On a cloudy Tuesday in October, Songbyrd Music House in DC’s Union Market neighborhood hosted Samia Finnerty, a 24-year old rock artist from New York City. The 200-capacity venue was a perfect stage for Samia and her opening act, American folk country/pop singer- songwriter Savannah Conley. The size of the venue and the affable charm of each artist gave the show a warm and intimate atmosphere, as though Samia and Savannah were singing directly to each audience member.
This tour honored Samia’s debut album, The Baby, which came out in August of 2020. The record, written and produced almost exclusively with friends, has a heavily produced, high quality sound that includes heavy autotune and synth; for a quarantine album and Samia’s first full-length project, The Baby is sardonically charming with a complexity in lyrics, tone, and sound. At Songbyrd, the album (in full except for “Does Not Heal”) was stripped down to the basics, with Noah Rauchwerk on drums, Ned French on bass, Boon Wallace on electric guitar, and Sam Rosenstone on keys.
The band emerged first, dressed in funky pajama sets, and played the disorienting, building murmur that opens the album, overcut by a voice recording of Samia’s grandmother singing Samia’s name. This piece was the perfect opening for the set, allowing Samia to liven the crowd with the transition from “Pool” to “Fit N Full,” one of the more upbeat songs on the album. The band’s friendly dynamic was heartwarming, and Samia brought each member into her spotlight, twirling across the stage.
In her long, pink, lacy dress and white sneakers, Samia commanded the room. Her quirky dance moves and accentuating hand gestures paired well with her amorphous songs that often have one-liner choruses. She showed off her enthusiastic—though admittedly untrained—dance moves throughout the show, but especially during the old crowd-pleaser “Ode to Artifice” and encore song “21,” which had the whole room jumping and screaming along. While her moves are goofy and at times outdated, her energy was dazzling and the music itself was outstanding, proving that without studio-quality production, her talent still holds its own.
Photo courtesy of Grand Jury
Dym is a Sophomore in the SFS studying Culture and Politics.