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LANCO O2 Academy Islington, London live review

The band returned to the UK to kick off their first headlining tour.

Credit: Arista Nashville

LANCO made their debut trip to the UK in 2018 to perform as part of C2C: Country to Country. The band were one of the breakout hits of the weekend with Country fans flocking to check them out as the buzz grew over the three days. Just over a year on and LANCO have finally made it back to the UK but this time it’s for their debut international headline tour. The jaunt kicked off last night at O2 Academy Islington in London and having missed every one of their performances at C2C, I was very excited to find out if they could live up to the hype.

Arriving on stage around 9pm, LANCO started their 90-minute set with Hallelujah Nights, the title track from their number-one debut album. It was the first of several soaring anthems the band performed over the course of the night and it was the perfect choice to get the party started. What became immediately clear is that LANCO is a band that you have to see live to truly appreciate. Hallelujah Nights is a fine album, don’t get me wrong, but it’s never really been one of my go-to albums the past year.

Hearing the songs from the record brought to life in a live environment gave me a completely different perspective of the band. Frontman Brandon Lancaster is a force-of-nature of stage as he sings and whirls around with plenty of energy. The rest of the band are pretty high energy too and all five members really did give their all during the performance. Long Live Tonight felt like the band were setting the agenda for the evening, while We Do amped up the band’s rockier side for an effective few minutes of Country rock.

New single Rival got a huge response from the audience. The defiant underdog anthem is the kind of song that us Country fans can easily relate to. The lyrics talk about being an outsider and proving the world wrong, and each one of us that have fought for the genre to get more exposure in the UK knows just how that feels. It’s a cracking song and quite possibly their best single yet.

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In the middle of the set LANCO entered into a covers section. They did a very good rendition of the Killers’ classic Mr Brightside before entering the crowd and performing a medley of songs in the middle of the audience. A passionate version of John Michael Montgomery’s Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) was up first followed by short excerpts of Eric Church’s Drink in My Hand and Springsteen, with a bit of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ in the middle.

After that the band returned to the stage for the brilliant Middle of the Night followed by the raucous Trouble Maker, which got the audience singing at the top of their lungs. That was followed by Born to Love You, which arrived before the encore performance of the band’s smash-hit Greatest Love Story. That song is a real gem and even after listening to it a few hundred times over, the band’s live performance gave it a new life and energy.

I was really impressed by LANCO’s live performance. They are very tight as a band and their energy is infectious. Brandon Lancaster is one hell of a talented songwriter and vocalist and there’s no doubt that he’s the driving force of LANCO. Each of the band members impressed with their musicianship and it definitely feels like we’re only at the beginning of their success story. Judging by the reaction they got from the crowd, LANCO need to make the UK a regular stop on their future tours and from what I could see, the crowd sizes are going to grow quickly as word of mouth solidifies their position as one of the best live acts in Country music right now.

Set list: 1. Hallelujah Nights 2. Long Live Tonight 3. We Do 4. Win You Over 5. So Long (I Do) 6. Pick You Up 7. Singin’ at the Stars 8. Rival 9. Mr Brightside (Killers cover) 10. Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident) (John Michael Montgomery cover) 11. Drink in My Hand (Eric Church cover) / Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty cover) / Springsteen (Eric Church cover) 12. Middle of the Night 13. Trouble Maker 14. Born to Love You 15. Greatest Love Story Performance date: 1st May 2019

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