Review: SAMANTHA FISH FEAT. JESSE DAYTON at The Hall

The Death Wish Blues Tour takes center stage at The Hall

By: Mar. 01, 2024
Review: SAMANTHA FISH FEAT. JESSE DAYTON at The Hall
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Broadway World loves going to new to-us venues and going with friends is even better. My favorite MC Blake Woodson had a birthday coming up and wanted to go see SAMANTHA FISH featuring JESSE DAYTON on their DEATH WISH BLUES TOUR at The Hall, 721 West 9th Street, in Little Rock, on Wednesday, Feb. 21, and I thought this would be a great introduction to this fairly new concert venue. With a standing room capacity of 1,300, this massive venue with two bars and a VIP section can host not only concerts, but any social event you have going on. But, before I get deeper into what this venue offers, my buddy Blake basically wrote a love letter to Samanta. What did you think about the Samantha Fish concert, Blake? 

This portion of the article is written by Blake Woodson 

Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be on February 14th, especially for those who are single and without a Valentine.  This year, I chose to celebrate the Hallmark Holiday a week late with my one true love, music, and who better to fawn over than the beautiful SAMANTHA FISH. Lucky me and believe me when I say that this is an experience I will never forget.  

Review: SAMANTHA FISH FEAT. JESSE DAYTON at The Hall
Photo Credit: Blake Woodson

So, let me jump right to it.  I cannot go any further without stating how blown away I was by one song that would have made the entire night worth it, if that was the only song I got to experience.  Samantha Fish’s version of The Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ song, “I Put A Spell On You,” a song whose Hawkins own recordings were selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, put more than a spell on me and everyone at the Hall.  Her mind blowing, arm hair raising, heart pounding, body quivering...well you get the idea...was nothing short of a religious experience.  Others have covered this song including greats like Annie Lennox, Jeff Back and Joss Stone, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tab Benoit and Kenny Neal, Joe Cocker, Marilyn Manson, and even Bette Midler, but none of those can hold a candle to the experience of seeing Samantha Fish perform this classic live.  The Annie Lennox version was included in the 2015 film Fifty Shades of Grey, and though that alone evokes visions of insatiable desires, Samantha Fish’s performance made Fifty Shades seem like a Disney movie.  It was absolutely erotic.   

 Before I continue, I want to say that her opening band SGT. SPLENDOR really impressed us so much that we will talk about them in a continuation article.  

Review: SAMANTHA FISH FEAT. JESSE DAYTON at The Hall
Photo Credit: Blake Woodson

Now, back to the rest of the show. Kansas City, Missouri native Samantha Fish is a master showman and handles the guitar expertly. With her Barbie/Marilyn Monroe/Sandy at the end of Grease looks and her captivating command of the stage, she seductively handles her multiple guitars while slaying various genres throughout the concert. Constantly, her tech guy exchanged guitars with her, even once in the middle of a song. Also, she had an extortion mic for the banger “Deathwish” that really showcased her versatility.  

Fish’s partner Jesse Dayton possesses old-school outlaw skills. He is a little bit punk-rockabilly mixed with southern/country blues. I recognized him from his past with Rob Zombie as both a song writer and an actor with the horror film maker / metal superstar. There was magic as he riffed his way song after song matching musical wit with his female lead, but one that really stood out was during their acoustic set while he was capturing a mood with his Spanish guitar licks during the Townes Van Zandt cover of “I’ll Be Here in the Morning.” It was Houdini-ish. “Down In the Mud” was another favorite with the funky beat they had going on.   

Review: SAMANTHA FISH FEAT. JESSE DAYTON at The Hall

Together, this duo produced a musical eargasm that seeped into my being.   I was not prepared for the deadly combination that would cause my eyes to roll back in my head repeatedly as the two seamlessly mixed guitar styles and vocals throughout the night.  There is a reason that the pair’s collaborating album received a Grammy nomination in the ‘Best Contemporary Blues Album’ category this year, but the mere acknowledgement does not do their live performance justice.  It was beyond amazing.  

Before the show, we found out that Samantha was not feeling her best, but from her performance, no one could tell, and if this is her skill level when she is ill, then seeing her at optimum health would be overwhelmingly impressive and life altering.   If you have a chance to catch the “Death Wish Blues” tour, don’t let any excuses get in the way.  Take the opportunity and embrace the fact that you are about to witness pure magic like none you have ever seen.   

Now, back to Theresa Bertram. 

Blake is absolutely correct. Samantha and Jesse were amazing. Their collaboration and chemistry on the stage made it look like they had been performing together for ages. It was especially cool to see Samantha take control of the show while she was figuring out what to play next. When a band continuously plays an underlying measure of music while the lead gets to know her adoring fans, you know she has learned that connection and fluidity is key to making a gig go from a great concert to an amazing production. The notes and sound need to be there, but working the crowd makes it more memorable. Samantha owned that audience. 

Speaking of their sound, Samantha makes me think of Miranda Lambert meets Amy Winehouse and a touch of Elle King. Jesse also has that rough boy, yet polished sound to him. He knows what he is doing, and the pair together rocks it out. I especially loved “Settle for Less” and “Rippin’ and Runnin’”. Both songs have a pounding beat and heavy rock guitar riffs with a bad girl country vibe. Though Blake was foaming at the mouth over “I Put a Spell on You,” I am going to have to say that, YES—she did a great performance of that fun number—but, as a Broadway Reviewer, I’m going to have to stop him when he says it was better than Bette Midler. Granted, they are two completely different interpretations yet they are equally delightful. 

Review: SAMANTHA FISH FEAT. JESSE DAYTON at The Hall
Photo Credit: Blake Woodson

So, if you missed this fabulous concert, check out their website at https://www.samanthafish.com/tour for more information.  

As for the venue, they have a versatile, open floor design, which is accented with chic metal chandeliers. The space is complete with a spacious mezzanine & private bar for an intimate addition to any event. Check out their pictures on their Facebook page to see how beautiful this venue can be. However, if you aren’t holding a wedding or banquet anytime soon, this is an awesome place to rock out to your favorite performers. There is a steady stream of artists taking the stage, so check out their website at https://littlerockhall.com to see who’s next at The Hall.  



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