C2C REVIEW: Luke Combs – Saturday 10th March 2018, The O2

Credit: Luke Dyson

Luke Combs is the man on everyone’s lips right now. If there’s ever been an icon for aspiring musicians in Nashville to aspire to, Luke is the man. He’s built his career from the ground up, gradually generating the funds to record what was his breakout hit in ‘Hurricane’. Everyone seems to connect to the image – a typical beer-drinking man’s man with the redneck appeal, and his success in a relatively short space of time has been nothing short of astonishing. The general consensus before the festival from many was that Luke was their most-anticipated act to see, and you could tell by the amount of people in the arena for the early slot that there’s already a significant fan base here.

Luke trundled onto the stage in his usual laid-back fashion, gripping an alcoholic beverage in one hand and a microphone in the other. What you see is exactly what you get with him, there’s no act. Ultimately, Luke just knows that he’s got good songs and he lets that do the talking. He kicked things off with ‘Out There’ which is also the first track on the album – a thumping, electric-guitar driven opener that rocked up proceedings from the off. That gritty, raspy vocal ripped through the O2 sound system and hit us like a tonne of bricks.

Much of the set list was made up of fan favourites from his hugely successful debut album ‘This One’s For You’, as well as a few new ones thrown in along the way – ‘She Got The Best Of Me’ and another booming redneck favourite in waiting, ‘Moonshine’. We were treated to even more of the new material the previous night at the CMA Songwriters, and I remember thinking that every single one of them is a potential country radio smash hit. He’s just got that knack that you can’t put your finger on.

‘Honky Tonk Highway’ is a big favourite of mine from the album and it had the fans up on their feet dancing. A lovely traditionally-influenced anthem with a real throwback feel that provided one of the most categorically ‘country’ moments of the whole festival. It wasn’t long before he launched into his second radio hit ‘When It Rains It Pours’ which has become one of the songs of C2C 2018 (mainly because of that stupid 4-song loop playlist in the Indigo!) – a modern country classic that just never gets old!

The band were introduced during a stellar rendition of The Eagles’ ‘Take It Easy’, before Luke brought the show to a close with ‘Moonshine’ and of course, ‘Hurricane’, without which he probably wouldn’t be on that stage. It’s always tough opening the show at C2C with such a short time slot, but Luke Combs certainly kept his devoted fans happy and gained some new followers in the process. Job well done Mr Combs!

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan

  1. Out There
  2. She Got the Best of Me
  3. Honky Tonk Highway
  4. Beer Never Broke My Heart
  5. When It Rains It Pours
  6. One Number Away
  7. Take It Easy (Band Intro)
  8. Moonshine
  9. Hurricane