Check out these critiques of recent performances, including Brantley Gilbert kicking off his tour in Reading, Pa.; Kurt Vile & the Violators shaking up Florida’s North Beach; Garth Brooks delivering the goods in Memphis; Tommy Emmanuel displaying his guitar expertise in Glasgow; and Red Hot Chili Peppers rockin’ Motown.
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Clarkston, Mich.
September 24, 2016
Brantley Gilbert @ Santander Arena in Reading, Pa., Feb. 2. – “At times, most notably on a brief instrumental honky tonk interlude that allowed the five musicians backing Gilbert to show off their chops, the music was heavily country. But for much of the rest of the show, it was an amalgam of styles Gilbert grew up listening to, incorporating crunchy guitars, drum machines, even some rapped verses.” – Jon Fassnacht / Reading Eagle
Kurt Vile & The Violators @ North Beach Band Shell in Miami Beach, Fla., Feb. 2 – “Vile broke tradition, going wild on effects peddles with his acoustic guitar, his long curly hair hanging over his face as if he were working a metal axe.” – Kat Bein / Miami New Times
ASCAP Country Music Awards, Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tenn.
October 31, 2016
Garth Brooks @ FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 2 – “Throughout the evening, Brooks’ sense of self-deprecation was sharp as ever. Pointing to his guitar, he joked ‘Most of the time it's not even on ... I use it to hide my gut. But they do let me turn it on for one special song,’ he said strumming the first few notes of ‘Friends in Low Places.’” – Bob Mehr / The Commercial Appeal
Tommy Emmanuel @ Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland, Jan. 23 – “Tommy Emmanuel is a showman; he plays blues, rockabilly and just about every other popular guitar style you could think of at break-neck speed, with pin-point accuracy, and with a flair and awareness of showmanship that would put P. T. Barnum to shame.” – Neil McFadyen / Folk Radio U.K.
Red Hot Chili Peppers @ Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich., Feb. 2 – “Smith, Flea and Klinghoffer played in their own kind of lockstep, seemingly disparate parts swirling around each other without ever sacrifcing the songs’ taut grooves.” – Gary Graff / The Oakland Press