hen Darius Rucker opened with "Have a Good Time" during this midweek outdoor theater concert, he meant what he sang. His laidback performance style was contagious, too, as it seemed like everybody in the crowd was having a good time.
It helps that Rucker also has many good times songs to sing, such "Beers and Sunshine" and "Alright." Although he first came to fame fronting the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, his solo shows incorporate more traditional country elements than do most mainstream stars. There's plenty of fiddle, Dobro, steel guitar and even a little banjo. He even country-fied some of his old Hootie hits.
Rucker named this tour after his single, "Fires Don't Start Themselves," and the PA played fire-related song snippets, such as "Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire," before Rucker took the stage wearing a Starland Vocal Band t-shirt and ballcap. He performed that song, as well as a few choice covers in his set. He sang John Mellencamp's "Pink Houses" early on, and even got a little funky with Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison" later. He and his band were visibly enjoying themselves onstage, which prompted his audience to do the same.
Midway through, Rucker got serious with "History in the Making" and "True Believers," but this was only a brief bit of romantic sincerity. "Homegrown Honey," about a girl with obvious Southern roots and style, was more Rucker's speed. All in all, it amounted to a casual and enjoyable evening of music.
Drew Holcomb, and his band The Neighbors, certainly made the best of a brief opening set. He had the audience singing along, clapping along and even dancing along at various points. His songs consistently promoted shared human values, as with the singularly titled "Gratitude" and "Family." He didn't come off overly serious, though, and couched his observations in rootsy rock and roll.
Darius Rucker may not thrill you with his singing and song lyrics, but he sure knows how to throw a great musical party. This night was a lot like a party where a concert just happened to break out.