C2C 2016: Maddie and Tae

P1000195It has been truly refreshing to witness the rise of two extremely talented young girls in country music over the past year or so. Maddie and Tae are the real deal; intricate songwriters with stunning, angelic vocals and harmonies that fit like a glove. Their debut album ‘Start Here’ went to #2 on the US Country Chart, and they have been out on the road with the likes of Dierks Bentley, Kip Moore and Lee Brice since then.

They have certainly built a considerable fan base over here, and the excitement surrounding their appearance at C2C was clear to see on social media. This was the first time the girls have made the trip across the pond, and judging by the reaction of the C2C crowd, it definitely won’t be their last.

Usually, the O2 arena is only about half full when the first act steps on stage. But on Saturday this year, it was different. It was a line-up filled with mainstream success stories, with platinum-selling artist Sam Hunt, Little Big Town and Carrie Underwood following Maddie and Tae. It’s a credit to how far the girls have come in a very short period of time, when you see a busy O2 arena at 5pm to watch their set.

The show kicked off with ‘Right Here Right Now’, one of the best songs on offer from their debut album. The track has so much energy with its thumping backbeat, and it had the crowd on their feet from the first second. Not only did the girls sound fantastic, but their killer band were on point from start to finish.

For two young artists out of their comfort zone, they could have been forgiven for being slightly overwhelmed by the occasion….but no. Maddie and Tae grace the stage with so much confidence in their own abilities. They really do make it look easy. The set continued with the rocking ‘Your Side Of Town’, followed by ‘No Place Like You’, one of the stand-out tracks from the album.

It was wonderful to see how excited they were about this opportunity. They remarked how they had been waiting to come over to the UK for ages, and their appreciation for the support from UK fans from the start of their career was evident here.

The one complaint we would have about Maddie and Tae’s show was the inclusion of 3 cover songs, ‘Mirrors’ (Justin Timberlake), ‘Umbrella’ (Rihanna), and ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough’ (Loretta Lynn). For a 40 minute set, this was probably 1 or 2 too many. Especially when fan favourites ‘After The Storm Blows Through’ and ‘Downside Of Growing Up’ were left out. Nevertheless, the audience appreciated the quality of their renditions and they showcased the girls’ ability to take on a range of genres.

New single ‘Shut Up And Fish’ had the audience on their feet once more with its incredibly catchy chorus. This hasn’t brought Maddie and Tae the same commercial success as ‘Girl In A Country Song’ or ‘Fly’, but it’s one that truly belongs in a live show and is clearly a fan favourite. ‘Fly’ was simply sublime, featuring an extra chorus on the end performed by the O2 audience! This was one of the best country songs out there last year, and it received all the success it deserved. Maddie and Tae’s vocals live are almost identical to the studio version, which takes real talent.

The show was concluded with ‘Girl In A Country Song’, the single that launched their career. A humorous take on gender representations in country music, this is one that everybody seems to engage with and it was the one everybody was waiting for. It was a fitting end to a very successful London debut; a show which will have delighted dedicated fans, and would have earned them a few newcomers who must surely have been impressed by their talent.

Setlist:

Right Here, Right Now
Your Side Of Town
No Place Like You
Sierra/You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)
Shut Up And Fish
Waitin’ On A Plane
Mirrors
Fly
Umbrella
Girl In A Country Song