After the roaring reception that they received at Country 2 Country in London last year, it was no see surprise to see a first headline tour of the UK was in the plans for LANCO which kicked off in London on May 1st, followed by dates in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol where they were joined by Bailey Bryan opening up for them. From the opening bars of Hallelujah Nights right until returning to the stage after Born to Love You for an encore performance of Greatest Love Story the energy on stage was electric. However it wasn’t just the energy on stage but how pumped and engaged the crowd were, which definitely quashed this myth that UK audiences are overly polite and just sit and listen. The day after the show I caught up with Brandon, Tripp, Eric & Chandler at the Sony offices in London and this reaction was exactly the reason they emphasised why they wanted to come back:
Honestly coming over for C2C, I don’t wanna say I was nervous, you just don’t know what to expect. I remember saying to pump us up there could be like 5 people there but let’s just play like it’s 5 thousand and you know what all these people showed up. You do hear that you guys are a very attentive crowd, sometimes even quiet or whatever but at C2C they were great so last night I just felt they would be again. That’s why I started the show saying WE WILL GIVE YOU EVERYTHING, we are gonna sweat and bring everything up here because I believe that is reciprocated! We have seen videos of shows from over here whether it’s at the O2 or Glastonbury or whatever and the fans over here definitely get the energy, so they’ll give it like we felt last night! It was wild, it was awesome!
This giving everything was something that was clearly evident from watching them on stage, the crowd were not just engaged and giving every single thing they received back to them but were singing along to every track that they performed and even compared to other county gigs I have been to in London recently, it was really really loud! The tempo throughout the set was really intense and the crowd were not just loud and attentive to the radio hits but every song, now for a band with just one album a it really is a testament to the strength of Hallelujah Nights and how people over here took the time to digest and appreciate it track by track then come along and give it their all to the deep cuts:
“At this point, it wasn’t necessarily weird now, but at C2C I don’t think any of had ever been here, let alone toured here! Our record hadn’t been out that long at that point so to come over here and have such a great reception from an incredible crowd responding with lots of energy. Looking out and they’re singing along to like track 6 or 7 off the record, like every word to every song! I was like woah!” – Eric
It’s cool you get to see this. Over there people are almost force fed the same songs that they hear over and over and over everywhere. Even where things get licenced or played in movies it is all based around that radio single which is obviously really cool when you have a song hit that. But over here people just pick the tracks that they like! Last night most people were singing to all the songs but you could definitely see people who “Win You Over” is their single, like they are going crazy and “Hallelujah Nights” is these people’s! Like when we played “So Long” I have never seen pockets of people that would look at each other and be like THIS IS THE ONE! That was so cool!
“Another thing I’d like to add, it’s something we’ve talked about even going through the streets and having drinks after the soccer games have been on where people congregate in the streets doing their chants it was like when we were doing a lot of our vocal oh’s and anthemic stuff you guys really sing and last night I heard them really loud!” – Tripp
I concluded from Tripp’s point that they had encountered the amount of love, that our fellow London teams supporters had recently inherited for Ajax Amsterdam following their victory on the Tuesday night over my team Tottenham, however it was great to hear from Brandon that we are still growing in popularity and attract the best people because:
I found a Spurs flag on the tube and picked it up so I’m a Spurs fan now!
The one thing that struck me when I first saw LANCO at the indigo during C2C last year was they were well and truly a band that you just need to see live and just thrive off the energy, wanting to just bring it every time they come on stage. You do come across bands at a festival, particularly at mainstream events over here in the summer but at C2C also where you will discover a band you don’t know a lot about – sometimes barely anything at all that will be able to win you over and be like WOW, those guys were great and you go home and check them out on Spotify and is a great way to develop a fan-base! In the US the festival circuit is a lot bigger than ours over here (not surprising given the geographical size difference of the countries) so there are a lot of dates and places to do this but for any Brits (or country fans from anywhere for that matter) heading to Nashville at the start of next month, the guys said they have a lot going on that week and just couldn’t make things line up to play this year however they are hoping to head back during the festival and arrange more of an intimate fan club event. Then after the US festival season, the guys are due to return to these shores in September where they will join the likes of Josh Turner, Cam, Lauren Jenkins, Sam Outlaw, Eric Paslay, Morgan Evans and Kip Moore at The Long Road Festival in Leicestershire:
I tell people when we did C2C even after our 1st show I was like hey, how many times can we come back? We wanna at least try and get back here twice a year to build this fan-base because I think it’s reacting and I think people are gonna get it! SO we are doing this headline tour and then gonna come back for that festival. We did C2C and just wanted to come back, we just love playing festivals as we feel we really thrive at them so that will be another chance to show what we can do on a festival stage over here!
However, on return to the States after this trip, the guys are set to resume their tour opening for Luke Combs. Having met the guys and from when I spoke to Luke (who is the most laid back and easy going guy I have ever met) last year along with seeing them both live, I can imagine these shows will firstly be absolutely unreal to watch but also a lot of fun for the guys on the road:
Our thing is crazy and his thing is crazy, it’s just funny how 4 years ago we played at this street party with probably about 100 maybe 200 people there and he was playing the after party to 30/40 people where we had just hung out by his van then now we are touring the country with him, playing these huge arenas and seeing where all of our careers have gone is just nuts!
Pretty much smack bang in the middle of their set in London, we got the first taste of the next chapter in the LANCO story, post Hallelujah Nights with the anthemic and pumping “Rival” which was first released back in March. The way that Brandon set this up on stage using the sports team analogy is pretty much perfect of the idea that despite not everyone being completely behind you you can actually use that idea. I delved into how this sits as an introduction to album 2 and how it reflects on what is to expect going forward along with how it is progressing:
We are in a place right now where we are really trying to keep each other accountable and not overthink things because we went into the 1st album with nothing to lose! It was just fun, where we were just so happy to be in a studio and whatever it was we did, it worked! The 1st album had a lot of youthful optimism that came from a place of 8 guys living in a small house, thinking everything is gonna be alright! Rival is this kind of progression of: Hey you know what, we go through this and people with normal jobs go through this thing where not everyone is always gonna root for you. Not everyone is always gonna be on your side and that’s OK! You need to notice that, accept it and then actually use it as motivation to remind you that you are important. That’s a theme we have grown into and where we are and why it’s gonna be on the album. What it’s an indication of is that we are gonna keep it autobiographical and continue to tell you where we are in our lives right now, which I think is the biggest indication of where we want to go!
“We’ve been working on it a lot and have a bunch of songs cut. There’s still a couple we want to go back and add to it but quite frankly until we have an actual date we’re always going to be working on it because we wanna make sure that this body of work is as autobiographical as possible and exactly what we wanna put out! There’s not like a set date or anything like that but I think we are going back in here soon to try and wrap up as much as we can!” – Tripp
The mantra of wanting to keep what they are doing natural, keeping it real, keeping it autobiographical and very refreshingly keeping things simple with the idea of we did something we liked and other people liked it too so why change that as a direction. A sophomore album is always interesting as your debut is basically your life story and whole life’s work to a certain point then to try and expand on it over a much shorter period of time combined with more awareness and expectation can create a sense of pressure to produce something:
“I think we were putting a lot of pressure on ourselves for this next record. We had so many conversations late at night on a bus about where we wanna go with it, what it should sound like, whether or not it’s right for us to sound like this and recently we came to the conclusion that we were falling victim to overthinking because when we were making our first album we didn’t have any of these conversations! We just recorded it with music that we liked and it worked, people responded to it so it’s funny that it took all those conversations to realise we needed to keep being ourselves and making the music that we liked!” – Chandler
Also it’s made us thankful, the reality of the music business means sometimes there are acts who’s first album is premeditated. They planned it and had this whole thing that now they have to keep doing that. All we did was sit together as buddies and played some stuff! I keep saying “Greatest Love Story” was a song we didn’t talk about for one second before we started playing! We just did it but what that meant was whatever we like, whatever we are attracted to and what we think is a good idea there are lots of people out there that agree with us! We figured out on our instincts, created a sound we take ownership of so will keep doing that and hope it works!
“Initially when we started to get to work on this 2nd record, there was this what worked? But then you just get formulaic and trying too hard, which for us we were like this isn’t natural. It was a big creative circle that took months and months and months but now we’re at this point of let’s go do what we like and keep creating this style of music.” – Tripp
Another memorable moment in the set was a cover of everyone’s favourite indie rock and roll party tune Mr Brightside originally performed by The Killers followed up by coming into the crowd to do a medley of John Michael Montgomery’s Sold, Eric Church’s Drink in my Hand & Springsteen along with the Tom Petty classic Free Fallin’ which are all songs that everyone know’s the words to so will sing along at the top of their lungs regardless and it just sums up what the guys kept saying with if we like it and if other people like it, then somethings working! Which it definitely was at this point. One song that unfortunately didn’t appear during their 90 minute set was the other song that LANCO have been involved in this year “Mama Don’t Get Dressed Up For Nothing” that featured on Brooks & Dunn’s collaboration record of reworking some of their greatest hits “Reboot” It’s sort of intriguing how things like this come about; were they covering it on tour and they saw a video of it? do you wake up one morning to a voicemail from Ronnie Dunn? or do their people phone your people?:
We’ve covered Brooks & Dunn a lot and everyone at our label has seen us do it so everyone knows we are fans. I dunno if someone put in a good word and thought they could trust us with it? I do know that with this Reboot project they wanted to focus on younger artists coming up to put a fresh take on things. So when we got the call, it was cool and they let us pick the song we wanted to. That track when you hear the original now just sounds like classic country but back then was a risk! That was rock with a blues rock riff and these country lyrics! I remember hearing that and thinking if LANCO were around in the 90’s that is what we would’ve sounded like. A multitude of influences so we thought it would be a cool track to be on but it’s still surreal people talk about it! I mean we were singing in a booth with Ronnie and Kix, just going back and forth on this song doing vocals at the same time, it was wild!
The whole show on the Wednesday just had something about it! When I had first started chatting to the guys, I literally was like “I thought you guys were amazing when I saw you at C2C but HOLY SHIT last night was something else!” The more artists we see play over here and as the genre continues to grow in popularity, it is evident that people have to bring their A Game – because why wouldn’t you anyway? But these are now at such a high level from whoever we see that you have to do something special to stand out and the 2 way interaction between stage and floor along with so much energy really delivered that. It is sort of magic, to see people’s excitement about visiting more of our country and seeing different things as we are typically guilty of taking things for granted ourselves. I did my best to warn them off the deep fried Mars Bar and Pork Scratching’s they had heard about (#Ew) plus we talked about different accents then we also exchanged notes on what they should check out while they are over here and some recommendations for me when I am in the States next month (I am already looking forward to Edley’s in Nashville and Alabama peaches, plus will definitely let you all know how my buffet experience in Pigeon Forge goes) so hopefully future trips will incorporate some new venues and cities too!