Rascal Flatts at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Rascall Flatts hit the Shepherd’s Bush Empire with their well-established brand of groovy, electric, country rock. Vocalist Gary LeVox celebrated his 43rd birthday on stage and had the audience eating from the palm of his hand. These veterans clearly know what they’re doing.
Rascal Flatts’ country rock sound was crisp and clear, it held up throughout the performance. There was some nice variation amongst that, with elements of other genres like blues and soul spliced intermittently into different songs, keeping things interesting and demonstrating their range of tones.
The band has been rocking since 1999 and the experience shows, as they performed without fault. In that time vocalist Gary LeVox has obviously learnt to work a crowd. There was a lot of good interaction during the set, from banter to getting the whole hall singing. They didn’t need to be asked twice: not only did the audience sing him happy birthday, they also sang along to most of Bless the Broken Road. Rascal Flatts had everyone worked up the whole way through the gig and it was quite a sight.
There was a veritable cascade of cheesy love songs, performed one after the other, and within that niche the band performed a range of sounds from bounce to ballad. Rascal Flattas have obviously put a lot of time into that particular subject, but it seemed a little repetitive after a while. Thankfully, they broke onto some other ground, with the clever satirical lyrics of Backwards and the anthemic feel of Me and My Gang switching up the atmosphere of the show and taking the audience into another mental space.
While they did change it up a bit, the set list felt predictable at times, with the energy of Why Wait transitioning into the slow ballad sound of I’m Moving On. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it falls a little on the formulaic side.
If you don’t like hearing near constant harping about love, this was not the show for you, as it was sugar-coated sap for the most part. The gig could have used a bit more variety or simply better balance between the love treadmill and their other tracks. However it was performed without fault and the crowd ate it up, thoroughly enjoying the whole night. What more could you want?
Photos: Helen Parish
For further information and future events visit Rascal Flatts’s website here.
Watch the video for Why Wait here: