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Chase Rice, Bush Hall, London live review

Ahead of his C2C performance in March, the singer-songwriter played a headline set as part of Country Music Week.

Chase Rice
Credit: Joseph Llanes

Almost a year after he last played in the UK, Chase Rice returned to London to headline a show at Bush Hall in London as part of Country Music Week. Last year Rice released his new album Lambs & Lions, his first since signing with Broken Bow Records. The album arrived in a hail of publicity with Rice stating that he’d been able to make the music he really wanted to make and the first single Three Chords & the Truth showcased a very different to the one introduced with his 2014 major label debut Ignite the Night. With the news that he would be part of the C2C: Country to Country 2019 line-up in the open, Rice took to the stage art Bush Hall to give fans a preview of what to expect.

Rice opened his set with Do It Like This, and it was the first of many selections from Ignite the Night. Armed with an acoustic guitar, Rice held the crowd’s attention without the need for a backing band. With Lambs & Lions being his latest record, I was expecting lots of selections from that but instead the focus was on Ignite the Night. From his latest record Rice only performed On Tonight, Three Chords and the Truth, Jack Daniel’s Showed Up and new single Eyes on You. It’s a shame as those songs show more depth than the commercial leaning offerings from Ignite the Night.

It was clear that the set was geared to be a fan pleasing one. 2013 single How She Rolls was an early highlight as was Jack Daniels and Jesus, one of two songs with the famous drink brand name checked in the title. Gonna Wanna Tonight prompted a little sing-a-long with the crowd, whilst Ride saw Rice pull a fan up on stage so he could serenade her. One of the biggest reactions of the night came on Cruise, a song that Rice co-wrote for Florida Georgia Lane. Rice’s version lacked the pop energy that FGL infuse into it but it was still one of the better moments of the set.

Things came to a close with Rice’s breakthrough hit Ready Set Roll. It was a fitting end to a short but sweet set, and as the lights came on in Bush Hall it was clear that we weren’t getting an encore. It made the set ending feel a little abrupt and the crowd could definitely have enjoyed a couple more songs.

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Rice played an enjoyable set but he was a little overshadowed by his support acts Lainey Wilson and Jimmie Allen. Both of those artists are fantastic vocalists and they built up the energy to a great level prior to Rice’s set. Perhaps it was an ill-advised sequencing for the performers but Rice felt a little flatter than the two artists that preceded him. To be fair, he attempted to banter with the crowd although an over-enthusiastic male fan seemed to throw him slightly. Overall the performance was solid enough but it didn’t pack the ‘wow’ factor I’d expected and that left me feeling a little disappointed.

Set list: 1. Do It Like This 2. How She Rolls 3. 50 Shades of Crazy 4. Jack Daniels Showed Up 5. Three Chords and the Truth 6. Carolina Can 7. Jack Daniels and Jesus 8. Gonna Wanna Tonight 9. Eyes On You 10. Ride 11. On Tonight 12. Cruise 13. Ready Set Roll Performance date: 23rd October 2018

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