Sammy Rae & The Friends deliver an inclusive genre-defying show

The ‘If It All Goes South’ tour put on unique and interactive musical performances which had fans on their feet


Jessica Parga

The audience sings along with Sammy Rae & The Friends at their performance at the House of Blues on Nov.15.

by Ryan Kehl , Staff Writer

Sammy Rae & The Friends performed live as a family of musical visionaries and artists who wowed the House of Blues crowd with warmth, technical brilliance and explosive vocal moments on Nov. 15.

Fleece, a band from Montreal whose style is mostly a mix of psychedelic rock, grunge and jazz were the openers of the show. Jameson Daniel, guitarist, and Megan Ennenberg, vocalist and guitarist, said that this was their third trip to San Diego on tour. They also said that touring with Sammy Rae & The Friends was going well and that they were having a lot of fun.

Sammy Rae & The Friends perform at the House of Blues on Nov.15. (Jessica Parga)

“Upside Down,” “Do U Mind? (Leave the Light On),” and their trippy take on Britney Spears’s “Baby One More Time” were some of the songs from their set, according to Daniel. 

Lead singer Sammy Rae and her band members showcased  LGBTQ inclusivity to the San Diego crowd as fans united in community representation. 

Kaila Nobriga-Allen, a freshman and television, media and film major at San Diego State University, discussed how Sammy Rae & The Friends offered an enlightening and inclusive live experience.

“The band’s ability to sing and interact with the audience truly embodies the feeling of friendship,” Nobriga-Allen said.

At the start of the show, Sammy Rae asked over a thousand fans if they were ready to have a good time before introducing the band. She then noted that they were from Brooklyn and transitioned into “Follow Me Like the Moon,” as a play on to get the crowd in the mood.

The next song on the setlist was “Talk It Up” from their 2018 EP “The Good Life,” which was also the debut of Sammy Rae and The Friends as a band. 

During the song, Sammy Rae used a hand-held toy bubble machine that added bubbles to the theatrical element, making the stage come alive, which made the crowd go wild.  

Sammy Rae & The Friends perform at the House of Blues on Nov.15. (Jessica Parga)

For the song “Denim Jacket,” Sammy Rae asked a fan in the audience if she could wear their denim jacket before they played, and the fan gladly gave it to her. With these fourth-wall-breaking interactions, Sammy Rae prioritized the fanbase throughout the set. 

Toward the middle of the set, the latest single, “If It All Goes South,” smoothly transitioned into “For the Time Being,” which seamlessly transitioned into “Good Life.”

Every band covers songs, but Sammy Rae & the Friends’ cover of Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” (1970) was the most unforeseen of the set. However, Sammy Rae & The Friends put their jazz-punk alternative stamp on it, making Chicago’s song their own. 

“Jackie Onassis,” from their “Let’s Throw a Party” EP, finished the set with a big pop, leaving them chanting for an encore. 

For the encore, Sammy Rae seated on a stool with a ukulele, performed a unique rendition of the Eagles’ classic “Hotel California,” “Flesh & Bone” and “Kick It to Me” from “The Good Life” EP, which concluded the show. 

Since their EP “The Good Life” in 2018, Sammy Rae & The Friends have released “Let’s Throw a Party” EP, a steady stream of singles, and gained more than 619,120 monthly listeners on Spotify.

The diversity of Sammy Rae & The Friends and the unique genre of  Fleece made each song a celebration of many different styles throughout the show.

Kendra-Rose Jucal, a mechanical engineering senior from SDSU, discussed the show’s embracing of diversity and some of her favorite parts of the concert. 

“My favorite song was ‘Jackie Onassis,’ but I also loved ‘Flesh & Bone’ because Sammy Rae took the time to speak about some things that mattered,” Jucal said. “Sammy is like a poet, and a preacher and I love listening to her.”

For more of Sammy Rae & The Friends’ and Fleece’s upcoming new releases and future gigs, check @sammyraemusic and @fleecemusic on Instagram and Spotify.