Old Dominion - Trinity Centre, Bristol
If you're in any way a fan of country music, being a fan in the UK means you get an experience that's somewhat special at times. On a Monday night in Bristol a few of those things happened. Firstly, Eric Paslay. Now usually, the first support act, on at 7:30, gets maybe a handful of people watching, and even fewer actually paying attention. Not so the opening act at the Trinity Centre. The room is full. Totally packed. And loving every minute of the big bearded singer-songwriter on stage, holding court with nothing but his personality, a guitar, and a songbook of quality songs.
Sadly what followed was the not quite so impressive sight of Walker Hayes. Now the guy has one or two likeable tracks, and 'Halloween' gets a decent sing-a-long, but after the delicate half hour of songwriter-y-ness from Paslay it's a gearbox breaking change of gear. And wholly missable.
Still, the second thing of the night is getting to see a band the size of Old Dominion in an old church in Bristol. They've had multiple number one singles at home, they headline bigger venues, they've CMA nominations, they're just a pretty big deal. And they played Shepherd's Bush Empire the night before. The quintet are tight, they're fun, and they've got some decent country-pop songs: 'Hotel Key', 'Written In The Sand', 'Said Nobody', etc.
The third thing is the sing a long section. Despite 'Break Up With Him' being a number one song on the US Country Airplay chart three years ago, you won't have heard it on Radio 2 anytime. Ever. Still, that doesn't stop Bristol from knowing every word and carrying the entire final chorus. How does everyone know the song? One of the enduringly endearing things about country music fans in the UK; we love the lyrics.