Concert Reviews

Chase Rice Brings Big Show Appeal to a Small Club

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Mother Nature was keeping things hot and humid outside yesterday and Chase Rice was heating things up inside at Dusty Armadillo. Rice was performing on the first of his back-to-back shows at the Rootstown club and didn’t seem affected at all by the weather or his recent surgery that repaired his pectoral muscle he tore while shooting the video for “Eyes On You.”

The night kicked off with Louisiana native Ross Ellis, who will also open tonight’s (June 1) show at Dusty Armadillo, as well as another show with Rice on his Lambs & Lions Tour. The singer/songwriter performed some covers mixed in with his originals that includes “Home For The Weekend,” which was named a SiriusXM The Highway Find’s and was added to Spotify’s “New Boots” playlist.

Though Ellis performed a nice set, it was definitely Rice who everyone was there to see. The 31-year-old Rice had last visited the Dusty back in 2014, prior to the release of his major label debut, Ignite The Night.

As the anticipation grew from the nearly packed house, Rice’s band made their way to the stage and started out on the song “Lions” before he ever appeared. Instead, Rice began singing backstage, hidden from view, but as his voice came over the speakers the crowd erupted and he then made his way to the stage.

Rice, who wore his father’s work shirt for the Lambs & Lions Tour, including his stop at the House of Blues in Cleveland last fall, was dressed simply in black jeans and a black t-shirt…and of course, a Head Down Eyes Up hat. He worked the stage connecting not only with the crowd, but with his band who are given many opportunities during the show to show off their talents. Rice played off of the energy and the excitement of the night quickly built.

During the 14-song set, Rice covered covered some of his best material that included “How She Rolls,” “Gonna Wanna Tonight” and “Ride,” where he brought up a female fan from the crowd who was wearing a “Trump 2020” t-shirt. He introduced the song by saying that he had met the President a few days before and then called up the wearer of the shirt and told her to “do whatever you have to to get up here.”

Some of the other highlights included a “spirited” performance of “JD Showed Up,” which Rice stated was his favorite beverage when he last visited the club and still was. He also performed “Three Chords & The Truth” and explained when he was getting ready to write material for his latest album, Lambs & Lions, a friend had reminded him that country music was simple because it was just that. He took that advice and the song has become another of his hits.

As previously stated, Rice gives his band every moment to shine that he can during his shows. He shares the stage with them and during the song “Cruise” each member again had a chance to take the spotlight for a moment that included some great playing and a killer drum solo.

After almost 90-minutes onstage Rice closed out the set with what has to be his biggest hit, so far, and one of the reasons that Ignite The Night peaked at #1 on the country charts – “Ready Set Roll.” It took about two beats before the crowd knew it was next and voiced their approval with one of the biggest roars of the night.

It was great show and was even better to have Rice return to the small clubs where he cut his teeth when he was first starting out. His stage presence and ability to connect with the crowd really shines though in these intimate “Pub Shows” and it’s nice to know as his popularity continues to grow, he still remembers where he came from.

Set List
“Lions”
“Do It Like This”
“How She Rolls”
“50 Shades”
“JD Showed Up”
“On Tonight”
“Eyes On You”
“Three Chords & The Truth”
“Everybody We Know Does”
“Carolina Can”
“Gonna Wanna Tonight”
“Ride”
“Cruise” (Band Intros)
“Ready Set Roll”

Chase Rice at Dusty Armadillo (5.31.18) – Photos by Charlie Kriak

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