LIVE: Sam Rabin @ Fuel
Describing himself as a ‘shouty Leonard Cohen’ the genre of his inspiration – folk-punk – does not do Sam Rabin any slight justice. Drawing musical aesthetic and dialogue from the likes of Jamie T and The Streets with their authentic, gritty, British edge the coin is flipped as his lyrics come from a softer side – think Lana Del Rey and Bill Ryder-Jones. Sam’s raw punk energy but poetic complex verses, makes for an interesting juxtaposition. Playing upstairs at Greater Manchester’s quirky haunt in Withington – Fuel – he literally, brought the roof down.
Support acts came from A Finch & The Forest and Bebeluna; acts curated and chosen by Sam for their own uniqueness and newcomer stance. Bebeluna is a queer femme producer, rapper, singer and musician from London who combines lo-fi, hip-hop and ambient trap. Immersing the audience in sonic energy with feminist lyrics, she was the ideal warm-up, marking a political stamp on the evening from the very beginning.
A Finch & The Forest are an upcoming hip-hop grime influenced duo. Using chill, lo-fi ambient beats and drawing inspiration from London nightlife, they brought us back down to earth – but by no means in a dull manner, instead, they transfixed the room – ahead of Rabin’s entrance.
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Opening the set with an acapella rendition of a poem he’s written, there was little left to the imagination. Themes of time, nostalgia and FOMO (fear of missing out) were on the cards and all too relatable they were. Although still quite under-the-radar, Sam’s tracks were recognised by his favourable audience in the packed-out venue. A highlight of the set came from ‘Top Button Nostalgia’: lively and chaotic but with great vocal control, it was a sight to behold, showing Rabin’s range and aspirations.
We weren’t kidding when we mentioned the roof. Sam’s impressive set was brought to a close (fortunately with only one song left) due to the ceiling of the terraced Victorian venue falling through downstairs, and the upper floor being evacuated. Was it the building’s own sighs at the relatability of Sam’s themes or was it the 20th-century infrastructure?