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Old Dominion, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London live review

The band returned for their biggest headline show yet in London.

Old Dominion
Credit: Sony Music

Old Dominion are becoming a regular fixture on the Country music live circuit here in the UK. Since making their first C2C: Country to Country appearance a couple of years ago, the band can’t get enough of us. In the past year alone they’ve made three trips to perform here, first with Thomas Rhett last November followed by a Main Stage performance at C2C 2018 and now a headline UK tour. Every time they come back, the crowds get bigger and bigger, and tonight they played their biggest headline show in London to date.

As soon as the opening bars of Song For Another Time started, you remember why Old Dominion have earned such a special place in the heart of UK Country music fans. They make music that’s catchy and memorable, but it’s also mostly about feeling good and letting your hair down (and not in a bro Country way either). Live, the band is funkier and a little looser than on record, and during their headline show at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire they turned the venue into a party by the time they got to the night’s second song, Wrong Turns.

With a set list comprising 21 songs, Old Dominion didn’t spend a whole lot of time talking to the crowd, although they did share their delight at the reception they were getting. Even with their in-ear monitors in, they could surely hear the deafening screams directed their way for the entire 90-minute set. Fans that saw them at C2C earlier this year were in for a treat too as the set list was different with a couple of new songs thrown in including current single Make It Sweet and the contemplative Smooth Sailing, which formed part of the encore.

The hits just kept coming as the band moved from the uptempo gem Beer Can in a Truck Bed to the harmony-filled Not Everything’s About You through to the infectiously funky Hotel Key. The band knows how to translate their music to a live audience and they had us dancing and singing for the entire night. Highlights including the huge sing-a-long moment No Such Thing as a Broken Heart, the rockier Can’t Get You (included as a live track on their current album Happy Endings) and the dance-infused New York at Night, which sees band member Brad Tursi take lead vocals for a change.

After Break Up With Him, the band left the stage and the audience went wild, clapping and chanting for more. Old Dominion were happy to oblige, returning to the stage to perform So You Go, new track Smooth Sailing and their signature tune Snapback. It was a high note to end on and the energy of the crowd during the closing moments had me forgetting it was a Sunday night!

Old Dominion are an excellent live band. Their vocals and harmonies are faultless, their musicianship tight but loose enough to galvanise a crowd, and they have so many catchy tracks that you can’t help but get swept away. The band looked overwhelmed with the screaming, love and appreciation pouring out of the audience and I have to admit it was a pretty electric atmosphere. Old Dominion should continue to aim high for their next UK visit as they could easily scale up venues again and draw even larger crowds.

Set list: 1. Song For Another Time 2. Wrong Turns 3. Beer Can in a Truck Bed 4. Not Everything’s About You 5. Be With Me 6. Written in the Sand 7. Said Nobody 8. Hotel Key 9. Still Writing Songs About You 10. Stars in the City 11. No Such Thing as a Broken Heart 12. Crazy Beautiful Sexy 13. Make It Sweet 14. Can’t Get You 15. Save It For a Rainy Day (Kenny Chesney cover) 16. New York at Night 17. Nowhere Fast 18. Break Up With Him 19. So You Go 20. Smooth Sailing 21. Snapback Performance date: 4th November 2018

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