C2C: Country To Country introduced a brand new stage in the arena for this year’s festival. For Day 1 the stage saw two short acoustic performances from the back of the arena during the breaks between acts performing on the main stage. The new stage offered a nice incentive to stay in your seats between acts rather than rush out of the arena to queue endlessly for drinks and food.
The first act on the stage was rising star Sam Hunt, who had appeared on the Music Mile pop-up stage earlier in the day and attracted a rather large crowd. Armed with his guitar and accompanied by a guitarist, Sam launched straight into his track Break Up in a Small Town pretty much as soon as Brandy Clark left the main stage. Sam’s R&B/country fusion is causing waves in the US and it went down a storm at C2C yesterday. He wraps his vocals around some seriously speedy lyrics complemented by intricate guitar riffs and melodies.
Leave The Night On, Sam’s breakthrough US hit, was next up and got the C2C audience singing along. The song is so damn catchy that we’re pretty sure he could have a hit with it here in the UK should it be released in the coming months. A rapturous reception followed leading to Sam’s third and final track Take Your Time. Part spoken-word, part sung the song is a refreshing change from the clutter of country music clichés that some newer artists are coming out with.
The second act on the Satellite Stage was Nashville actor and musician Sam Palladio. The Kent-born star opened his set with new track Lightning Bones which mashed up country and rock for a surprisingly energetic performance. Next up was a medley of Fade Into You and If I Didn’t Know Better, songs Palladio has sung on Nashville with his co-star Clare Bowen. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t miss Bowen’s harmonies but Palladio’s falsetto was seriously impressive.
Palladio brought his set to a close with original track Wake Me Up in Nashville, the first song he wrote when arriving in Nashville he explained to the audience. The country-folk leanings of the song brought Palladio’s set to a close and he expressed his gratitude at the reception he had received. He also pointed out that his last UK show saw him perform to ‘about 14 people’ so standing in front of nearly 15,000 was quite a change.
Sam Hunt and Sam Palladio both entertained during their short but memorable Satellite Stage performances. Of the two we slightly preferred Sam Hunt as he breathes fresh air into the modern country music landscape. Both artists are incredibly talented and we hope that they’ll find themselves on the C2C main stage in years to come.