By Peyton Schmidt–
Ben Rector may want to consider changing the title of his current nationwide tour from “The Biggest Tour I Have Done So Far,” to “The Best Tour I Have Done So Far.” On Aug. 25, Rector stole the hearts of hundreds at the Louisville Palace. It was Rector’s first time headlining a show in Louisville, but he still dazzled the audience with songs from his most recent album, “Brand New,” as well as other hits from previous albums.
Colony House, a Tennessee-based group, opened for Rector. I should’ve expected Rector to have a talented opening act, but I was still pleasantly surprised when I found myself bobbing my head along to Colony House’s catchy songs.
The hipster group pulled at the audience’s heart strings with their slow ballad “Learning How To Love.” Though sentimental, Colony House also knew how to rock and roll, achieving a Black Keys meets Death Cab For Cutie aesthetic.
Unlike most opening acts which are hard to sit through, Colony House captivated the attention of the restless audience with their spunky and unique sound.
But back to Rector: plain and simple, I have gained a new best friend in Ben Rector.
I could gush about his musical talent, his impeccable songwriting or hundreds of other things but if a reader were to remember anything about this mediocre article I would want them to remember how genuinely kind Ben Rector is.
The show only lasted an hour, but I’m confident he is one of the friendliest people I have ever encountered. Not only did he stop his setlist several times to compliment the audience on our energy and physique, but he also thanked us numerous times for simply coming out to listen to his music and hang out with him.
Rather than going through the motions of a concert like most musicians, Rector let his personality shine throughout the night, creating a comfortable and upbeat atmosphere for the audience. He treated us as if we were his friends, encouraging us to sing along and asking us to coach him on how to properly pronounce “Louisville.”
Rector had a full band accompanying him, whom he introduced personally, reaffirming the feeling that the night was less like a concert and more like a casual hang out with best buds. Periodically switching from the guitar, tambourine, cowbell and piano, Rector kept the audience on their toes while also showcasing his other musical talents. “Sailboat,” “I Like You” and “When A Heart Breaks” were a couple favorites Rector performed.
Of course it wouldn’t have been Rector’s “Best Tour I Have Done So Far,” if he didn’t play his new single, “Brand New” for the almost final song of the night.
The audience cheered and gathered their belongings, assuming it was time to leave after the song. Then, Rector casually came back out to perform an encore. Being the humble guy he is, he explained to the hyperactive audience he wanted to switch gears with his actual last song of the night, “The Men That Drive Me Places.”
In the song, Rector described men he has encountered while touring that have gone out of their way to do something kind for him. He later sang about how he doesn’t understand why he gets the fame and glory when “the men that drive him places” are the ones that deserve all of the credit.
Rector was very intentional with the setlist for this tour. Though he treated his audience like long lost friends all reuniting for a casual hang out, he still wanted to walk us through an array of different emotions throughout the night.
Whether I was jumping up and down, clapping or closing my eyes and listening intently to the lyrics, my heart felt full throughout the course of the night.
Unlike most concerts I attend, I didn’t leave sad or with PCD (post concert depression). Rather, I felt brand new (pun intended) and excited for the next time I get to hang out with Ben Rector, er, I mean go to another one of his impeccable concerts.
Photo by Peyton Schmidt / The Louisville Cardinal