Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Kind of Night: Luke Bryan Rocks Pittsburgh

If You're Not Here To Party — You're Stuck In Traffic

Sing it, Luke
If Luke Bryan’s “Dirt Road Diary” read “want to grow up to be the new Tim McGraw,” then his dreams have come true. Earlier this year, The Inky Jukebox saw Mr. McGraw’s show and came away with that sad feeling that she’d just seen a once-bright star lose some of its twinkle. That’s OK; McGraw’s had his run.

 But that left the stage open for some new handsome buck to take his place and that man has arrived. His name is Luke “Shake It For Me” Bryan. As if to prove The Inky Jukebox’s point, it has just been announced that Bryan’s latest album Crash My Party has made the biggest sales splash for a male artist since McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying in 2004.

Who's #1? You are! 
Bryan slides very easily into that spotlight on his first headlining tour, with a big ole stack of hits to make a fat set list from and the moves and singing chops to back it up. In Pittsburgh on September 28th, he proved why he’s the current ACM Entertainer of the Year and delivered some whoop-ass to close out the concert season. 

Impressive on the big screen. Just sayin'.
He noted that it wasn’t long ago that this was the very venue of his first amphitheater-sized show (as opening opener for Sugarland and Brooks & Dunn), and that he vowed that night to sell this joint out one day. The Inky Jukebox can attest that he certainly did that.

Close enough to touch, ladies!
There were some tell-tale signs: first, The Inky Jukebox drove past five (5) miles of cars waiting to get off at the venue exit and only just made it into the parking area before it closed. Based on past experience, all of those cars were directed to the overflow parking in a field a mile away. Yet when The Inky Jukebox entered the amphitheater and found her place on the lawn just before Florida Georgia Line came on, the place looked packed to capacity already. Now that it’s getting dark early, Thompson Square’s set opened in the dark, yet folks were still coming in.

Acoustic set with Luke Bryan at piano
Luke Bryan’s got that mix between country topics and a pop look and sound; his latest single, “That’s My Kind of Night” features a club-thump and rap-style lyric, and clearly ruffled a few feathers in traditional circles. Zac Brown talked trash about it, but I don’t think Zac Brown shares the same audience as Luke Bryan, Georgia boys though they both be. What Bryan can do is play his instruments (guitar and piano), sing, — and dance. His booty-shaking is a crowd-pleaser and he knows it.  He genuinely looks like he’s having a blast on stage.

The hardest working ass in country music
The crowd was mostly very young (high school / college) and familiar with the urban hooks and rap that comprise the identity of Florida Georgia Line, which really do cause The Inky Jukebox to wonder about the state of country music. For good measure, Clay Cook has rubbished them by name too.

Shawna Thompson is better than her band

Thompson Square try hard, but like themselves more than the crowd does. Keifer is not that good a singer, but Shawna is. 

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