So I attempted to write a little round-up of 2016’s country gigs in December. I’m pretty sure I typed it out. And then I’m definitely NOT sure what happened to it. I think amongst the Christmas parties and festive drinkies it may have been misplaced so here it is again… (If I did post it and you’ve read it do let know where I can find it because it really is a bit of a mystery…)
Last year was awesome for country music fans. We had so many American bands popping over across the pond that we were spoiled for choice. There were quite a few I din’t make it to (damn you work for getting in my way of fun). The number of bands coming over and touring for the first time keep growing and when they’ve been once they all seem to want to come back for more. It just shows how quickly country music is growing as a genre. It has always had a loyal fan-base in Blighty but it seems that over the past few years its popularity is rapidly increasing. And the bands are more than happy to meet the demand.
So 2016’s highlight’s include…
C2C. Obviously. A veritable smorgasbord of country music all under one roof. Each year it keeps getting bigger and bigger. If you like country music then this is your number one destination for the year. They had 17 acts playing on the main stage and over 80 bands appearing at pop-up stages in and around the O2 over the course of the weekend. If that doesn’t give you a country fix that’ll last well into summer I don’t know what will. Some of the big name draws this year included Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Eric Church and the wonderful Little Big Town. It was three days of toe-tapping, boot-stomping, singing-your-heart-out fun.
Kip Moore was definitely the rowdiest and also won the “Most Trucker Caps In One Room” award. The Dixie Chicks were best in terms of “putting on a show”. They have incredible stage presence and the audience loved them. (In defence to some of the smaller gigs I understand they probably won out due to the fact they have the budget to throw a lot of whizzes and bangs in to a show but it is pretty hard to beat a giant confetti canon.) The small gig that Old Dominion played just after C2C was definitely one of my favourites. One of those nights when you’re glad you braved the cold to go. And Frankie Ballard was so good I had to see him twice, once in March and again in October. (Come back again soon Frankie!! In country the phrase “too much of a good thing” doesn’t apply). There were too many contenders for “looks best in a tight tshirt” (boys AND girls) and don’t even ask me to choose “song of the year” because we could be here a while….
The last gig of the year was the legendary Kenny Rogers at the London Palladium. Basically country royalty. I mean, come on, it’s KENNY ROGERS. Even the lovely (and supremely talented) Charles Worsham who opened for him seemed to hardly believe it himself. Kenny was incredible. He sang and talked us through his life, telling us stories and jokes and sharing pictures from years gone by. It was like watching a one man country music variety show special and it was a magically way to end the country year.
2016. What a year. We opened with Kris Kristofferson and ended with Kenny.
2017. Willie Nelson. You’re up.