Maddie & Tae @ Amos’ SouthEnd, Charlotte, NC | October 16, 2015 – Review

Written by Carrie Srebro

Having the chance to watch Maddie & Tae grow as performers this past year has been fun. I first had the opportunity to check them out at a local radio show roughly one year ago, where they sang three songs (Girl in a Country Song was still new at radio and finding its legs) and chatted a little bit with the radio station’s DJ. I saw that they seemed to have good stage presence, but as they were seated and it was mostly acoustic, it was hard to get a good read. Then, this past May (and July), I was able to see them open for Dierks Bentley on the Sounds of Summer Tour. This gave me a much better idea of what Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye were like as performers, and I was impressed by how well they worked the stage and how at ease they appeared in front of large crowds.

My best opportunity to really get to “see” Maddie & Tae, though, came this past Friday, as they headlined their “Start Here” Tour at Amos’ SouthEnd in Charlotte, NC. Their Dot Records labelmate Tucker Beathard (son of Nashville hit songwriter Casey Beathard) opened the show with a solo acoustic set. Tucker is readying his first single for radio (rumored to be “Rock On,” which can now be heard on Spotify), and is also working on a full-length album, both expected for release in 2016. I enjoyed his set – to be honest, Tucker looks like a Sam Hunt in training, but his sound is very different. His lyrics have depth and grit. I’ll be looking forward to hearing more from him.

Maddie & Tae opened their 75-minute set with “Right Here Right Now,” “No Place Like You,” and the rocking “Your Side of Town.” Those three songs set the stage for what would be a strong showing from the duo. Since they only just released their (amazing) debut album back in August, I was curious to see how they would fill out their set – would it be all covers? New material? Play the whole CD? And the answer was they would do all of the above! They played all of the songs off their album, two unreleased songs (Maddie said before “Taking it Easy” that the pair have easily written well over 200 songs over their 5 years together, and obviously not all of them could make the album. The other unreleased song was “Boomerang” – which appears on Jana Kramer’s new record), and did a number of covers, some of which were surprising, but all of which showed eclectic influences and that they aren’t afraid to take some risks and try something unusual. While on tour with Dierks, they were regularly performing covers of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” Those two were both in the set, as well as Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” (which was a very welcome surprise), and Fleetwood Mac/Dixie Chicks’ “Landslide.”

I felt like the flow of the show was great. Maddie & Tae did a good job of laying out the setlist in such a way that it wasn’t obvious what was going to happen next. “Mirrors,” for instance, flowed right into “Fly” – and it just felt so right, like why couldn’t a Justin Timberlake song flow right into their own sweet song about perseverance? “Landslide” went right into a beautiful rendition of “Downside of Growing Up” which went into a positively stunning “Smoke.” They ended their ‘main’ set with the hit that got it started for them – “Girl in a Country Song.” After a short break, they returned to the stage, and -seemingly taking a page from Dierks’ book – started their encore with “After the Storm Blows Through” (he starts with “Home”). Maddie & Tae always cite the Dixie Chicks among their greatest influences, so it was no surprise that they closed the show with a cover of “Cowboy Take me Away.” I think Natalie, Emily, and Martie would be proud of what Maddie & Tae are doing in country music today, and they certainly did the Chicks justice on the beautiful ballad.

Overall, I was impressed with their first headlining outing. I was curious to see if any of Dierks’ influence would have left an impression, and I think it did. They connected well with the audience (waving, pointing, standing on the amps to better see the crowd), had a lot of energy, and gave a lot of love to their backing band. Maddie is definitely the unspoken leader of the duo, and seems perhaps most at-home in that role, but that doesn’t mean Tae is a wallflower, either. They work well together, and seem comfortable with where they are today and where they are (hopefully) headed. On their first headlining outing they proved capable and entertaining, and I can’t wait to see how their live show evolves as they grow as artists.

Maddie & Tae Setlist:

Right Here Right Now
No Place Like You
Your Side of Town
9 to 5
Shut up and Fish
Taking it Easy (unreleased)
Waiting on a Plane
Boomerang (unreleased)
Downside of Growing Up
Girl in a Country Song

After the Storm Blows Through
Cowboy Take Me Away

Carrie is a wife and mom living in Charlotte, NC who loves getting out and listening to live music as often as she can. You can find her on Twitter at @corbers.

Get Maddie & Tae tickets here.

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