LANCO brought their full first album with them to New York City
On Thursday, November 29th, LANCO brought their Hallelujah Nights Tour to Irving Plaza, in the heart of New York City’s Union Square for a livestreamed event. Throughout the performance, Brandon Lancaster and company (LANCO-get it?) proved why they are a group that country fans are watching like hawks.
Two years into their Jay Joyce-spearheaded record deal with Artista Nashville/Sony Music Nashville, the band finally released their first album, Hallelujah Nights, earlier this year. The LP became a much-anticipated hit after the explosive success of the band’s 2017 single, “Greatest Love Story.” It was only the band’s second single.
The band played surprisingly few covers, as they managed to draw out the 11 track album with longer arrangements for the live performance. These served to showcase an obvious brotherhood and love for bathing in the energy of the crowd. The third-to-last song on the night’s setlist, “Troublemaker,” whipped the crowd up into a particular frenzy. It truly demonstrated that Lancaster’s charm will take him far.
Another aspect to Lancaster’s likeability is his genuine love for the people who come to see LANCO. To kick off the last third of the show, the band headed into the middle of the crowd. Ordinarily an easy feat, Irving Plaza is a general admission venue that was all mosh pit. Still, the crowd parted for the crew so they could get dead center and play some iconic country. I saw something I never thought I’d see in this city: New Yorkers singing along to John Michael Montgomery’s iconic tongue twister, “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident.”
Personally, I am not a fan of smaller, general admission venues such as Irving Plaza. When rooms like that get filled to capacity, the sound becomes distorted — almost as if heard through tin foil — and the vocals indistinguishable. It becomes all floor vibration and little music. At least, this is my experience. Pull a mosh pit revaler aside, they may have a different feeling. I would love to hear LANCO at a venue that did not warble sound into a black hole.
There is no denying that Brandon Lancaster is as authentic and fan-loving a frontman as they come. Perhaps as time goes on, he’ll gain a similar reputation for his authenticity and energy as the one held by a certain mega-star from the nineties (whose initials are GB).
Watching a LANCO show at this stage in their career is watching the birth of the next great country band. I couldn’t help but think of Little Big Town and Lady A all night — where did they start? Where did they play when they were only one album deep and still finding their sound?
Indeed, LANCO is a group still defining themselves. I doubt their next album will sound much like Hallelujah Nights, and will hopefully have more distinctive arrangements. It is not often a signature sound — an identity — can be found on a freshman album. That usually comes with the sophomore record — once the group has toured as a headliner, found what works, and figured out who they are as stars on the stage.
To know we have seen LANCO while they are still laying that cement and are waiting for it to dry feels incredibly special.