Day 4 of Country Music week brought us probably the most impressive venue of the week in the cavernous Royal Albert Hall. Never having been there before made this gig doubly special and after I’d stopped playing with the swively chair and was able to take in the venue I was already impressed. Opening Act Seth Ennis was someone who caused quite a stir and many were anxious to see his return. With a backing band consisting of guitar, drums and double bass Seth opened the show also playing guitar. For the second song in the set, Fast Girl, Seth dispensed with the guitar and focussed on the vocals only. Next came the most bittersweet moment of the set. Seth’s song, co-written with Liz Rose and recorded by Tyler Farr, “Our Town” was written following the Dallas shootings. Seth saw Tyler perform this song live at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas. Given the recent events this made tonight’s performance especially poignant. To lighten the mood we were then treated to a newly penned song “Call Your Momma” with Seth frequently correcting himself to the more UK traditional ‘mum’ whilst introducing the song. He also took to the piano for “Think & Drive” and closed his set with the only song I already knew “Woke up in Nashville”. The Royal Albert Hall audience were clearly appreciative and he seemed humbled by the reception, and the venue!
Little Big Town we have seen before and they are very accomplished stage performers. They can very easily be likened to the Country Abba, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing! With lead vocal duties shared by all 4 members and every song containing their trademark harmonies LBT offer a very balanced show and with and they were clearly loving every minute of it. The opening set of songs included some old favourites alongside some of the newer tracks. In particular “Happy People”, “Pontoon” and “Little White Church” were enthusiastically received with the crowd singing along. “Tumble & Fall” gave Jimi the chance to take on lead vocal duties and gives LBT a much rockier sound. We then had the chance for a little bit of a chat with Kimberley casually name-dropping the writer of the next song, Taylor Swift. Well if you’re going to name-drop you might as well make it a big one! “Better Man” off their new album “The Breaker” is a typical LBT number and looks like becoming a fan favourite. We then were treated to a couple of my favourite drinking songs, the obvious “Day Drinking” followed immediately by the Kimberley led “Sober”, a beautiful song in a beautiful venue. To make the set more intimate the backing band were dispensed with so with just 1 guitar and harmonies we had a tribute to Don Williams with "I Believe In You", before an Alicia Keys cover of "Fallin'". We even had a countrified version of Wonderwall, with requisite crowd participation. The hits kept coming and you began to wonder whether they were going to hit their 10:15 curfew… clearly not. “Save Your Sin” blew the audience away before Karen , hearing a voice in her ear, stepped to the front of the stage to announce that they would be Headlining the Sunday night at C2C 2018. How do you follow an announcement like that? Easy. “Girl Crush”. I need say no more… With the audience on their feet and the clock well passed 10:15 LBT were welcomed back on stage for the encore. Come 10:30 I found myself wandering back down Exhibition Road with "Boondocks" still ringing in my ears and a ridiculous smile plastered across my face.