Sam Austins captivates the Vinyl as opener

Sam Austins opened for Dora Jar at the Vinyl. Featuring R&B tones and powerful vocals, his set detailed emotion from his upbringing and the struggles of growing into himself. // Photo by Kaushika Mohan Student Publications

Last Thursday night, Sam Austins graced the Vinyl with his charming performance when he opened for Dora Jar. The limited capacity of the venue made the performance all the more enthralling and personal.

From his entrance to his exit, it all felt unreal, as nowhere in any moment of his performance could the audience predict what his next moves would be. After the anticipation of his entrance after minutes of watching the band set up and tune their instruments, he finally quietly walked on stage, with the audience’s excitement at an ever high.

The quiet anticipation greatly contrasted with Austins’ strong beginning with his powerful voice and the dynamic instrumentals. Immediately, from the first beat of the song, it was clear how entranced the audience was, as every single person in the crowd was moving along to the music — jumping, singing, dancing and feeling the music in every inch of their souls.

After a couple of songs, Austins took a moment to talk to the fans, mentioning who he was and a little bit of his music history leading up to this moment where  for the first time in his life, he was on stage in Atlanta on tour. 

It felt surreal to witness such a significant moment, the intimate size of the venue only adding to and emphasizing the energy of the audience.

Austins’ songs oozed with Detroit influence through and through, both in the R&B flair in his music and in his life story he expressed so vividly. Aside from the musicality of his songs and performance, the lyrics themselves also portrayed feelings of ambiguity and angst as they described topics of the struggles one faces while growing up and pursuing their dreams. With the addition of immersive and genre-fluid instrumentals, Austins intensely expressed his life stories about growing up in both Detroit and the suburbs of Michigan.

The most captivating feature of Austins’ performance was the way his music visibly resonated through his whole body. Austins not only vocalized his emotions with his singing, but he also added detail to the music through his facial expressions and rhythm, as he danced along, feeling the music and the energy from the audience. The band certainly did a phenomenal job in this aspect by complementing Austins’ aura and vocals with live instrumentals, which entranced the audience. 

With the last song of the night and the singer’s latest single, “Matador,” Austins’ powerful voice reverberated through the stage along with the hype and dramatic instrumentals paving the way for a memorable exit. Austins grooved and moved to the final moments of his performance with the audience before leaving with a swift goodbye. 

Austins poured out his feelings and his life story and communicated with the audience in a manner only he could, alluring his audience as guests inside of his world: this bubble he artistically and carefully crafted. And despite that realm being temporary, in the midst of it all, it felt so raw — so long-lasting. Even after the performance, the aura lingered above all, and the effects of the performance still resonated within.