Old Dominion – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Even when you have seen a band before (which in my case was a further 3 times in the past 12 months) there are the odd occasions where you get the feeling prior to a gig that it’s going to be a good night and I think that a lot of people felt that same something in the chilling early November air that gripped South West London on Sunday. From first trip over here playing the after show party during C2C at the old Brooklyn Bowl back in 2016 OD firmly established themselves as a big fan favourite over this side of the pond. These guys are just a really fun band to watch and bring a party atmosphere with plenty of songs that fans have fell in love with and are so infectious to sing along to.
This time last year Matthew, Brad, Trevor, Whit and Geoff were over here opening for Thomas Rhett before the band returned here for C2C in March but this time playing the main arena stage but now a sold out Sunday night show in the capital was next on the cards. This show was sold out a long time before the gig and tickets for many people were a lot harder to come by than a lot of sold out shows over here. In addition to this reputation of UK music fans being overly polite, courteous and overly attentive which does allow for artists to feel more open about trying new songs over here but when we are up for it, we love a party as much as you guys do in the States.
As far as the acts based in Nashville that I have seen come over to the UK or even that I saw during CMA Fest in Nashville, I think these guys have the most fun show! It’s just really natural and it ends up being a party with a predominantly up-tempo set with plenty of sing a long opportunities from opening up with “Song for Another Time” to an encore ending with “Snapback” there is an obvious reason why these guys really excite the UK fans. They cover all bases for me: they are a guitar band, they have some great lyrics in their songs, melodies with hooks that get stuck in your head and seem to allow everyone to think they are country enough without being too country.
These guys could have played all night and trust me we would have happily obliged to see it (so next time, definitely a London gig on a Friday or Saturday please) but the whole gig was superb with new favourite Eric Paslay opening up with an up-tempo acoustic set to get the crowds vocal chords warmed up before Walker Hayes on his second trip to the UK lifted the vibe and got the crowd ready for the main event. I think what makes Old Dominion more appealing to UK fans is that their “radio smashes” in the States are probably more transferable to the UK market in general as would be more relatable and radio friendly over here. Break Up With Him, Snapback, Hotel Key, No Such Thing as a Broken Heart and Song for Another Time are all great songs to sing along to and with the melodies they are the type of songs that can get the UK fans out of their “mythical shell” and be there for the party.
All in all it was the sort of night that makes Monday morning’s even harder but I suppose that is a reflection of how much fun it was. It was cool to hear a new song Smooth Sailing in their encore and when the guys do slow it down it just shows they are so much more than a party band – even if there aren’t many party bands that come close to these guys so we can’t wait to have them back over and for anyone in the US has not got round to seeing these guys I would certainly be asking Santa for tickets to see them on tour next year!
London, November 4th Setlist: Song for Another Time, Wrong Turns, Beer Can in a Truck Bed, Not Everything’s About You, Be With Me, Written in the Sand, Said Nobody, Hotel Key, Still Writing Songs About You, Stars in the City, No Such Thing as a Broken Heart, Crazy Beautiful Sexy, Make It Sweet, Can’t Get You, Save It for a Rainy Day(Kenny Chesney cover), New York at Night, Nowhere Fast, Break Up With Him, So You Go, Smooth Sailing, Snapback
The UK tour continues in Birmingham on November 8 then Glasgow for 2 nights on November 9 and 10 before a few US dates prior to Christmas (listed below) before Make It Sweet tour kicks off in 2019 with further details available at https://www.odmakeitsweet.com/ which is also where you can find links to stream or download their new single Make It Sweet!
St Augustine, FL 11/30
Winston-Salem, NC 12/01
Toledo, OH 12/06
Huntington, WV 12/07
Grand Rapids, MI 12/08
Bismarck, ND 12/13
Fargo, ND 12/14
Duluth, MN 12/15