Story and Photos: Spencer Fleming
If you've been following Stories from the Crowd for a while, you've probably noticed most of our coverage focuses on rock and metal with a few folk and alt-country shows peppered in. Well in 2023 we're switching it up! With most of our journalists based in the Midwest, the country scene is crazy busy. For me personally, pop-punk, rock, and metal will always be my first priority, but I'm excited to venture into new spaces and mingle with different crowds. So buckle up y'all, this year is going to be wild!
The Bourbon was shaking Saturday (1/21) as young guns Chase Matthew and Kidd G rolled through Lincoln. The self-described "country rappers" had no problem packing the house, bringing some much needed heat to this frigid Nebraska evening. Rounding out the tour package was another young singer-songwriter Avery Anna.
Avery opened the night with some upbeat pop-country tunes garnering smiles from the front row and even a few sing-along moments. Avery mentioned that during the height of the pandemic she was attending school online but found it hard to engage through Zoom. She quickly became distracted and began diverting her attention to singing and writing songs. One day while singing in her bathtub she put a video on TikTok which garnered over 10 million views in span of a few months. She has since signed a record contract and less than a year later finds herself touring with Chase and Kidd. Talk about a whirlwind journey! During Avery's last song she had the whole room singing along so she's clearly making some waves in the country scene. You can check out more from Avery HERE.
Up next was Kidd G. My buddy Joe from The Review Junkie caught Kidd at a festival last summer and said the crowd went absolutely nuts for his set. Joe tends to lean heavily into pop and R&B so I was a bit skeptical, but I wanted to keep an open mind. To be honest, when I heard both Chase and Kidd described as "country rappers" I was a little hesitant going into this show. When I hear more pop than country in a pop-country song it can quickly be a turn-off. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Kidd's backing band walk on stage. With guitars in hand, they quickly put my fears at ease.
All credit to Joe, he was absolutely right. Kidd G and his band tore the house down! From the opening song to the last note, they never let the energy die. With shredding guitars, crushing drums, and upbeat melodies Kidd's songs are really more pop-rock than anything. There was only one song in particular that featured a more "rap" flow, but even then, there wasn't an abundance of loud bass or highly produced backing tracks that you would except from a hip-hop show. So the whole "country rap" label seems a bit misleading honestly. For me it was misleading in the best way possible. I had an absolute blast rocking out with Kidd G and his band. If you get the chance to catch to catch these guys you absolutely should. A big thanks to Kidd G for starting our year on a high note.
Last but not least was Chase Matthew. By now the house was packed and the first few rows were sweltering. Bourbon staff did their best to keep everyone comfortable, handing out waters and checking to make sure no one fainted. As the lights went down the crowd cheered in anticipation. Chase and his band hit the stage ready to rock. By the band's outfits you would've thought you were at a metalcore show. All back band shirts with spiked up hair and skinny jeans, at a country show? The drummer even had a Jinjer shirt! Like what??? Nevertheless, the hootenanny was in full swing as Chase grabbed the mic stand and broke into his first song "Raise A Holler". Throughout the night that's exactly what they did. From front to back the crowd was ready to party.
Chase's songs touched on several familiar topics like women, trucks, and heartbreak. At one point he polled the crowd on which truck was best. Chevy won out by a mile. What's the slogan again? Heartbeat of America? I guess that rings true even more here in the heartland.
Overall it was a great showing from all three acts, especially considering how young they are. Or maybe I'm just getting old! All I know is this was a great show to kick off what will hopefully be our best year yet. Thanks for reading!
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