Nashville trio The Cadillac Three have managed to build themselves a solid fanbase here in the UK. With three albums under their belt – their latest Legacy entered the UK album chart at number 16 – the band is definitely on the rise and have hit the right notes with Country fans on this side of the pond. Already planning a headline UK tour for 2018, The Cadillac Three brought their Long Hair Don’t Care tour to the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London last night with Brothers Osborne as their support.
I’m going to admit before I get into the meat of this review that I’ve always liked The Cadillac Three but I’ve never loved them. That all changed last night. Arriving on stage at 9.15pm, The Cadillac Three played a storming, and relentless, set that was packed with energy and fantastic tunes. The set list for the evening was a combination of tracks from across their three albums and rarely for a gig, every single song hit the mark with the very appreciative and rowdy audience.
The set opened with Peace, Love & Dixie and within seconds the entire venue was rocking. The song is perhaps one of the best examples of how The Cadillac Three effortlessly straddle Southern rock and Country. Frontman Jaren Johnston plays guitar like a boss switching between intricate riffs and some serious axe grinding. He makes it look so easy and has the ability to command an audience with his incredible musicianship as well as his stellar vocals. There’s no doubt that he’s a true star and his charisma shone through, particularly when he interacted with the audience throughout the show.
The band played for around an hour and fifty minutes, packing 22 songs into their set. All of the songs you’d want to hear live from the band were included in the set such as the fast-paced Slide, the anthemic Bury Me in My Boots and more recent songs such as Dang If We Didn’t and American Slang. There were some gentler moments in the set such as the excellent Hank & Jesus and Runnin’ Red Lights, which Jaren performed solo.
Highlights across the set included the soulful Take Me to the Bottom, which showed off a different side of the band, the swagger-filled Long Hair Don’t Care and the rhythmic Back It Up. For the encore the band announced they were doing two more songs and asked the audience what they wanted to hear. Cadillacin’ was the overwhelming request so that’s exactly what the band performed before closing with their huge hit The South.
The staging for the show was inventive. I did wonder how just three people would be able to fill such a big stage and they did it impressively. Neil Mason was positioned at the back left of the stage on drums and Kelby Ray was at the back right with his variety of instruments. The backdrop was the well-known image of three skulls representing each of the band members and there was some effective lighting that illuminated the stage. The chemistry between the three band members was obvious too as they interacted with one another and soaked up the electric atmosphere.
The Cadillac Three is a band you need to see live to fully appreciated. I would maintain that I don’t think they’ve quite caught the energy of their live performance on record yet, although Legacy is the closest they’ve come. Last night’s show was full on, high energy and I found myself lost in the music on more than one occasion. The Cadillac Three are so incredibly tight as a band and they’ve really mastered the art of live performance. I thought the band was absolutely thrilling and I left the show feeling like I’d just seen something really, really special.
Set list: 1. Peace, Love & Dixie 2. Slide 3. Soundtrack to a Six Pack 4. Tennessee Mojo 5. Back It Up 6. American Slang 7. Hank & Jesus 8. Long Hair Don’t Care 9. Bury Me in My Boots 10. Drunk Like You 11. Graffiti 12. Running Red Lights 13. I’m Southern 14. I’m Rockin’ 15. Whiskey Soaked Redemption 16. Take Me to the Bottom 17. Tennessee 18. Dang If We Didn’t 19. White Lightning 20. Days of Gold 21. Cadillacin’ 22. The South Performance date: 14th November