Review: Samia’s Webster Hall set makes having an existential crisis fun again

On Friday, 25-year-old Samia played an electric sold-out show at Webster Hall in the East Village, joined by an energetic band and equally vibrant opener Annie DiRusso. Her latest album, “The Baby,” is available on all streaming platforms.

Samia+played+a+sold-out+concert+at+Webster+Hall+on+Jan.+28.+The+American+singer-songwriter%E2%80%99s+music+focuses+on+the+mid-20s+experience.+%28Photo+by+Muriel+Margaret%2C+courtesy+of+Samia%29

Samia played a sold-out concert at Webster Hall on Jan. 28. The American singer-songwriter’s music focuses on the mid-20s experience. (Photo by Muriel Margaret, courtesy of Samia)

Lorena Campes, Staff Writer

At the intersection of Phoebe Bridgers and Japanese Breakfast is 25-year-old Samia Finnerty, with her ironically upbeat, incredibly existential lyrics about young adulthood and the mid-20s feeling of overwhelming powerlessness.

Samia’s show at Webster Hall on Jan. 28 opened with Annie DiRusso, best known for the TikTok-famous “Nine Months.” DiRusso and her band were incredibly enthusiastic. Their matching outfits reflected their onstage chemistry as they navigated from the sullen “Jonathan” — which explores unrequited love and loss of identity in relationships — to the energetic but cynical “Coming Soon.” While DiRusso draws more from pop rock influences than Samia, their brief duet proved that her powerful voice and active stage presence complemented Samia’s gentler vocals and eccentric persona.

A New York native, Samia played to a packed house that never failed to show enthusiasm. Though she promised a sad show after playing a few upbeat songs, the concert was anything but. Samia’s flowy white dress, cowboy boots and bright blue strands of hair reflected the youthful, coming-of-age themes her songs explore. Her lively dance moves juxtaposed her anxious-sounding nature, offering a show of sardonic optimism. Samia was nearly brought to tears multiple times through the night, just as overwhelmed by the audience’s support just as they were by her dynamic, passionate performance.

She opened her set with “Pool,” a hypnotic track that begins with a melodic voicemail left by her late grandmother, followed by breathy vocals that question how long the growing pains of young adulthood will last. The indie undertones of the catchy “Big Wheel” recall Maggie Rogers as the track addresses one of the most painful adult experiences: outgrowing friendships.

A personal favorite, “Is There Something in the Movies?” captured Samia’s musical philosophy with the line, “I only write songs about things that I’m scared of.” The live, full-band version of the song transcended the studio version, with the singer truly grasping the concept of dancing like nobody’s watching while screaming deeply personal lyrics to the audience.

Mid-show, Samia remarked that one of her band members wouldn’t have joined her on tour if they weren’t going to perform their cover of Alphaville’s “Forever Young.” Her bandmates, gathering around two microphones, sang a shortened version of the 1984 hit that encapsulates the enduring fear of growing up. This wasn’t the only cover of the night — the band also performed a phenomenal version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Maps,” which was a perfect conclusion to the set.

Everyone had a drink in hand, and the show’s atmosphere was welcoming. A father and daughter nearby enthusiastically discussed listening to the album in full on the way to the venue. The security guard that patted me down sincerely apologized for her cold hands, and a girl at the bar described her drink order to me in full detail because I thought it looked good (it was pink).

Her next New York performance is at the 2022 Governors Ball music festival on June 10.

Contact Lorena Campes at [email protected]