If country music had to be defined by a pattern, it definitely would be plaid.
At least it was at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Thursday night where a sea of tartan button up shirts herded en masse to see Academy of Country Music’s vocal duo of the year, Florida Georgia Line.
Just as varied the colours that weave together to create the country uniform staple, the music was just as crossed up — don’t let the boots and cowboy hats in the crowd fool you.
Chris Lane kicked off the night in his genre of choice before slipping into a mash up of Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice, Terror Squad’s Lean Back, Drake’s Started From the Bottom, TLC Scrubs and Outkast’s hit Ms. Jackson. The crowd ate it up.
This was followed by Dallas Smith, the former frontman for the Canadian rock band Default. He played tunes off his country record Jumped Right In including the energetic Tipping Point, written by Florida Georgia Line, and his latest release Slow Rollin’. He also mixed things up going acoustic to sing the huge Default song Wasting My Time and then belting out Lorde’s Royals with his own twist.
By the time Florida Georgia Line hit the stage, the sound was jacked even louder sending people jumping out of their seats for Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley.
“It’s our responsibility to throw the biggest party of the year right? I hope you are all ready. B.K. and myself have a very important question to ask you guys, where are my party people?” said Hubbard before breaking into the lyrics for Party People.
They cut right to the chase singing about cold beer, tequila and a double of jack when they slipped behind their guitars for Tip It Back. The crowd, pumped up from the two shots of Florida Georgia Line hits, joined in for a sing-along on Round Here with the lyrics appearing on license plates on the giant screens behind the brightly lit stage. The duo thanked the fans for making it their third No.1 song in Canada before Hubbard grabbed a bottle of Fireball whiskey and took a big swig.
“We have to have the biggest party this city has ever seen and I have to warn you, if we ask our fans to sing they might blow the damn roof off the building,” he said to the sold-out crowd.
Having a crazy ride the past two years toppling a 69-year Billboard record as the longest-running No. 1 spot on the charts with Cruise, Florida Georgia Line reminded the crowd to take nothing for granted as they broke into Here’s To The Good Times.
Penticton came suited and booted for a night of just that and Florida Georgia Line pulled them into their hybrid life of rock, pop, country and even rap music. It was fitting the song booming through the speakers preceding the pair hitting the stage was Imagine Dragons Radioactive with the lyrics, “welcome to the new age.” Well, welcome to the new age of country and Florida Georgia Line are the blingy belt buckled, hip gyrating, chart-topping leaders.