Posts Tagged With: Eric Church

Gig Review: Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

When The Outsiders video came out last year I was hooked, and immediately took more notice of Eric Church than I had previously. As a lifelong fan of rock music I liked the heavier feel and put the album on pre-order the same day. I avoided reading or listening to anything about The Outsiders for months, even the full stream which became available last month. I wanted my first listen of the CD to be pure and without any influence from anyone else. That day came last Tuesday, and to say I was blown away would probably be an understatement. I immediately made plans to see Eric at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire just a few days later, something that previous plans had prevented to that point.

Short notice meant that I had to go alone, a first for me, but no way was I going to miss this. I’d heard others say, from earlier gigs on the UK leg of the tour, that they played a few songs from the new album but mostly material from his previous 3 albums. I was a little disappointed, not because I didn’t like the older songs, but because I’d become so attached to The Outsiders I wanted to hear as many songs performed live as possible. Undeterred, I set off and promptly queued on the wrong side of the building for my level 3 seat. Hey, in all fairness the signs were minimal at most, and I was one of many who made the same mistake. My decision to wear a coat with a hood over my cooler leather jacket was a wise one, as we were rained on relentlessly while we waited.

Once inside the Empire I climbed the many stairs and found a seat just to the right of centre, about 4 rows from the front of the level 3 section. The venue is not that big so I was still pretty close, and looking down on the stage. The support band were a trio of Nashville natives called The Cadillac Three, who were loud and brash, and that part I liked. What I didn’t like was the sound set-up, which meant that from where I was sitting I could hear the guitars and drums, but the vocals were so lost I couldn’t decipher one word of the lyrics, from any of their songs. It’s a shame, because the general sound seemed like something I’d like, and I will check them out on CD, but would have liked to have experienced them properly on the night.

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

Eric Church and band came on stage at 8.40pm, and from the opening moments my fears of poor sound were abated, as Smoke A Little Smoke filled the venue with clarity and quality – a great combination I’m sure you’ll agree. Wearing his trademark aviator sunglasses Eric was the epitome of cool, as he played his guitar and sung the very first song I’d ever heard of his a few years ago. Within minutes I knew my solo venture was not in vein, as I grinned and sung along, but not too loud as to annoy others – I’m not one of those people.

I was far too into the music to tell you which songs came when, but what I can tell you is that a lot of The Outsiders album was played. Eric did say at the start of the gig that they were going to change up the set for this last UK gig and I for one was delighted. One of the early songs of the night was Cold One, which meant we were treated to that frenzied instrumental section which comes in at about 2 minutes 15 seconds. On CD it’s a fantastic listen, live it’s taken to another level entirely and you can’t help but want to move with the music.

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

I was into the music, there’s no doubt about that, but so was Mr Eric Church, who seemed to almost explode with passion and energy on that stage. I’ve seen plenty of acts who unfortunately just played, but Eric put his heart and soul into each and every performance, and gets so energised he has a fist shake, which can only be described as The Eric Church Fist Shake! His band are not background players, as each and every one with their individual style, adds to the show and is given the chance to shine. Listening back to his music post gig I can tell who is playing which part, and can even visualise those tantalising guitar riffs. It’s obvious from watching the Eric Church Band perform that they are a close nit bunch of guys who have been through this journey together and have come out the other end as a rock and roll juggernaut of musical excellence.

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

The crowd was so into the show, and it was nice to be among so many people, all appreciating talent that really should be more widely known than Eric Church is. Within the country music universe he’s a rising king, but his music crosses genres and has mass appeal, if played in the right places. Back to the people that were there on Sunday, and had I been with others for moral support, I too may have taken my boot off during These Boots. Eric grabbed three from front row fans, and one was thrown to the middle of the stage. Eric sat those three boots on his guitar as he sung, and then signed them before giving them back. I did wonder, for a second or two, if anyone would be disappointed to have their boot scrawled on, but common sense soon prevailed as I realised they’d be thrilled to have an Eric Church original on their foot now.

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

They played all my favourite songs from the new album, including That’s Damn Rock & Roll straight into Devil, Devil. We unfortunately didn’t get the Princess of Darkness prelude to that latter song, but that can be saved for another time. When they played The Outsiders I was grinning from ear to ear and it sounds every bit as good live as I’d hoped. No, actually it sounded better, as did Like Jesus Does which had become a favourite of mine this time last year. Before seeing him play live I’d never realised what an accomplished guitar player Eric is – as if he needs anything else to keep seven levels of cool above anyone else.

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

The regular set finished with Creepin’, another ticked off my wanted to hear list. Rather than trying to fool us with a long goodbye, he just walked off saying bye – he knew and we knew that they were coming back, why play games and pretend otherwise? Back they did indeed come, and we heard three more songs including new single Like A Wrecking Ball and then finished with crowd favourite Springsteen. The Oh Oh Oho Oh crowd participation part went on for a good few minutes and I’m sure both Eric and us fans could have stayed for another 90 minutes.

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

Eric Church at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Sunday 2nd March 2014

The set packed so much into that time that fans old and new would not have had any reason to be disappointed. Eric and his band were on fire in London on Sunday and are without doubt one of the top live acts around at the moment. Great songs performed with heart, passion and swagger – what more could you want? Eric was interviewed by Simon Mayo yesterday evening where he made a promise to come back and do a 20 date your – I’m holding you that, and next time I’m going to more than one show. I’d be a fool not to, and so would you.

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Best in Show: Nashville’s New Country #103

It was the very first song from this week’s show and I was almost certain as soon as I heard it that it would be winning Best in Show, but more on who that turned out to be later. This first song I am referring to is Can’t Shake You by Gloriana, who are a band that I have only come to know in the last couple of weeks, but who have been around for since 2008. Can’t Shake You is abut the aftershocks of a failed relationship that I think most of us can relate to from some point in our past. It has the sound of Lady Antebellum and on hearing this song I did wonder if it was the same band that a friend referred to as Like a better looking Lady Antebellum. When it was revealed that it was Gloriana, the answer was yes, it’s the same band she was referencing, though I’ve not seen them to comment on their looks!

Speaking of Lady Antebellum, they followed Gloriana with their new song Downtown. I would link the video but it seems EMI have restricted access to the UK on both their official video and any other subsequent uploads. I’m still not sure about this as a Lady Antebellum single. I like that Hillary takes the lead on the vocals but it feels more like a song for a solo singer than a band with dual vocalists. The story goes that Miranda Lambert was going to record Downtown but she passed it over to Lady Antebellum when she heard they were interested in cutting it. I have to admit that I’d prefer for it to have been cut by Miranda. there’s no doubt we can hear a sassiness in Hillary’s voice that we’ve not heard before, but in spite of that I think it would have been a better for Miranda. Maybe some of this comes from me having a Miranda Lambert week last week – she’s currently riding high on my iPod playlist.

While I usually like most of what is played on Nashville’s New Country, for two weeks in a row there is one song that hasn’t appealed to me at all, that being Don’t Rush by Kelly Clarkson. It sounds very dated and not in a cool retro way. It also apparently features Vince Gill, but aside from joining in for the ofdd harmony he is somewhat absent from the track – good judgment on his part maybe.

So on to this week’s winner, and after Nashville’s New Country played a rare double header, it’s Eric Church who again walks away with best in Show, this time with Keep On.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a guy sees girl, girl likes guy, girls boyfriend gets macho, new guy makes him look small, girl goes off with guy type of story, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The use of the chorus to describe three different situations is nice, and especially it’s reversal of intention on the 3rd occurance. It does need a music video, although him being signed with EMI would probably mean I wouldn’t be permitted to see it here in the UK anyway.

Categories: Best in Show Nashville's New Country | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Best in Show: Nashville’s New Country #102

I’m a huge fan of podcasts and when I started listening to country music last February, one of the first things I did was search for some podcasts. Well some may have been a bit optimistic but I did at least find one that is kept updated regularly, that being Nashville’s New Country. It may well be the only one I could find, but it’s pretty much the best of the many podcasts I listen to every week. Host Steve Southward is a fantastic, with a ton of knowledge and a hugely welcoming and infectiously enthusiastic presenting style. It’s on this very show early last year that I first heard Dustin Lynch’s Cowboys and Angels. As this show introduces me to so many new songs and artists I thought I’d do a Best in Show post every week where I choose my favourite song from that show that week – pretty self explanatory really, but you never know! So here we go with the very first one…

To say it is hard picking just 1 song from this week’s show is a huge understatement. I adore Jana Kramer’s Whiskey, but because I featured that on my big Twitter post a few days ago I’m going to go with something else. I love Miranda Lambert’s Mama’s Broken Heart and especially the bass that takes the primary instrument role. I’ve only just recently got to know Love & Theft and their track Runnin’ Out Of Air which was played on last week’s show. Also new to me are Florida Georgia Line who are currently number 1 on the Billboard Top Country Songs with Cruise. However it’s their new song Get Your Shine On which was played on show #102 and is actually available as a free download here. Both the songs from these bands could easily get Best in Show this week…but they didn’t, not this time.

I really like Easton Corbin’s All Over The Road and I remember hearing his previous single Lovin’ You Is Fun on this very show last year. There are also great songs by Jake Owen, newcomer Joel Crouse and quite a few others, but Best in Show for #102 goes to Eric Church and his latest single Like Jesus Does.

Having only recently got his album Chief I’m on a bit of an Eric Church run at the moment and this song is great both lyrically and musically. I can identify with some of the song, maybe not to the extremes that he describes himself, and I also like the way he uses lyrics from American Pie and references Waylon Jennings and one of his songs. It was a really tough week to separate one from the other and maybe on a different day, in a different mood I’d choose one of the others, but right here and now Best in Show goes to Eric Church and Like Jesus Does.

Categories: Best in Show Nashville's New Country | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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