Up-and-coming country artists Matt Stewart and Travis Denning started off the LANCO concert at The Blue Note on Oct. 24 with their original songs. A native from Missouri, Stewart put his heart on the stage at 8 p.m. as he sang alone with an acoustic guitar. He vulnerably shared his personal stories behind his songs, “As Long as You’re Mine” and “Me and You” despite the commotion from the distracted audience. After a couple more songs, Stewart gave the stage to Denning and his band.
Straight out of Nashville, Tennessee and wearing his cowboy boots, Denning belted out the words to his personal songs while jumping around the stage with his two electric guitarists and drummer. His enthusiastic band, with crazy hair and denim-on-denim style, rocked out with multiple guitar solos, deviating from the traditional country sound—the lyrics remained faithfully country, though.
Denning grew up on a naval base in Georgia. When people around his town were protesting the government by stepping on the American flag, Denning was prompted to write his new single, “Red, White And Blue.” Denning dedicated this song to the brave men and women who fight for our country, and his true American pride came out as he screamed out the national colors. Finishing up with his top single, “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs,” Denning finally got the crowd to sing alone and raise anticipation for LANCO to take the stage next.
Taking on the first concert of their debut album tour, LANCO immediately began with “Hallelujah Nights,” urging the crowd to join in shouting “These are the best days of our life / The ones we won’t get back.” Lead singer Brandon Lancaster could hardly stand still as he ran around the stage yelling out the lyrics with the audience. Beside him, bassist Chandler Baldwin and electric guitar player Eric Steedly blasted out the notes right on the edge of the stage. In the back, Tripp Howell on drums and Jared Hampton on the banjo and keyboards put their full efforts into the performance.
Excited about this new tour that the band had been dreaming about for years, LANCO could not wait to get started in Columbia. They used this concert as an opportunity to experiment for future sets, including playing unplanned songs and involving the crowd. Singing every song from their debut album released in January, the band never lost their enthusiasm and put on an incredibly high energy performance.
Feeling too far away from the crowd, Lancaster brought his whole band into the audience for impromptu covers of “Springsteen,” “Free Fallin’” and even “Mr. Brightside.” Surrounded by hundreds of young adults, LANCO engaged the crowd and everyone united over these widely known hit songs. Even after shuffling back onto stage, Lancaster stood on the barrier in front of the crowd and pointed to the upper level sections while Baldwin jammed with his bass on the speakers within arm’s reach of screaming fans.
Pausing only momentarily between songs to share the stories behind their lyrics, LANCO never let the beat die and captivated the audience throughout their entire hour and a half performance. Eliciting an encore, the band returned to the stage to finish off with their No. 1 single, “Greatest Love Story.” Although Lancaster tells a personal story of breaking up with a girl and getting back together with her through this song, he strives for the lyrics to speak to everyone going through the ups and downs of relationships. The crowd definitely unified with this slower beat song as everyone sang out the lyrics.
Known as feel-good storytellers, LANCO produces all of their country-pop music from actual experiences and clearly loves to share these lyrics with crowds who can relate. By constantly connecting with the crowd and even shouting out to the MU students, LANCO performed a strong, upbeat start to their Hallelujah Nights Tour and said that they could not wait to come back to Columbia in the future. As I’m sure other audience members would agree, we cannot wait to have LANCO back as well.
Edited by Siena DeBolt | firstname.lastname@example.org