Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Swon Brothers - 5/22/15

So by now you have all learned that I am totally addicted to music and concerts.  But my habit/hobby is an expensive one so I do my best to not pay for as many concerts as possible by winning contests.  That being said, there are a handful of artists that are my total, absolute favorites and I don’t care what it costs, I will pay to see them.  An even smaller group I would call myself an uber fan; I have every album they make and I even join their fan clubs.  That list currently has 2 on it -- Josh Groban and Lady Antebellum.  Those 2 are about to get some company.

I saw The Swon Brothers late last year for K95.5’s Girls Night Out and again last month for 98.5 KVOO’s 5 Man Jam.  They are Zach and Colton Swon from Muskogee, OK which is just a short drive south of where I live.  They competed on The Voice Season 4 on Blake Shelton’s team and came in 3rd place.  I watched that season and voted my little heart out for them.  On the show they did a lot of Eagles and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers covers and those are 2 of my all-time favorite bands, which made me like them all the much more.

The 2 shows I saw them were acoustic and they made me want to see their full show but at the time the closest they were coming was Billy Bob’s Texas in Ft. Worth – 5 hours away.  My friend Amanda had gone to 5 Man Jam with me and we decided we would take a road trip to see them.  Our husbands even agreed to go with us.  Road trip and date night all wrapped up in one!

I have not been so excited to see a show in a while.  If you aren’t familiar with Billy Bob’s, they claim to be the “world’s largest honky-tonk.”  My husband and I love to dance – we even met in college at a country dance bar – so this was perfect.  We all went early so we could do a little dancing before the show.

This place was massive!  There were several bars, a pizza place, a BBQ restaurant and a large concert area.  There was also a dance floor with a live house band called Midnight Thunder.  They were really good.  Their guitar player even had a prosthetic hand he used to play.  That was amazing!  They played a good mix of country, blues and southern rock. The lead singer sounded a lot like Willie Nelson. 

You could also watch live bull riding at 9:00pm and 10:00pm.  It was $3 to get in but we heard the DJ say he had free tickets for a handful of people.  I’m sorry, did you say free?  I’m on it!  We raced up to the DJ booth and got our tickets.  He did it a second time for the 10:00 round and guess who was right there first in line? Yep!  We ended up seeing both rounds of bull riding for free.  Score!

What we didn’t realize was one of the local radio stations, 96.3 KSCS, was set up and registering people for a meet and greet.  We found them too late and the meet and greet was already happening.  Ugh!  But I did meet a fun guy from the station named Josh who gave me a t-shirt and bag.  Thanks Josh!

The show started at 10:30pm. The reserved seats were only about 1/3 full.  You were seated at long tables that were lined up perpendicular to the stage.  I did not like this at all!  Because of the way it was set up they did not want you standing so that everyone can see.  If you did stand up you were politely asked by someone to sit down.  That is the worst thing you can do to me – make me sit down during a concert!  I am a Zumba© Instructor.  I don’t sit down normally when music is playing and especially not at a concert!

The Swon Brothers gave their all up on stage.  They sounded great.  I really love how their voices blend.  The whole band played well and really filled up the whole place without being too overpowering.  I really enjoyed watching Jeff Coleman on guitar.  He seemed to be having a great time on stage.  He is from Tulsa so we had to give our hometown boy a little extra love.

The crowd was a little subdued which I believe is a result of having to sit down.  The whole band was giving us so much energy and I felt bad that we couldn’t give them that same energy back.   But you better believe I screamed my little heart out.  As a matter of fact, I can barely talk today because of my screaming. 

They started out the night singing some songs from their self-titled album including “What I’m Thinking About,” “Songs That Said It All” (I love this one), “95,” “Pretty Beautiful” (Amanda’s favorite) and “Pray For You.”  Colton mentioned before “Pray for You” that it is a song about something they still believe in - prayer.  It’s nice to hear that.

One of the most popular songs that they covered on The Voice was Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishin’ in the Dark.”  Love that song and they do a great version of it.  At this point in the show Colton wanted to find someone in the audience to sing along with him.  He found a girl in the front and asked her if she knew the song.  She said yes and they started it back up.  After the words “fishin’ in the dark” she stopped singing.  He stopped and said “I thought you said you knew the song.”  She said “I knew the fishin’ in the dark part.”  Too funny!  They tried again and then finished the song.

After that they asked us if they could do a new song and test it out on us.  It was called “Soakin Up the Sunshine."  I liked it. It’s exciting to hear they are working on a new album. 

At this part of the show, most of band goes away and they do a medley of pop songs with Seth Costner on guitar and Zach on drums.  I talked about Seth Costner in my KVOO 5 Man Jam blog.  Go check it out and remember that name!  He’s crazy talented and will be putting out his own EP this summer.  I’ll be letting you all know when it is out!

Seth started off the friendly competition of how to win the ladies with pop songs with a cover of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”  Love his falsetto!  Then Zach comes back to the guitar and did his lady-killer version of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.”  Colton went old school and followed with his version of The Temptations’ “My Girl.”  This is the part of the show that I had seen before and I love it!  It’s fun to see them step out of their box and do something a little different.

They played several covers including Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Eagles’ “Life In the Fast Lane,” Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” and The Doobie Brothers’ “Listen to the Music.”  Classic rock has a special place in my heart and it was killing me to sit there and not be dancing around to these amazing songs.

Zach Swon is the lead vocalist on most of the songs and not only can he belt out “Ain’t No Sunshine” but he can play the guitar pretty darn good too!  Here’s a little snippet for your enjoyment. 

They ended the show with their hit “Later On.”  This happens to be my favorite song of theirs.  I remember hearing it on the radio for a long time, loving it and not knowing who it was.  Once I found out who it was, I was hooked.  At this point in the show, I was tired of sitting.  I wanted to be up and dancing.  So I got up on my feet and belted out that song as if I was the only one there!  FYI – it’s also a perfect song to 2-step to.  It’s my new request when we go out dancing.  I also love the banjo in that song.  Ok, I just really like the song!

For their encore they sang “Long Time” by Boston and then my favorite cover “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  You can’t help but dance to that one!  It was the perfect way to end the night.

They definitely put on a great show!  Last week they announced they are going to be playing The Joint at Hard Rock Casino Tulsa on July 18th.  Go get tickets for this show or any show that is near you.  You will not regret it.  Amanda and I have front row tickets for the Tulsa show and you better believe we will not be sitting for that one! 

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