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C2C launch: Little Big Town, Brooklyn Bowl London live review

The four-piece country chart toppers launched the 2016 C2C festival.

Little Big Town
Credit: Decca

Little Big Town have been together and making music since 1998. The band released their debut self-titled album in 2002 and since then they’ve toured relentlessly and climbed up the charts with each subsequent release. The band recently scored the biggest hit of their career so far with Girl Crush taken from their 2014 album Pain Killer. Despite causing controversy in the US, where the song’s lyrics were wildly misinterpreted, the song gave Little Big Town their second US Country number 1 single and their biggest hit on the Billboard 100 to date. Last night Little Big Town launched the 2016 C2C: Country To Country Festival at Brooklyn Bowl inside The O2 in London.

Arriving on stage shortly after 8pm, Little Big Town wasted no time in winning the audience over. They kicked off their set with Pain Killer album track Turn the Lights On and they seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the fact the audience knew every single word. That’s a theme that recurred throughout the evening with the band intermittently letting the audience do the singing whilst they soaked up the love and adoration whilst taking in the moment. The setlist for the evening was comprised of songs from across the band’s extensive career with a leaning towards cuts from most recent album Pain Killer.

After appealing to the British sensibility with Day Drinking, Little Big Town begun interacting with the audience and it’s the most chatty we’ve seen them on stage. We previously saw them at the inaugural C2C festival and felt there was something missing in terms of their presence. Last night there was absolutely nothing missing as the band combined flawless vocals and musicianship with witty and engaging banter between songs.

Highlights came thick and fast over the course of the evening. Tornado, from the 2012 album of the same name, and Pontoon provided two of the biggest audience cheers of the evening. At different points of the evening Karen Fairchild, who does the lion’s share of the lead vocals, stepped back to allow her bandmates to take centrestage and enjoy the limelight. Kimberly Schlapman impressed on the acoustic ballad Sober and brought the house down with the rousing Save Your Sin. Jimi Westbrook took on lead vocals on the Fleetwood Mac meets Bryan Adam’s track Tumble and Fall, and Phillip Sweet shined on Stay All Night.

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One of the things that is always appealing about Little Big Town is the band’s harmonies. No other group in country music today harmonises in the way that this band does. They support each other effortlessly and it’s the moments they come together, such as Front Porch Thing, when they are at their strongest. Each member of the band has a distinct vocal that brings something to the table and together they sound simply gorgeous.

As the night drew to a close Little Big Town performed a show-stopping rendition of Girl Crush, brought the house down with Boondocks (thanks to an incredible vocal from Westbrook) and ended the evening with a brand new song The Beginning. As they performed their final song the band admitted that they were finding it hard to leave the stage due to the reception they were getting from the very appreciative crowd.

Little Big Town nailed it last night at the Brooklyn Bowl. They will be back in the UK in March to perform as part of the C2C line-up and if last night’s reaction is anything to go by they should have been given a headline slot rather than a supporting one. Either way their show is sure to be a highlight of C2C 2016 and we can’t wait to see them bring the house down again.

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