covers including ‘My Girl’ by The Temptations and ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis which delighted the crowd. A special happy birthday was also sung and the audience to a girl in the crowd named Kayla which added a nice touch to the night.

Samm Henshaw at The Deaf Institute, ManchesterHis performance of ‘Everything’ was bassy and funky. Samm really got the audience involved, he instructed us to side step and clap to the beat after demonstrating on stage, there was not one person that refused to join in, the room was full of people dancing and laughing and just having a good time.

He also split the crowed into boys and girls and got us to sing different parts of ‘Better’ in harmony which was pretty impressive. Audience involvement was something Henshaw had down to a tee, it was a unique experience which is sure to stay with the audience for a while.

To end the night, his band played an electric and lively instrumental while Samm thanked his talented musicians and hyped up the crowed by jumping enthusiastically on stage, it was a fun and extremely energetic outro.

Samm Henshaw will be performing at UK festivals this year including: Y Not Festival, LIMF and Barn on the Farm.

By Katura Barrows-Robotham

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