Headliner: Chase Rice
Support Acts: Madison Kozak
Venue: Gorilla, Manchester
Date: January 15th 2020
Madison Kozak, born in Ontario, Canada, was just ten years old when she performed at the Havelock Country Jamboree and won the singing contest! It was following that performance that she realised her dream was to become a country singer! From a young age she has been raised on artists such as Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash thanks to her dads love for country music. Everything the rising star knows and loves about country music is because of the precious time she spent with her dad as a child playing local shows as well as learning how to play guitar. Its safe to say her parents were supportive of her dream, especially when you learn that at age fourteen she convinced them to move to Nashville. It was during her time as a student at Belmont University that she realised she didn’t just want to perform country music, she wanted to share her story by writing music too.
She is currently supporting Chase Rice on his ‘Pint of Anything Tour’ across the UK and on 15th January 2020 she performed for the first time in Manchester. I was quite distracted at the start of the set with trying to get a drink from the bar – but I know she opened the set with a track called Little Bit Of You followed by a medley of I wanna dance with somebody. I’ll admit the first song is the only one that didn’t captivate me – the rest of her set however had me on the edge of my seat. She spoke about how she swore she would never write a love song but since finding ‘her person’ it’s all she writes, the second song she performed Click is a song for ‘your person’ aw! On the other hand, before the ‘Click man’ there was a bad boy who’s name she said was Kyle – he was the bad boy – she told us that story with her third song of the set called phases – a song about not knowing whether they’re coming or going (PS: This song is about as real as it gets). Then came a song she wrote for her father one year when she was a broke student, it’s was also her debut single – First Last Name, it’s safe to say I had goosebumps, butterflies and a lump in my throat during this performance, it was so raw and beautiful – I was completely mesmerised. Click, Phases and First Last Name have been on repeat in my head ever since! She has a bright future ahead of her!
Check Madison out on the social links above and if you get the opportunity to catch her performing live I would highly recommend you take it!
With the lights dimmed, Gorilla in Manchester was finally ready for North Carolina native, Chase Rice. At 600 capacity I believe Gorilla is the biggest venue that Chase has ever played in Manchester – and the show was sold out! To me those statistics alone prove that Chase Rice is becoming fairly popular in my city! The cheers when the music began only added to my believes. His band members appeared, the first couple of lines from Lions could be heard, a quote from the Lords Prayer. The crowd cheered but Rice was no where to be seen – his vocals however still filled the room. When the song reached the chorus that’s when Chase took to the stage. He went for a look that he has become known for; a t-shirt, some jeans and a hat with his brand printed on the front of it – but his presence alone was enough to send the crowd wild. Having seen Chase alone on a few occasions I was eager to experience a full band performance. Lions was the perfect mix of country and rock – as well as the first opportunity we got as an audience to see the passion and talent of his band-mates. It became clear very quickly why Jeremy Roberson had been branded as 2019 drummer of the year for a american music magazine. Each band member, including Rice, performed with such high energy but perhaps the one that stood out more, aside from Chase – was Marcelo – the bass player, his energy as well as his smile were contagious.
We Do It Like This and Jack Daniels Showed Up are the two songs that followed. Jack Daniels Showed Up on gave Chase the opportunity to discuss his choice of drink – Jack Daniels, as well as how he believes that the drink should get some credit for some of his songs! He then announced his upcoming album titled the album – part one – will be released in the next couple of weeks, before explaining the song that followed had not made the album but that he loved playing it! The song titled The City, a song which is simply about going to the city – whatever city that may be, even though the song describes Nashville, oh what a great city!
During his set Chase was constantly sharing stories, ones which made it easy for the audience to relate to his music. Rice always comments on how the audience is so different in the UK compared to back home – and how he loves to spend time here! Due to his love for the UK – and the fans love for him, its no surprise he played a song inspired by one night in Ireland during his set – 25 Wexford St. I’ve been walking around work singing this on repeat so I guess its safe to assume its catchy, I’ve also downloaded it on my apple music – you should too!
Gonna Wanna Tonight, On Tonight and Unforgettable all had the crowd singing along, proving to Chase just how much we love his music over here. Rice discussed how they rarely play Unforgettable but the way they performed that track was what I would describe as perfect – it will always be one of my favourite tracks! Normally standing at barrier I don’t usually get to see the full extent of crowd interaction, but on this occasion I took a seat at the back and it was incredible to see the level of interaction Chase had with the crowd. Lonely If You Are was the next track Chase performed – it is also his most recent single. I remember being so excited when he started discussing the story behind the next song, explaining how it was the follow up to his first number one. As soon as he started singing this it became clear it was a fan favourite by their reaction.
Having moved to Nashville in 2010 Rice had a dream of writing music, similar to that of his opening act, and there was one quote he heard that became the focus of his career. It gives reference to what Harlan Howard believes country music is – Three Chords And The Truth. Personally, and I have felt this way every single time I have had the pleasure of seeing Chase live, it focuses on his personal feelings about country music too. I could watch him sing that one song live over and over because the amount of passion and emotion he puts into it is incredible.
Next came a song – as well as hilarious guest interaction, which at previous shows as split the audience in half in terms of their opinions. I honestly believe that every artist needs a song like Ride, one that has mixed reactions – because regardless of their thoughts it catches their attention. Chase invited a lady up on stage who was attending his show with her husband of forty years (kudos to the couple). He was quick to make sure she was comfortable – and just as quick to joke around with her and her husband which had the majority of the crowd giggling – including the lady on the stage. Its safe to say that things got a little hot in Gorilla after that.
Following the heat of the previous track, Chase decided it was take a journey back to where it all began. His band members took a break from the stage for a few songs and he was left centre stage with his guitar in hand. I love when artists mix it up like this as acoustic sets always give the show a personal touch, a greater insight to the person behind the songs. Chase did just that by singing one of his personal all time favourite tracks – Carolina Can is simply a song about where he was raised. Its a reminder that no matter how crazy life gets to always remember the place you came from and where it all began. Every time I hear this song I just close my eyes and let the lyrics sink in, if you need a track to remind you of everything you have to be thankful for – listen to Carolina Can.
Before inviting the band back on the stage he sang two other songs; Best Night Ever and Jack Daniels and Jesus. The first one is a new song about a night on his farm, the second one is one of his personal favourites too (and is my all time favourite). I feel both these show the range of his talent, both lyrically and musically. I’m not sure if Best Night Ever will be on his upcoming record but a girl can dream, but for now I’ve got a live recording!! In my opinion the highlight of the show was his performance of Jack Daniels and Jesus, I will admit though that I’m biased when it comes to that song with it being my personal favourite, but its just so incredible to watch it live.
During Eyes on You he recorded the crowd singing the chorus telling the audience he was going to show everybody back home because he loves the UK crowds. Following that he sang a song he wrote, but Florida Georgia Line cut – Cruise – which got everybody in the crowd singing along once again. This track was his first number one as a song writer!
The end of the set consisted of his introducing all members of his band, letting them pick a song and perform a mixture of the songs as a medley; it featured songs by artists such as Blink 182, Lynyrd Skynyrd and even Neil Diamond. I feel this little medley showcased the range of talent that not only Chase has but his whole band too! Following that they performed one final song, another fan favourite which had them swaying from side to side, singing along and dancing – Ready Set Roll.
Overall the set was filled with energy, passion, stories as well as wonderful interaction between every member of the band anc members of the audience. Every time I see a Chase show they seem to just get bigger and better every time, it has me excited for his next UK tour – I may even catch a show in the US during my trip in March. For those lucky enough to be in the US all the time, you’ll be happy to know that he is supporting Brantley Gilbert on his upcoming tour, so get your tickets now! For Chase fans all around the world remember that the new album we have all been waiting for titled the album – part one, will be out in a couple of weeks. Be sure to check out my blog within a couple days of its release for a review!
In the mean time be sure to check Chase Rice out on his social links above, give him a follow and download his music. If you need any recommendations for songs to listen too – comment below!