Last Wednesday night, I went to my first Lee Kernaghan concert. I’d seen the Wolfe Brothers and Christie Lamb previously – both on the This Crazy Life tour, and Christie also at the Deni Ute Muster. The show kicked off at 8pm with The Wolfe Brothers, Christie Lamb and newcomer, Chloe Styler as openers.
It’s obvious to see why The Wolfe Brothers were favourites on Australia’s Got Talent in 2012. Comprising of brothers Tom (bass and vocals) and Nick (guitar and vocals), honorary brother and lead guitarist, Brodie Rainbird and drummer, Casey Kostuik; they’ve released three albums: It’s On in 2013, Nothing But Trouble in 2014 and last year’s This Crazy Life. The Wolfe Brothers were nominated for four Golden Guitars in 2013. They won the New Oz Artist Award of the Year in 2014 and took out Favourite Group or Duo of the year in 2016.
Although they only sang a handful of songs, they know how to get the crowd pumped up and ready to go before Lee gets on stage. Not only are they world-class, seasoned performers, but they’re impressive live and their songs are very catchy AF. Singing This Crazy Life, One Beer at a Time and more, the crowd was digging it!
They soon welcomed Christie on stage – to a huge applause of the crowd! Clearly a favourite amongst the crowd, Christie wowed audiences with her new single, Bad Habit and Flamethrower from her latest album, Loaded and more. She won the New Oz Artist Award of the Year in 2015 and took home a Golden Guitar for CMAA New Talent of the Year the following year.
Then Chloe came on stage. With her talented friend, Riley beside her, she sang two songs – one co-written with Riley, whom she met earlier this year in Tamworth, about the permanency of a tattoo being a metaphor for love. She was a little more folk/bluesy kind of country, which was a nice counterbalance to the powerhouse Wolfe Brothers and Christie – both with huge, commanding voices and equal stage presence. Although you could spot her inexperience in commanding a large stage, she impressed the audience and will be one to watch in the country music scene.
After a short break, Lee hit the stage to the huge roar of the crowd. I’d never seen so many people dancing in their seats as I did that night. Lee played the guitar but also went to the piano twice during his set. He also gave out some merchandise to the most enthusiastic in the crowd. A screen with various different images, music videos, videos and photos of the crowd earlier in the day backed the band.
Christie, the Wolfe Brothers and guitarist Jonathan English, played behind Lee the night joining Lee at the front of the stage at various times during the night. There was a big friendly atmosphere between all of them – and you could tell that each of them were having an absolute ball – especially during She’s My Ute, Planet Country, Outback Club Reunion and the Jerry Lee Lewis classic, Great Balls of Fire! Another highlight was the touching moment to the men and women of the Anzac. It was obvious that the crowd adore him. I’ve never seen so many akubra hats (although they had to take them off during the sets) fill the sold-out venue. It was an electrifying night of killer tunes, and a great showcase into the different kinds of country music today.
Lee, who is celebrating 25 years since the release of his debut album, released his Boys From The Bush – the 25th Anniversary Album, featuring collaborations with some of the best in the business – including John Williamson, Troy-Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers, Adam Brand, Adam Harvey – just to name a few. The next single will be Damn Good Mates (originally cut by Tyler Farr as Damn Good Friends, but rewritten with permission with an Australian-twist) with the Wolfe Brothers.