Live Review: Zac Brown Band + Busby Marou – The HiFi Sydney (27.03.13)

While I’ll admit to not being a huge listener of country music, I do have an interest. I’ve always found it to have a balanced perspective on life. So when an opportunity arose to see Zac Brown Band, supported by Busby Marou, I was intrigued enough to take it.

Before the show, I wasn’t familiar with the music of Busby Marou. But when the band burst onto the stage and into “All Of You” — the first song from their debut album — the crowd welcomed them warmly. Their set was heavily guitar-oriented, with some outstanding solos played by Jeremy Marou; and while I might’ve liked to hear a bit more from the other instruments, even I was impressed when he played his guitar with a ukelele. My personal favourite song of theirs was titled “Luck”, which is yet to be released. With its trickling piano and quirky whistle, I’ll be getting that instrumental diversity I want on their next record, so I’m definitely keeping an eye out.

At 9:20pm, Zac Brown Band took to the stage. As the audience screamed and sang along to the cheerful, skipping guitar of “Keep Me In Mind”, I wondered how I’d gone this long without noticing the band’s popularity — I’d only known a handful of their songs. The band followed up with the Grammy award-winning “As She’s Walking Away”, before playing the title track of their latest album, “Uncaged” — all of which earned resounding applause, and a few dedicated fans moshing near the barricades.

The night continued in a similar fashion, with the majority of the setlist being taken from either You Get What You Give or Uncharted, or covers of other artists, such as Van Morrison, John Mayer, Metallica, The Charlie Daniels Band, or Rage Against The Machine. The two hours that the band played for were abundant with solos, allowing each member a chance to shine. Although the frequency and length of these improvisations did have a tendency to drag, the technical ability and playful nature of the band was enough to keep most fans engaged.

Near the end of the encore, they finally gave into the request that the audience had been demanding all night and played their most country hit to date: “Chicken Fried”. The crowd was ecstatic. Zac Brown Band departed soon after, leaving behind a mad rush for the merchandise table. Even though the band’s following here might not be as strong as what they have in America, the fans who had turned up for this highly enjoyable show were most definitely rewarded.

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