If there’s one star who’s getting a lot of buzz right now it’s Luke Combs. Since his breakthrough hit Hurricane in 2017, Combs has quickly garnered international attention. His debut album This One’s For You was warmly received by critics and fans, and his subsequent singles When It Rains It Pours and One Number Away have set the charts on fire. Before his C2C: Country to Country debut, Combs has already announced that he’ll be back later in the year to perform his own headline tour.
Combs was a real hit at the CMA Songwriters Series on Thursday night so word had spread ahead of his performance tonight. The seats filled up ahead of Cmbs arriving on stage and when he did, the arena was almost full. He opened his set with Out There, the first track on This One’s For You. With a rockier feel than the performers we’ve seen so far, the volume was loud and Combs’ gritty voice soared through the song’s melody.
Clutching a blue cup, containing whiskey and Diet Coke which he rarely put down, Combs took the audience through selections from his debut album along with some new songs he’s been working on earlier this year. For me Honky Tonk Highway was one of the highlights of the set as it embraced a more traditional Country sound that I think Combs should further explore on his next record.
The hits were present – When It Rains It Pours got a huge reaction as did current single One Number Away. Of the new songs Beer Never Broke My Heart didn’t sound a million miles away from the sound of his debut album and Moonshine, celebrating the joys of potent homemade brew, went down well.
A cover of Eagles’ hit Take It Easy led into band introductions and Combs allowed each member of his band to shine for a brief moment. For his closing song, Combs performed his breakthrough hit Hurricane, which the crowd help him sing. It’s definitely one of his best tracks and it’s a good showcase of what he can do with the right material.
I went into Combs a little sceptical. I don’t love his album as I feel it’s fairly samey in places and his voice suggests he’s capable of much more. He gave a solid performance on the Main Stage but for me he still isn’t connecting. Obviously I’m in the minority as the majority of the audience loved it but I’m not a convert yet. I will however be eager to hear more of his new material when it arrives this year.
Set list: 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 introduction 8. Moonshine 9. Hurricane Performance date: 10th March 2018