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The Cadillac Three @ O2 Academy Islington, London, UK | November 9, 2015 – Review

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The Cadillac Three have seemingly achieved a somewhat bigger name over here in the UK than over in their native USA, a fact that didn’t seem to be lost on Jaren as he praised us UK fans for being particularly passionate about live music, and commenting on the number of people in the sold-out venue to see them. Hell, they’ve sold out every headlining show they’ve ever done here!

Kicking off with their song ‘Days Of Gold’, originally written for Jake Owen, was okay but it is one of my least favourite songs by them. I guess that’s good then, since they got it out of the way whilst the original excitement of their set was still at fever-pitch, and the instrumentals were right on point as they absolutely rocked out the venue, with Jaren and Neil’s party trick of a joint drum solo being a particular highlight.

Following on with the title track of their most recent EP ‘Peace Love and Dixie’ got me more into the spirit of their awesome live show and from there they really didn’t look back. Jaren can sing the crap out of anything, and has shown repeatedly that he is up there with all of the great writers in Nashville, having written for everyone from Keith Urban to Tim McGraw.

The next section of the show was absolutely electric in the venue, consisting of ‘I’m Rockin’’, ‘Tennessee Mojo’ and ‘Back It Up’, which were all clearly fan favourites. Having said that, the atmosphere was absolutely awesome throughout the set, and the fan interaction between Jaren and a Scottish fan was particularly funny, with Jaren commenting that he ‘talked funny’, before the fan replied ‘so do you’, resulting in Jaren making fun, retorting that ‘that was the joke’ to great laughs from the audience.

From here they played a brand-new, unreleased song from their upcoming sophomore album. ‘Red Lights’ was a ‘White Lightening’-esque ballad and was absolutely magical to hear live. Maybe it’s just because I’ve heard ‘White Lightening’ so many times but ‘Red Lights’ seemed so fresh and personal that it really gave me the chills, especially hearing Jaren singing it live. Another new song ‘Graffiti’ was also played, which was more in keeping with their description of the new album ‘heavy as shit’. Whilst not being fully hard-rock heavy it was rhythmically heavy, with interesting drum and bass beats creating a fresh sounds that isn’t from their existing catalogue, but is also still very Cadillac Three. This, my friends, is proper evolution.

‘White Lightening’ and ‘Whiskey Soaked Redemption’ are always highlights of their set, and this was no different, with the heavy rock sound that is so often used in their music being replaced by lap-steel and electric-acoustic guitar and Jaren’s awesome vocals being at the forefront of the song. With this style of performance, even the awful Keith Urban/Eric Church recording of Jaren’s ‘Raise ‘Em Up’ was pretty awesome. I take it back; in my review of the song I said that Jaren had finally written a bad song, but instead I will change it to ‘Keith Urban is crap and should never be allowed near a good song again’.

Finishing with ‘The South’, it was here that the crowd really set Jaren off, chanting the refrain incredibly loudly so that he didn’t even have to get involved for a while. Then during the chorus there was electricity unlike anything I’ve experienced at such a relatively small venue. Jeez these guys can write, sing, perform, interact… I’m definitely going next time and so should you.

Get The Cadillac Three tickets here.

About Nick Jarman

Music writing as a hobby, neuroscience student at Cambridge University as profession. In the market for music-industry jobs, so if you like what you read, don't be shy! Otherwise you will either find me up a mountain, or on a cricket pitch!
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