Photo’s by Bryony Jewell, Scott Tomlins and Kayleigh Lewington.
Monday evening saw the first performances of Country Music Week – and with Walker McGuire, Lindsay Ell and Randy Houser on the lineup, it was never going to disappoint.
That was until we woke up to the tragic news that more than 50 people had died at Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas whilst watching Jason Aldean’s set.
All three of Monday nights artists used their time and music to honour the fans killed in Vegas and remind us all that country music is a family; and following news as devastating as that, there really is no place you’d rather be than with your family.
Having the honour of opening the night was duo Walker McGuire. Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire asked London’s Bush Hall audience to take a moment of respect for Las Vegas at the beginning of the set before opening with ‘Mysteries of the World’.
The charming duo, who promised the audience that their music wouldn’t be all “trucks and bonfires” have clearly perfected their sound which is rich with “brotherly” harmonies especially on songs such as ‘Til Tomorrow’.
Lindsay Ell added a touch of rock to the evening blasting her way through ‘Wildfire’ and clearly enjoying every moment of her UK show. Her entire set dripped with attitude and it became very clear that this girl is here to stay.
Her admiration for Kristian Bush – producer of album The Project – was clear. Lindsay delighted the audience with a story of recording her own version of John Mayer’s entire Continuum, citing it as the only record she can listen to “front to back”. This lead to an incredible performance of ‘Stop This Train’ which had the audience spell bound.
Before performing ‘Castle’ Lindsay also payed her respects to Vegas. She spoke, I’m sure for many, when she said things like this “makes you appreciate what we get to do” and how ‘Castle’ is about “waking up and realising our lives are pretty good”.
Closing the first night was Randy Houser, who along with his band, glowed with energy from the first note – broken guitar strings aside!
Within seconds of taking the stage Randy had the audience laughing, telling us how he had a set list but it all “swirled into shit when I heard this guy had passed away” – announcing the news that Tom Petty had passed away.
In the set were many of his popular songs – ‘Boots On’, ‘We Went’ and ‘How Country Feels’ – it made you forget North London and think of Nashville. He also paid tribute to the tragedy in Vegas describing it as being a “hell of a day”.
Definitely winning the award for the band having the most fun, Randy couldn’t stop smiling as he said “we should be a hell of a lot more professional than we are, but oh well”. Don’t change Randy, us English fans love your laid back ways, and certainly, don’t ever change country music.