Having made his name behind the decks, SG Lewis realised a bold breakthrough with his second full-length project, the potent 15-track ‘AudioLust & HigherLove’, with this 2023 release putting a marker down for the intended direction of the Reading-born performer, maintaining the same absorbing soundscapes while beefing up the vocal frontlines and taking more consistent ownership of his vision.
These indicators ring true across Sam’s new live show, a confident fusion of intricate production work bolstered by newfound stage presence. Even since his last London show, where he performed a soaring headline set at London’s Somerset House, an encouraging sense of confidence has clearly arisen in his ability to get a room moving – and in what is an event long in the making, that self-belief results in an ecstatic celebration of pop, electronic and dance records.
Lapping up every minute, a huge grin is on Sam’s face at the Hammersmith Apollo – while it is not the (now three-times cancelled) Brixton Academy headline he had originally described as a reward for “completing music”, this concert nonetheless represents all the progress made over eight years of work. Stating that he used to live five minutes from the venue and pass it by when running – admittedly “not very often” – this is a landmark moment on home turf.
For such an affair, the producer-turned-frontman relies on a stripped-back unit of two fellow musicians plus a few special guests, with natural instrumentation peeking through the vibrant sonics of joyous and booming tracks. ‘Infatuation’ and ‘Something About Your Love’ balance the lusty and fulfilled sides of his latest releases, ‘Feed The Fire’ and ‘Impact’ deliver the disco-fulled promise of a debut effort and older material such as ‘Hurting’ and ‘Warm’ contrast this with seriously chilled tones.
Such a captivating mix of pop bangers and finely tuned DJ moments becomes exactly as overindulgent as it deserves, each measure of excess excitedly devoured by a bustling crowd. ‘Lifetime’ is a perfect example; a yacht rock-inspired cut that is simple, slightly cheesy, but totally charming. It’s a song that, just a few years ago, Sam would struggle to picture himself formulating.
Guitar riffs are sprinkled elsewhere, including an excellent rendition of the Nile Rogers collab ‘One More’, before beats heatedly pulsate against an impeccable vocal on ‘Another Life’. The catalogue of top-tier tracks is growing rapidly, with fans screaming with delight at each step Lewis takes toward the front of the barrier – his decision to actively take those strides has proved fruitful. With the success of ‘Chemicals’ being the motivating factor behind that choice, it makes sense for that anthemic track to close off this experience.
Although the lighting fills the building with colour through a relatively straightforward set-up, there is something grand about this embrace of the limelight for SG Lewis. It’s a masterful showcase of his multifaceted capabilities that completely validates his ever-present ambition, with the evolving nature of his craft not taking a single misstep.