Originally from Red Bank, New Jersey, singer-songwriter Sam MacPherson is now a Los Angeles resident, but his love for his home state is made manifest in his EP, Powerlines, released this April on Elektra Records. This past Friday, July 7, fans at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles were treated to a set that featured several songs from the EP. It was the final night of the North American leg of Ruel’s 4th Wall Tour; MacPherson had joined Ruel for a run of shows stretching from New York, to Vancouver, and finally wrapping up in Los Angeles.

Perhaps due to the venue’s location next to the University of Southern California’s campus, it’s no surprise that most of the audience were college students, ready for a good time and a break from the stress of academia. Opening his set with his 2022 single “Crash Course”, Sam MacPherson brought a comforting familiarity with each song: whether you knew the lyrics or not, by the end of his set you were bound to walk away feeling like you’d just listened to an old friend. MacPherson’s performance style was more subdued in contrast to the night’s headliner – he took to the stage solo, just him and his guitar – thematically, his music was right on point. Highlights included the Powerlines closer, “Safe To Say” – a song about feeling like everyone around you has it all figured out – and the wistfully heartbroken “Play Dumb”, which – to no surprise – has seen its fair share of virality on TikTok.


To a room of a few thousand people, MacPherson joked about the show being an intimate setting. As he taught the crowd the chorus to “How To Dress For The Rain”, his performance certainly felt intimate and personal – thanks to his own knack for connecting listeners through song. Before the set finished, MacPherson treated the crowd to a brand new, unreleased song, called “SNAKEBITE”. “This song’s about falling in love and being scared of it… and realizing that if the thing we’re scared of the most is love, it’s a pretty good deal,” he offered. It was a comforting statement, and just the type of thing it seemed many needed to hear.

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