Live Review: Samuel Jack – The Slaughtered Lamb, London

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As soon as you stepped into the basement bar of this East End establishment, The Slaughtered Lamb, you could feel the heat. There was hardly any room to move and some people even took to sitting down in between tables to be able to see Samuel Jack and his band kick off his Let It All Out tour.

With the room buzzing, keyboardist Joe introduced Making It Rain and Samuel stepped out from the crowd, leaving them transfixed and ready for the show.  The vocals of the band harmonized with Samuel brilliantly on this quite mellow track. Samuel then stepped over to the keyboards for the more soulful track Remember Me, which had quite a gospel vibe, not only in lyrics and voice but with added hand-claps. Stripping further and further back, All The Things and When The Fire Flies left Samuel and his guitarist/cellist Emma alone on the stage. The room felt very intense and everyone was frozen in place while their hearts were filled with the warmth of this performance.

If the rest of the night had been filled with this vibe it would still have worked, but Samuel and his band are so much more than this. There was a sense of energy brewing in this performance, a different kind of energy that demands the crowd to move their bodies, as the band ran through the remainder of the set, including a surprising but brilliant cover of Coolio’s Gangster’s Paradise. There was no rapping, just the deep soulful tones of Samuel.

A most touching moment of the night was when Samuel told us that one of the best things about being a songwriter and performer, is when he gets messages from people telling him how his music has helped them through troubled times. In fact that is probably the highest accolade one could receive in his position. And this was a moment that probably set off a few tears in the audience, as he dedicated Surrender to a special person by the name of Petra.

With all the energy, during both the heartwarming moments and the party atmosphere, Samuel and his band went out on a high on the first night of this tour, with that gospel vibe again on Let It All Out. A great sing-along from the audience before each band member stepped away from their instruments to join in with the clapping of hands. It was a vibe and atmosphere that really could have carried on into the early hours of the next morning, with Samuel Jack bringing sweet soul music back to where it should be.

Victoria Ling