Samia @ Governors Ball (festival review by Laura T.)

Indie-rock artist Samia quickly won over wcbn’s hearts for favorite set of the first day of Governors Ball in New York. We stood in a crowd, getting handed packets of emergency water (expires in 5 years), as Samia opened with a slow, melancholic song. Dancing on stage barefoot, she reminded me of the young girls who “dance like a ballerina”: twirling her skirt, extending her arms to the sky with elongated fingers. Then, she transitioned into “Take It Off,” a quite danceable rock song, describing her set, “it’s going to be sad for a very long time, then moments of joy, then sad again.” This quote well encapsulates Samia’s energy, bouncing in between calm moments of sadness and uncontainable joy.

Her stage presence was captivating, interacting with her band and the crowd, thanking people for singing along. She had an air of gratefulness and glee, as she encouraged her bassist to put on a hat that the crowd threw to him. Her lyrics, which she describes as Bob-Dylan-esque, were incredibly personal. She told the crowd of “Waverly,” that the song was written about a waiter at Mud in the East Village that she wanted to become friends with. She performed a new song from her upcoming album “Mad at Me,” as she swayed and performed a charming-ly awkward dance break straight out of an Intro to Modern Dance class. Bringing even more unbridled joy to the stage, her bandmates had amazingly intimate interactions on stage the whole set. From creating a freeze frame of their last movement to finish out a song (and letting the joke run almost too long), to randomly pointing and laughing at each other, her ensemble wonderfully matched her energy.

To my surprise and luck, Samia closed out the set with a cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Maps.” Her vocals fit the song incredibly well, and her vulnerable and candid energy kept up with the sheer rawness Karen O usually brings to the song. It certainly brought me out of the pits of dehydration and sunburn that often occur at festivals. 


Check out Samia’s most recent release here.

Review and Photo by Laura T.


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