Dylan Schneider was first bitten by the country music bug aged 14, when he was invited to perform on stage alongside Brett Eldredge before posting cover videos to YouTube. Since then he’s released two EPs – both of which have reached the top 20 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart – and has just sent his first single to US country radio. He’s rapidly becoming one of the US country scene’s rising stars, and last night he made his UK festival debut at Nashville Meets London in Canary Wharf.
Schneider walked out on stage carrying his guitar and a beer before he and his band launched into No Problem, his most recent US single. The live version had a much rockier feel than the record, bringing out the funky bassline and Schneider’s smooth, soulful vocals. When he finished the song the crowd roared their approval and it was clear he was blown away by their positive reaction.
Throughout the performance Schneider mixed his original material with a few covers, including a rock-influenced spin on Florida Georgia Line’s Cruise and a slowed-down version of My Kinda Party by Jason Aldean, where he showed off his impressive vocal runs. However, the standout of the latter was Schneider’s take on Sam Hunt’s Body Like A Back Road, which he performed acoustically. It gave the song a more traditional feel and highlighted the drawl in his voice, and I liked the different take on the track. The song was the best of a three-song acoustic section, which also included the romantic Wannabe and the upbeat, rapid-fire Rockstar.
However, the original material was where Schneider really thrived. From the midtempo You Heard Wrong and the pop-influenced How Bad Can One Kiss Hurt to the laid-back Gimme A Red Light, which showed off the power and control in his voice, it’s clear he’s got a great ear for a turn of phrase and knows exactly how to create a party mood. The crowd were singing along for the whole performance and Schneider frequently asked them to cheer and clap, as well as raising a glass to them on several occasions, shaking audience members’ hands and even inviting one young fan up on stage.
After a rousing rendition of Garth Brooks’ classic Friends In Low Places, Schneider closed his set with Two Black X’s. For me it summed up everything about his performance and his musical style – a good blend of pop and rock aspects, showing off the soulful side and husky tone to his voice, and with a fun playful vibe. Before he left the stage, Schneider said it had been ‘the best show of my life’ and promised ‘I’ll never forget this’. Judging by the crowd chanting his name throughout, I don’t think many people in the audience will either.
Overall Dylan Schneider got the Nashville Meets London crowd in a party mood and kept the energy high throughout. His show had a great mix of pop and rock styling as well as country influences, particularly in his lyrics, and his enthusiasm was infectious. He’s already promised to come back to the UK soon, and based on this performance I hope it won’t be too long before he does.
Set list: 1. No Problem 2. You Heard Wrong 3. Cruise 4. How Bad Can One Kiss Hurt 5. Gimme A Red Light 6. My Kinda Party 7. Wannabe 8. Rockstar 9. Body Like A Back Road 10. How Does It Sound 11. Friends In Low Places 12. Two Black X’s Performance date: 28th July 2018