Bowery Ballroom, a downtown venue in New York City was the quintessential spot for artists like Donovan Woods and Ruston Kelly on the Brightly Burst Tour. The dark spacious room gives you that vibe you can only get in New York City, where the list of all of the recesses with interesting events happen is never-ending. Early on the venue was filled with the excitement and energy that already enveloped the place. These attendees may not be your typical country fan crowd, but definitely repeat listeners to the artists playing tonight.
Donovan Woods came out right away with his dry sense of humor, telling the crowd to go ahead and start drafting that text to their exes, and talking about how his fans are “Caucasian fellows with their beers up singing”. He opened with one of our personal favorites, “It’ll Work Itself Out” which is how I discovered him. The crowd was eerily silent. You couldn’t help but be mesmerized by his voice and this song. It touches you so deeply, and simply puts you at ease. He charmed the crowd with his sense of humor saying, “Well, we’re gonna do the second song now,” in the most sarcastic way. This Canadian knows how to work a crowd with his music and with his banter. It was so interesting how his songs are so emotional, and then as soon as that’s over, he would come straight at you with the humor. “Our Friend Bobby” was next, combining the story of two of his friends into one person, saying his friends are the type of people who get arrested for stealing things from construction sites. “Another Way” was next, in which he told the story of watching people set up a wedding in Michigan, followed by the ever-popular “Portland, Maine” which was cut by Tim McGraw. Something about this song just has the coolest notes and is so soothing; you can feel the wrought emotion, and the steel guitar just completes the track perfectly.
Ruston Kelly took the stage next and picked up the energy a bit with “Cover My Tracks”, that has a bit more indie-rock sound. He talks about writing that in rehab, and, “looking out and seeing so many sing that with me is one of the most surreal and special things ever.” His harmonica just sets the whole mood perfectly and is the ideal complement to his tunes. “Mockingbird” and “Jericho” were two of our favorites of his set.
The Brightly Burst Tour heads to Virginia, Ohio, and Illinois this week. For tickets and more information head to https://www.rustonkelly.com/
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