Sam Weber’s intimate Sultan Room set showcases the unifying power of live music

Sam Weber played a lively, invigorating show at The Sultan Room promoting his new album “Get Free.” The bands Dirty Bird and The Ladles, who gave equally stellar performances, opened for him.

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On March 20, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Sam Weber played a show at The Sultan Room promoting his new album “Get Free.” (Image courtesy of Jacob Boll)

Lorena Campes, Staff Writer

The Sultan Room is a self-described “sanctuary” for revelers and artists alike. Promoting his new album “Get Free,” 28-year-old singer-songwriter Sam Weber offered a sincere self-portrait at his intimate Sunday night set at the venue, where the small-scale performance was eclipsed by his overwhelming enthusiasm and honest lyricism. 

Opening for Weber was folk band The Lades and the New York City natives Dirty Bird. Dirty Bird’s poetic songwriting and hypnotic, three-part harmony was a perfect start to the show; their tracks “Twilight” and “Towers” were both audience favorites. The nostalgic, woodland feel of the group carried over into the performance by The Ladles, a stunning, female-led trio who use a refreshing range of instrumentation. Fiddler and singer Lucia Pontoniere was a particularly pleasant surprise — it’s rare to experience the violin in such a confined setting. The group’s a capella performance of “Juvenile” was a highlight of the night, with their haunting, overlapping voices nothing short of ethereal.

Part of the venue’s charm is its intimacy, allowing artists to watch each other’s sets. Both groups interacted with the audience to create the kind of captivating, inspiring experience one can only find at a smaller venue.

Closing out the show was Canadian singer-songwriter Weber, who humbly introduced his set as “45 minutes of soft rock.” Backed by a two-person band, Weber’s musical range is broad and consists of an eclectic blend of influences, from folk and jazz to Americana. In an interview with Kill Beat Music, Weber describes music as “an emotional conduit between people [that] allows us the opportunity to share moments of truth and unity. In an age where the ritual of music-making can be a solitary exercise, I want to live my life to remind everyone that playing music as a communal and spontaneous practice can be healing and powerful.”

While The Sultan Room lends itself to the realization of this goal, it would be unfair to give all the credit to the venue alone. Weber’s contagious energy and his bandmates’ clear investment in the performance made the show all the more enjoyable, allowing it to feel much more like the collective experience Weber describes than the detached, voyeuristic relationship often present between artists and fans.

His new album, “Get Free,” is part confessional, part relatable life milestones and obstacles, with an overarching ode to the music-making process itself. The country-esque “Money” laments the restrictions imposed by entering the workforce as an adult and losing all the freedom of childhood. Weber sings “used to make time now we just make money,” a line that particularly resonates with a growing range of artists and musicians who —  while objectively free of many of the responsibilities shared by their peers — are often weighed down by unstable incomes and forced to capitalize on their creative passions. The album’s warmth and sincerity evokes artists like Maggie Rogers, Big Thief and Waxahatchee, characterized by tracks like “Truth or Lie” and “Already Know.”

Weber’s tour continues throughout the northeast, and though it’s unclear when he’ll be back in the city, it’s certainly worth looking out for. You can listen to his album “Get Free” on all streaming platforms.

Contact Lorena Campes at [email protected]