Review and photos by Jennie Book

The intimate atmosphere of The Independent in San Francisco felt special on August 19, 2023 as SYML, fronted by singer-songwriter Brian Fennell, took the stage solo for An Evening With SYML. Touring in support of his latest album, “The Day My Father Died,” Fennell’s set was a journey of heart and emotion that everyone in the crowd felt and saw through his expressive performance. His face hides nothing, and his fans love him for it.

Fennell connected with the sold-out crowd through his genuineness, and his fans are devoted. First on stage for six songs solo, then a short break before his band came out with him for another full set, his authenticity was front and center for each song. Between tracks he talked to the crowd, even knelt to sign something for a fan, and had some endearing back-and-forthing that made him seem like a guy who’d be fun to hang out with. Some good moments were him joking about escaping LA before its once a millennium hurricane and hightailing it to San Francisco, and talking about the music industry in LA and how he felt about it when he was younger, and how people in your life can help you see different roads and that success can look like more than one thing. These interactions added a personal touch and made the night feel like an intimate gathering of friends.

The setlist was carefully curated, featuring tracks like “Believer” and “You and I,” which were emotional high notes. A fun highlight was a cover of Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova,” which Fennell delivered in his own signature style.

The crowd’s reverence in the cozy confines of The Independent was a testament to the impact of SYML’s music. Fennell’s ability to create a warm atmosphere where the audience hung on every word showcased his gift for storytelling through song, and made it an unforgettable night.

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