‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ might well have become Lady Antebellum’s mantra, their country-pop fusion seeing them rack up a plethora of Grammys and country music awards. Unsurprisingly their new album 747 delivers more of the same, but it’s unlikely to leave many complaining. Tonight’s UK album launch show sees them in a more intimate venue than normal but the band seem to thrive in this arena, and Charles Kelley is quick to tell the crowd how much he enjoys smaller shows before diving into the crowd to take a selfie with a fan.
Whilst it’s We Owned The Night and their cover of Avicii’s Wake Me Up which are the highlights of the show, especially with Dave Haywood proving his worth with some outstanding guitar riffs., the crowd pleaser seems to be a stripped back acoustic rendition of Goodbye Town. Though they manage to pack the night with some of their best loved tracks with the likes of Need You Now and Just A Kiss also getting an airing, there’s no escaping the fact that tonight is the launch show for 747.
With this is mind, we’re treated to tracks such as Long Stretch of Love and the catchy Bartender which only leaves me questioning how they’ve failed to break into the UK charts. Hillary Scott’s vocals are accessible and flawless, and the title track of their new album highlights just how effortlessly her harmonies blend together with Kelley’s. Current single Freestyle certainly demands a shot at a spot in the UK charts, moving away from the slightly twee sound that country-pop normally offers and delving into a more rocky vibe.
Irrespective of charting positions, tonight proves the band are loved this side of the pond and the the adoration is more than deserved. Managing to avoid becoming too saccharine, it’s rocky enough to be accessible whilst remaining true to its country roots. With a headline spot at Country 2 Country announced just minutes before the show, tonight’s intimate offering is likely to be a rare occurrence and the band deliver a faultless performance filled with energy and passion. Suffice to say when they return next Spring to the larger O2 Arena if it’s only half as good as tonight, it’s still going to be a spellbinding show.