NYC welcomed The Cadillac Three into the Hammerstein Ballroom with a bang. TC3 consists of Jaren Johnston, lead vocals and guitar, Neil Madson on drums and backup vocals and Kelby Ross on various instruments (including the dobro!) and backing vocals. I absolutely loved the energy and old school southern rock charm that these guys bring to their performance. Laid back, long hair, tattoos, Bud Light. Their set was kicking and made me feel like I was back in high school listening to the likes of Skynard, ZZ Top, etc… All that with a special twist of moonshine country.
They ended their set with the chart climbing hit “The South” which requires of the listener to a little head bopping, arm waving, and possibly some foot stomping. Anything less and I would have to wonder if you are in the right venue listening to the right genre. The Cadillac Three seems to be a well kept secret finally getting the attention of radio’s listeners. Well deserved!
Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world. Lyrics from the immortal Beach Boys….And oh so perfect for Jake Owen who rode the wave into NYC headlining the Hammerstein Ballroom last week. Jake Owen was most definitely sitting on top of the world with a stage set that evoked the beach and good times, including the tiki bar and palm trees.
The crowd was evenly attired in blue jeans and cowboy boots to summer fun flip flops and shorts. Summer dresses, baseball hats ruled with only a few cowboy bats making a statement. Jake started the show by surprising everyone and popping up in the audience. The crowd raised their hands with cell phone flashes popping and videos filming. He made his way to the stage where his fantabulous band (Lead Guitar-David Wallace, Drums-Myron Howell, Bass-Robby Emerson, Keyboard and Guitar-Joe Arick, Guitar and Banjo-Derek Williams) was playing and the night proceeded with amazing performances of fan favorites, current and old. We were treated to sizzling guitars, rapid fire drums, hot keyboard as well. Jake’s banter with the mass of fans comes naturally and unscripted. His persona is so genuine and laid back that you feel like you are at a house party not a concert venue. Always flashing that gorgeous smile, naturally making eye contact with individuals in the crowd, reaching out and touching hands, fist pumping, raising a drink, making a joke. Jake owns it.
Aside from the music, one learns a lot about Jake and who he is as a person by his actions and words throughout the show. Acknowledging a fan for his die-hard support (Dwaine Hall), thanking the men and women who protect and serve our country, helping lead the chant #USA-USA, bringing up on stage and making a rockstar out of a 5 year old boy, being aware of a fan who seems totally engaged in the show and including that fan and his friends in a personal party at the stage. Add to that the special treat of having birthday boy Tony Martinez on stage to play and sing.
There is nothing better than being at a show where you know the words, sing along, smile and laugh, make friends and feel at home.