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Sam Fender announces Finsbury Park show: “We’ll ride in on a Millennium Falcon!”

The Geordie hero will play a huge show in the capital on July 15 next year

By Nick Reilly

Sam Fender performs live
'Paradigms', 'The Dying Light' and 'The Leveller' were aired for the first time. (Photo: Alamy)

Sam Fender has capped off 2021 by announcing his biggest show yet – a massive headline date at Finsbury Park next summer.

The Tyneside troubadour will play to 40,000 fans at the historic North London park on July 15, backed by a stellar support bill that includes the likes of Fontaines D.C, Declan McKenna, Goat Girl and Beabadoobee. You can buy tickets here from 9am on Friday December 17.

It’s the perfect way to end the year for Fender, having secured his second number one album with ‘Seventeen Going Under’, as well as gracing the first ever cover of Rolling Stone UK back in October.

But, as he explains in our exclusive interview, he’s still taking stock of the journey so far…

A second number one album, an arena tour and now the announcement of a 2022 Finsbury Park show. It’s been quite the year for you…

“It’s fucking nuts, but you missed out the top ten single for ‘Seventeen Going Under’! Every single week there’s just been something ridiculous. The one that really scared me though was learning that were the first guitar band to get in the top ten since 2013, I think Arctic Monkeys were the last one. I just thought ‘uh oh, here we go!'”

You must be doing something right then…

“Aye, but it’s just mental. Finsbury Park holds 40,000 people and it’s gonna be the biggest show we’ve ever done. The whole thing is just nuts. I’m in a perpetual state of overwhelmed anxiety and excitement about it.

But I’ve developed this out of body experience feeling too, because there’s so much to do and everything happening at the moment is a state of constant highs. It’s been everything I’ve imagined and a hell of a lot of more.”

Are you able to take stock and look back on the journey so far?

“I just look back to the early days when I was playing a tapas bar in Tynemouth for two sets of 45 minutes, just watching people eat chorizo and they don’t want to hear a fucking word you’re singing. I’m sat there with a little acoustic guitar and my brother’s PA which he’s let us borrow for twenty quid.

“Going from those people thinking ‘will that fucker shut up?!’ to then playing in front of 40,000 people in a matter of six/seven years. It’s just insane.

“Even before then, there’s the gigs I played as a kid – turning up in pubs and playing to empty rooms. They were a rehearsal that you had to play petrol money for!”

Any big plans for a grand entrance at Finsbury Park? Your recent Ally Pally shows had stormtroopers and lightsabers….

“Maybe we’ll get a fucking Millennium Falcon to ride in on, and a Star Wars set? I’d love to do that one day, with a load of big Fender amps in the background.”

You could be like the band in the Mos Eisley cantina…

“That is genius mate. I might have to take that idea. The cantina, we could dress up as one of those aliens! Johnny [Davis, saxophonist] is the biggest Star Wars fan ever too.”

You’ve got some cracking supports too – Fontaines D.C. are playing before you

“I love Fontaines and I’m good mates with Carlos [O’Connell, guitarist] and actually seeing them in a couple of hours for a cuppa. But they instantly make my night cooler! Cos I know what I am, I’m an alternative artist but I’m a pop artist too, there’s a lot of choruses in there. But that’s what I like, all my favourite artists wrote great pop songs, Bruce Springsteen wrote great pop songs. Joni Mitchell too, all my heroes.

But Fontaines can bring the cool factor to the whole night, and there’s gonna be a load of other cool people – it’s gonna be more like Sam Fender and friends I think”

It’ll be almost a year since ‘Seventeen Going Under’ came out when that show rolls around. Have you been writing? Any new stuff at those shows?

“We haven’t even really toured this record properly because of Covid. We’ve played five songs, but we haven’t fully delved into the album live. I see next year as that record’s year and the one after that is probably for the next.

“But I’m getting into the studio over Christmas and I never stop. I’m gonna start recording January time, there’s loads of material from the Seventeen sessions too that’s worth revisiting. I think that story isn’t finished either.

“Even though I’m spending more time in London than at home, my hometown story story affects us and a lot of my friends still provide a lot of that material.”

So epic songs like ‘The Dying Light’ need to be played live, right?

“Yeah, that’ll be in there. It’s a natural conclusion to the show and definitely the confetti cannon moment. It’s one of my favourite songs off the record.”

I can see that. Catch you at Finsbury Park, Sam.

|Yeah, cheers!”