Lawrence packed The Bottleneck on Friday night for the last stop on Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors’ headlining tour. While backup vocalist Ellie Holcomb was not present on this tour, Holcomb and company put on an energetic show in typical fashion.
The night began with Nashville singer/songwriter Neal Carpenter, whose debut album Good Guys was released on October 1, 2014. Carpenter’s ten-song set was a solo one, playing nine songs from his freshman record. Nashville radiates from Carpenter’s voice which has a hint of country in every chorus. The set began with “Borrowed Things” before transitioning to the album’s namesake “Good Guys,” which tells the listener he is not one of those. In spite of this, the crowd hung on every word the rest of the evening.
The upbeat “Lonely Is a Hell of a Drug,” “Dance,” “Everybody Wants to Find Their Heart,” and “Somebody’s Gonna Look at You” followed before Carpenter played the mid-tempo “The Old You.” “Perfect Time” is the last track from Good Guys, and the live version matches perfectly. The crowd was mesmerized when Carpenter shifted into a split cover of “Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers and “No Diggity” by Dr. Dre. He finished the evening with the first track “Line in the Sand.”
A mere ten minutes passed between sets before Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors took the stage. They began the evening with a new tune and “Hallelujah,” a song from 2008’s Passenger Seat,. Most of the night focused on songs from Good Light which was released in spring 2013, just before they toured with NEEDTOBREATHE.
Guitarist Nathan Dugger added flare with his solos on the slower “Another Man’s Shoes.” Holcomb told a humorous story to the crowd for “I Like to Be with Me When I’m with You.” One of his friends is a teacher, and the students had to write verses for the song. One student told Holcomb he was crazy for saying he would give up a red Ferrari for a girl. Holcomb and company slowed it down with “Can’t Take It with You” before he displayed his harmonica skills on “Good Light.”
“Nothing But Trouble” is the epitome of a crowd-interactive song, and Holcomb sang the chorus with the crowd: “I got nothing but trouble / Baby, you got nothing but time / And so we got two hearts beating for a good ride.” The first single from Medicine (due out in early 2015) “American Beauty,” came next, and Holcomb laughed as he informed the crowd the song has been selected for a Dick’s Sporting Goods commercial which has nothing to do with lyrical content.
After playing “Rooftops,” the rest of the band left the stage for two songs. Holcomb gave the backstory for “Tennessee,” the time when he told his dad he wanted his career to be a musician, a decision which his dad fully supported. “The Wine We Drink” is his ode to wife Ellie, and he appropriately played this one solo, too. The band returned for “Live Forever” from the 2011 album Chasing Someday. The new “Here We Go” followed, and in-between songs, a member of the audience suggested “Fire and Dynamite,” to which Holcomb chuckled and replied, “You just read my mind. The crowd responded excitedly and was not ready for the show to end.
After briefly leaving the stage, the four men returned to the stage to play “What Would I Do without You.” All of the band members took turns singing as the night ended with a cover of The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek.”