Drew Holcomb

Show Review: Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors in Milwaukee

Show Reviews

Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors find their people,
build family in support of Darius Rucker in Milwaukee

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Drew Holcomb came into Milwaukee last Friday night with a No. 1 single. The joyful rally cry “Find Your People” reached the peak of the Americana Radio charts in June, and he’s noticeably still elated about it. And why not, after more than 20 years of writing and recording, Holcomb is starting to be noticed.

Opening for Darius “Hootie” Rucker hasn’t hurt either. Holcomb and his band, The Neighbors, have been criss-crossing the country in support of Rucker since June 22. If the reaction Friday in Milwaukee is any indication, he’s been gaining new fans along the way.

The band were welcomed to the stage with a tepid reception from the crowd that was still finding their seats for the ’90s pop-rocker turned country singer. Genres, however, are simply aids to help listeners to more readily find the music they think they like. Whatever genre you use to identify Rucker or Holcomb, one’s music isn’t drastically different from the other’s.

With Nathan Dugger on pedal steel and guitar; Rich Brinsfield on bass; Ian Miller on keys; and Will Sayles on drums; Holcomb and the Neighbors play a traditional brand of music that some will call “country.” The brand fits when referring to songs like the band’s first offering “That’s On You, That’s On Me.” One of 11 tracks on their latest studio album “Strangers No More,” it’s waltz-like rhythm accentuated with enough twang and pedal steel to shake the rafters at a barn dance was a perfect move to gently nudge the BMO Pavilion crowd into scootin’ their boots.

From there, Holcomb and company moved into “Dragons,” the title track from their 2019 LP. With its narrative verses and arm-swaying chorus, “Dragons” fits squarely in the Americana middleground of the narrow country-Americana-bluegrass spectrum. Then, in a twist on the heel of his brown leather cowboy boots, Holcomb returned with a salvo to get everyone up and moving with a direct invitation via “Dance with Everybody.”

The calls for audience participation continued with “All the Money in the World”: “I’m gonna need a little help on this next song. Can you gimme some help?” Holcomb queried. “It’s real simple. I’m gonna sing ‘all the money in the world’ and you’re going to sing ‘all the money, all the money.”

Just when everyone was getting sweaty in the damp lakefront air that threatened thunderstorms, Holcomb took a deep breath and exhaled the gorgeously ethereal “Gratitude.” That he followed with two songs dedicated to his wife, Ellie, and their three children: “… What Would I Do Without You” and “I Like to Be with Me When I’m with You.” Throughout this trio of songs, the Milwaukee crowd became respectively still and virtually silent.

If Holcomb had any concerns that he may have just lulled his new friends to sleep, he knew exactly how to get wake them up — with a rousing and well executed cover of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” The pit at the front of the stage wasn’t quite moshing, but their appreciation for Dugger’s Mike Campbell impersonation was more thunderous than the rumbling sky to the north.

With renewed energy and having certainly discovered some of his people in Milwaukee, Holcomb carried on with “Find Your People” and ended with the celebratory “Family.”

“It’s just one word, sing it loud. Don’t be shy,” Holcomb urged, adding: “Whether you know it or not, you’re part of the Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors family now.”

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors continue to tour in support of Darius Rucker through the end of August before taking part in the Moon River Music Festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Sept. 9 and then headlining their own tour through into Octoberl with Josiah and the Bonnevilles opening. Once November arrives, look for the Neighbors to pick up another support gig opening for The Head and The Heart, Nov. 1-7. Holcomb did announce a return to Milwaukee forthcoming in April with tickets going on sale Sept. 1.

Visit http://www.drewholcomb.com or follow on Facebook, Instagram, X Pro, YouTube and bandsintown.com for more information.

Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors “Strangers No More”

Set List
That’s on You, That’s on Me
Dance with Everybody
All the Money in the World
… What Would I Do without You
I Like to Be with Me When I’m with You
Runnin’ Down a Dream (Tom Petty Cover)
Find Your People

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