Zeiders plays hour long set in DC
Watch out for Warren Zeiders.
Zeiders delivered the kind of show Thursday night (May 5th) at the Birchmere that becomes the stuff of legend once an artist hits it big. And boy, will he hit it big. Just give it an awards season or two.
Warren Zeiders took the stage at 8:30 pm on the dot. The Lancaster, PA native with big hair, a big hat, and an even bigger voice delivered a performance that must be experienced to be believed.
A product of the TikTok platform, his viral number “Ride the Lightning” popped up on many a For You page. Now, in an era where many artists have been proving that TikTokers do not exist in a vacuum, Zeiders has been riding a large bolt himself. And it’s clear he was born for it.
After his first number, Zeiders encouraged the crowd to rush the stage of the table-seated venue. The result was an evening of pure energy. Clad in tan Wrangler jeans and blue Wrangler shirt, the denim-on-denim look worked with Zeiders’ “I-don’t-care-what-you-think-about-me” attitude. He changed hats several times based on the song. Some, he wore no hat at all, embracing his thick mane of hair.
The crowd knew every word to every song. In any other instance, that would be a given. But Warren is a social media star who has found a dedicated audience early in his career. They took the time not just to scroll his reels, but to find his music, stream it, and become invested in him as an artist. That feels less likely than, well, getting struck by lightning.
The response to Zeiders on his first headline tour is the kind of thing that will go down as the stuff of legend. We’re talking about a Garth-Brooks-causing-fervor-at-Willie’s-Saloon type legend. And keep in mind, Warren has only two EPs of original music including the newly released The 717 Tapes, Volume 2. Viral hit “Ride the Lightning” is, to date, the only song which Warren has recorded with a full band.
But it was that acoustic album, The 717 Tapes, Volume 1, that made up the most of this night’s set. One acoustic cover, Koe Wetzel’s “Drunk Driving,” was present. The song appeared on an earlier Zeiders’ release, titled simply, Acoustic Covers.
I do not want to undersell this point: Warren Zeiders has exactly two EPs, one album of covers. He’s barely got enough material for a show. Yet the audience comes, knows every single word to all of the original music. That includes, “Wild Horse,” a song released last freakin’ week that is bound to become a Zeiders signature. And the 300-strong crowd sang louder than if they were in an arena show. Oh, the only music is coming from two guitars and Warren’s voice. Double oh…Warren broke a string on one guitar, and had to rely on the sound of one guitar from his counterpart for some numbers. But no one cared. At all. Not even superstars have the balls to try to pull off a stripped-down set and whip the crowd into a frenzy at the same time.
Now signed with Warner Records out of Los Angeles, the PA and Nashville-based Zeiders has some homework: He tells us in an upcoming TMU Podcast episode that he is in the process of crafting his first label release. But it is clear that his priority right now is getting out there and connecting with his fans.
Zeiders is not interested in mimicking the sound of the 90s. Nor is he interested in the bro-y bullshit that passes for country music these days. (Did I type that out loud?) No. Zeiders is not singing about how much he loves Hank, Kix, and Ronnie. Or about how many girls he’s got in cutoffs in his flatbed. The influences are unspoken and obvious. Warren is singing his music, his way. Different, yet still stone country.
I will pilfer what Garth Brooks once said about Randy Travis. Warren Zeiders is turning country music 180 degrees back to more tradition, and making it cooler than it has ever been. And for that, mark my words: one day, Warren Zeiders will have a bronze plaque in the Unbroken Circle of the Country Music Hall of Fame.