What else can I say. I drove nearly 700 miles from my home in Portland, Oregon, for this show…and it DID NOT disappoint!
Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of spending nearly 7+ hours with 15,000 of my newest, closest friends in Stockton, California. While it may have been nearly 95 degrees for this outside show, it didn’t matter. To see acts including Maggie Rose, Natalie Stovall and the Drive, Chuck Wicks, Josh Thompson, Love and Theft, Steve Holy and Keith Anderson, no weather (neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night) could have kept me from having an incredible afternoon.
Credit: Nikki Thomas. We’re having a blast at LAC 2014. Ignore the gum that apparently was about to fall out of my mouth.
First and foremost, I have KAT COUNTRY 103 to thank for their 2014 Listener Appreciation Concert. This includes the staff, volunteers and everyone else who made the event happen. Concerts like this take months of hard work and dedication, and from what I saw, incidents were minimal and everyone had A LOT of fun!
OK. That’s enough of the introduction. Let’s get to the music!
First to take the stage was Maggie Rose.
I’ve seen her once before at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California, and was excited that KAT COUNTRY brought her to kick off the show. She definitely set the tempo for a “kick ass” afternoon. Songs such as “Mostly Bad”, “Better”, my wife’s personal favorite “I Ain’t Your Mama” and radio’s next big hit “Looking Back Now” filled the set list, which sadly was only a few songs due to the number of acts at the event. If you haven’t caught Maggie live, I suggest you pick up a ticket next time she’s in town. She won’t be an opener for long. She has headliner written all over her!
Next up was Natlie Stovall and the Drive.
I’ll admit, this was the act that I knew the least about going into the show, but I certainly left a HUGE fan. Let me introduce them to you. The band consists of Natalie Stovall (lead vocals, fiddle), Miguel Cancino (guitar), Zach Morse (bass), Joel Dormer (guitar, vocals) and James Bavendam (drums).
Anyways, I can’t say enough about this band to do justice. High energy doesn’t even begin to describe them. Awesome work on the guitar…the bass…the drums. Oh, and did I mention Natalie has a great voice and is an incredible fiddle player. This was demonstrated in their closing rendition of Charlie Daniels “Devil Went Down to Georgia”, one of the highlights of the entire afternoon.
OK. Stop reading my review for 10 seconds and visit their website, bookmark it, and come back to read the rest of the review.
Next up was Chuck Wicks.
What can I say about Chuck Wicks. I’ve been fan of his since his first hit “Stealing Cinderella” hit the radio back in 2007, and was very excited that the song made the set list. But then again, why wouldn’t it!
The crowd was also hanging on every note of “All I Ever Wanted” which kicked off the set as well as one of my personal favorites “Old School”. My wife was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Chuck bust out any of his moves from Dancing with the Stars, but she, and all of the women standing around me, were content with the opportunity to see his eyes when the sunglasses came off and was joined on stage with Keith Anderson.
Next up on this afternoon in Stockton was Josh Thompson (sporting a KAT COUNTRY temporary tattoo).
How can you not love a Josh Thompson show. Even with an abbreviated set list, he was able to pack in all of his hits as well as some new songs which will appear on his new album “Turn it Up”.
I’ve seen him twice before, both at small club shows at the Rodeo Club, but this was my first time in a larger venue. He didn’t disappoint. Songs such as “Beer on the Table”, “Way Out Here”, “Cold Beer with Your Name on It” and “Won’t Be Lonely Long” filled the set list and I can still hear the echo of the crowd singing every note, ringing in my ear today.
A great performance by a great artist (who by the way came out with Maggie Rose, Natalie Stovall and others to the after party following the show).
As we passed the halfway point of the afternoon, Love and Theft took the stage.
Love and Theft, featuring Stephen Barker Liles and Eric Gunderson, who both sing lead vocals and play guitar, is a band that I see EVERY TIME they come to town. This was my fourth time seeing them play, and they just get better with each and every performance.
The set list started off with the rocking “Runaway” and concluded with radio favorite “Angel Eyes”. In between, they talked to the audience and just had a good time. Oh yeah, they also played “If You Ever Get Lonely” and the crowd favorite “Let’s Get Drunk and Make Friends”. If you haven’t heard this one, look it up. It’s a fun song that the crowd really gets into every time! Those of us in the front row were having a good time to it and the actual drunks behind us seemed to relate (with hugs and kisses for everyone around them).
Next up was the act that I specifically came for: Steve Holy!
I’ve said this before, and I will say it again here: while he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, Steve Holy is one of the best male country artists today. Fact!
Not only does Steve Holy have the voice and the hits, he has a stage presence that is second to none. No one is able to build a rapport with the audience quite like him. While he spent much of time during his set interacting with the crowd, his rapport building, and love for the fans, was demonstrated with the dedication of his hit “Good Morning Beautiful” to a young, 6 year old girl named Paisley (named after Brad Paisley). What a great moment.
The set list featured other hits such as “Love Don’t Run”, “Hauled Off and Kissed Me”, and my personal favorite “Men Buy the Drinks (Girls Call the Shots)”. While we didn’t get to hear “Radio Up”, instead, we were treated to “Wrap Around”, which was co-written by Keith Anderson who joined Steve on stage for the song.
Following the set, I was able to catch up with Steve (along with Chevon and Christine of course) for a few minutes AND introduce him to my wife. Being my wedding anniversary, and knowing that “Good Morning Beautiful” was our wedding song, this was a great few moments and the highlight of the afternoon for us.
An all-around great guy (and performer), don’t miss Steve Holy when he comes to your town. You’ll leave a HUGE fan!
To end the afternoon was the one, and only, Keith Anderson.
Keith Anderson is not only a great performer, he’s an incredible songwriter. A quick Google search will bring up the songs that he has played a part in, either recording or writing, and it was great that we had a nice sample of them on this afternoon. As a country music fan, how could you not like songs such as “Pickin’ Wildflowers”, “XXL”, “I Still Miss You” and “Lost in This Moment”.
But besides the music, one thing that I really enjoyed (and respected) was how he seemed to come out and watch every act perform. He didn’t show up 30 minutes before his set and leave right away, like I know some artists do. The guy was out there supporting and enjoying each of the acts and even joined in on a few of them. We saw him taking photos with the other performers and just having a good time. That’s what I consider awesome!
Speaking of having fun….I think Maggie Rose and Natalie Stovall may have had the most fun of anyone when they weren’t performing. Definitely a couple of “Charlie’s Angels” with the water guns cooling off the crowd.
So that’s it. Not much else I can say other than that! What an incredible afternoon with 7 GREAT acts!
I have to thank KAT COUNTRY 103 for putting on this shindig! Pulling together a lineup from top to bottom that has no holes in it is difficult to do in any musical genre, but you succeeded and I can’t wait until next year’s show.
I also have to thank my wife who was able to secure tickets for us, for our anniversary, from 700 miles away. She knew that I can’t miss a show that features Steve Holy or Love and Theft, and I got to see both (and 5 other fantastic acts).
Yep! That’s me trying to look cool with my hand on the rail (thanks to Tim Cruz from KAT Country 103 for taking the picture).
*10 minutes with Steve Holy after the show (and “Good Morning Beautiful”)
*Natalie Stovall and the Drive’s fantastic version of “Devil Went Down to Georgia”
*Keith Anderson checking out all of the other performances (and joining in on a few)
*Love and Theft’s “Let’s Get Drunk and Make Friends” sing a long
*Chuck Wicks “Stealing Cinderella”
*Maggie Rose with the super soaker (with help from Natalie Stovall)
*Josh Thompson putting some “Beer on the Table”
Were you in Stockton for the show? Tell me about your experience and what you enjoyed the most in the comments below!