For three hours [pullquote quote=”Are there any rednecks in New York?” credit=”Brantley Gilbert”]last night (March 14), Brantley Gilbert and Eric Church brought their blend of rock infused country to New York. The sold-out show at Hammerstein Ballroom included a slew of each artist’s most recent radio hits and older fan favorites.

Georgia-based Gilbert kicked off the night with the energetic “My Kinda Party.” A hit made famous by Jason Aldean‘s rendition, Gilbert wrote the track for his 2009 album, Modern Day Prodigal Son.

Gilbert screamed, “Let’s raise some hell!” — a sentiment Church later shared with the crowd. With a heart-pounding drum beat, the familiar “Country Must Be Country Wide” soon followed.

“I wrote this next song with a good friend of mine, Colt Ford,” Gilbert said as he introduced “Dirt Road Anthem.” With spot-on vocals and perfected rap interludes, Gilbert had the room singing along word for word.

“New York hell, you all know how to throw it down over here. I’m impressed,” he added.

While current single “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” and “My Kind of Crazy” slowed down the night, things picked right back up with the intensity of “Kick It In the Sticks.” “Are there any rednecks in New York?” Gilbert asked. With impressive guitar riffs and Gilbert’s rugged vocals, the track was an unforgettable end to his set.

Brantley Gilbert in New York (photo: Annie Reuter)

Brantley Gilbert in New York (Photo: Annie Reuter)

Minutes before 9pm, Eric Church took the stage. With a red Solo cup attached to his mic stand, he immediately let the room know it would be a rowdy night with plenty of Jack Daniels. Church began his set with the fitting “Country Music Jesus,” and with onstage bursts of flames and canon fire, he captivated.

Hit singles “Guys Like Me” and “Hell On the Heart” followed suit and needed no introduction.

“Welcome to the Blood, Sweat and Beers sold-out show in New York City!” Church said as he greeted the room for the first time. “We’ll drink, we’ll sing and we’ll see how the show goes.”

And he wasn’t lying. Throughout his set, Church ran across the stage, saluted the crowd with the tip of his hat and even autographed two fans’ boots.

With twangy banjo accompaniment “How ‘Bout You” had fans clapping along and chanting “U.S.A.” Poignant ballad “Carolina” showcased Church’s more sensitive side, while the Americana-fused “Creepin'” satisfied with a heavy bass beat and deep vocals.

“This whole thing started for us six or seven years ago with Sinners Like Me. I’m going to take you back to where it all started,” Church said. Taking the stage solo with his acoustic guitar, Church performed “Two Pink Lines,” “Sinners Like Me” and “Love Your Love the Most.”

While the stripped-down performance continued to showcase his ability to switch gears effortlessly, he livened things right back up with bar rocker “Drink In My Hand” and the soulful “Homeboy.” Minutes later the room was engulfed in smoke for the feel-good “Smoke A Little Smoke.”

[pullquote quote=”When I sing this song I’m 17-years-old again. That’s why I love music. You’re right back in that car and right back with that girl again.” credit=”Eric Church”]

“Thank you for having us here,” Church said as the night came to an end and he introduced his last song, “Springsteen.”

“I’ve never been more excited to sing a song every night. When I sing this song I’m 17-years-old again. That’s why I love music. You’re right back in that car and right back with that girl again.”


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