Space and intimacy in the time of Sam Weber

Sam Weber performs for a small crowd Smith’s Olde Bar as a promotion for his latest album, “Get Free.” // Photo by Brendan Oshida Student Publications

Space is a beautiful thing — not the cosmic wonder that looms over us at any given time, but the kind that humans occupy and embrace. 

People have a unique ability to be in a room with strangers and form a community from nothing. This reminder was at the forefront of Smith’s Olde Bar when Sam Weber played on March 10, in support of his most recent album “Get Free”. 

To open for the night, Matthew Fowler gave a folk-forward set. During his performance, several of his friends watched and cheered from the audience. 

It came across as watching a family support one another, as they all gazed at Fowler plucking soft-spoken chords, imbued with the occasional harmonica or whistle serenade. 

Between songs, Fowler would tell stories about his life, what being on tour was like, along with a joke or two. His energy was charming and his music to be watched in the coming years. 

Shortly after, Sam Weber took the stage with his band and began with their set. The band played songs from their most recent album, “Get Free”, which was written and recorded during the height of the pandemic and is rooted in the feelings of quarantine while longing to break from the static dread that had enveloped everyone’s mind. 

The album is an intimate experience, with the tight-knit, focused production immersing the listener in the studio space. This feeling very much translated to the live set, with Weber’s folk and instrumental focused sound. 

Prior to the set, audience members got the chance to talk to Weber and hear about his passion for guitar. He spoke about the instrument with such reverence for it, and spectators could feel it in the music, pulsing throughout the room. 

There were about thirty people in the venue, reminding the audience about the importance of community. The small crowd gave concertgoers the chance to observe and gain small vignettes into each other’s lives, even if just for the two hours their paths coincided. 

During the performance, there were specific moments of tenderness between people: a look followed by a smile, a quick embrace or a reach for a hand. It fit with Weber’s work, contributing to the pondering of little things in the context of life’s fleeting nature. 

The beauty of Sam Weber is that one does not have to be in person to experience this wall of emotions. 

Weber’s music feels like wandering into a secret garden, a surprise at first, but then not wanting to leave. “Get Free” provides the perfect scene to sit and contemplate what breaking confines to make your space means in a chaotic whirlwind of a world.