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Lady A consistently pleases

Five Point Amphitheater, Aliso Viejo, Cal., September 17, 2021

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

The rebranded Lady (formerly Antebellum) A brought a welcome set of country vocal music back to the area after the long pandemic pause and showed that the talented trio hasn't lost a step during our unexpected health crisis. Driven by Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott's strong lead vocals, this trio's pop-leaning country sounds amount to something much greater than a guilty pleasure.

Lady A's setlist contained a healthy variety of both spunk and soul. Scott revealed her sassy side, with hits like "Downtown" and "You Look Good," while "What If I Never Get Over You" exemplified the act's obvious skills in handling straight up love songs. Of course, the act played its breakthrough hit "Need You Now," but Lady A always performs some sometimes-surprising covers. Tonight, the act encored with Marc Cohn's "Walking in Memphis," which was a true crowd pleaser.

Carly Pearce, one of mainstream country music's best new strong female voices, proved she's ready for prime time with a satisfying set that opened with "You Kissed Me First" and closed with Pearce duetting with Charles Kelley on her hit "I Hope You're Happy Now." Along with her hit-filled set, Pearce, who released her new disc "29: Written in Stone" today, also threw in covers of Shania Twain and Garth Brooks, which helped keep things fun and interesting.

Niko Moon, who has written hits for Dierks Bentley and Zac Brown, made the best of his opportunity to show what he can do as a performer with his friendly and engaging stage performance. His set was highlighted when his wife came out to dance with him while he sang "Dance With Me." Tenille Arts opened this female dominated evening with a short set of pretty country songs.

Before the show, Lady performed a backstage acoustic set for a group of VIPs. They opened by fulfilling a request to sing their heartbreaking ballad "It Ain't Pretty." Perhaps the only thing that could have made Lady A's regular set better, would have been if they sang it again on the big stage. Small gripes aside, though, this 'lady' by any name is always a consistently pleasing concert act.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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