- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 14 October 2015
- Written by EMILY CIAVATTA | STAFF WRITER
To me, concerts always feel the most intimate in a small venue with a devoted crowd. It is the absolute best when the lights are dim, the barrier between the stage and crowd is small, and the artist is on stage with their guitar in hand and small backup band behind them. The feeling of a close-knit show like that is truly inexpressible. These are the concerts that are well-remembered and cherished. These are the moments that turn the little things into big things.
On Sept. 30 in Silver Springs, MD, singer-songwriter Ben Rector stopped at The Fillmore Silver Spring on his Brand New Tour, which involved various performances across the county. Other stops he made closer to the University included New York City on Oct. 2 and Philadelphia on Oct. 3. Rector released his newest album Brand New on Aug. 28 and is touring until early November. Judah and the Lion, a small folk band, opened up for Rector on this tour.
Being a huge fan of Rector, I made the trip all the way to Maryland to attend the concert with a friend of mine who goes to school down there. Although I had to drive through a ton of rain thanks to Hurricane Joaquin to get there, it was entirely worth it. Rector is pretty low-key—his crowds are still numbered around a thousand for most of his shows (depending on the venue) and this was not his first headlining tour.
Although he is not the biggest artist out there, he still has gained some mainstream popularity with his more well-known singles. Rector, being an independent singer-songwriter, tends to stick to an acoustic style of music, but with his latest album, he dipped more into the radio pop genre. Since this was the style of music on his latest record, the concert was very upbeat and lively.
Judah and the Lion kicked off the show at 8 p.m. Prior to the concert, I had never listened to their music before. For someone that is not into folk/indie music, I can still say they are an extremely talented band. Their music is very instrument-driven and powerful and they sounded very good live. The members of the band danced around the stage a lot and overall had a really positive attitude, which got the crowd pumped up for the long-awaited Rector set.
For someone so small in the music world, Rector has outrageous talent that shined through the entire show. Each song sounded even better live than it sounds recorded. The best part of the concert was just hearing Rector’s pure voice live. He played new and old songs, both upbeat and slow. In between his songs, he displayed his fun and quirky personality that had the entire crowd laughing. If you’re a follower of Rector on social media, you’ll know that he’s insanely witty and entertaining, and this side of him made the concert that much more enjoyable. The entire show felt like one big conversation with him, not just through his speeches in between songs, but also through his lyrics. The way he connected with the crowd was unlike anything else.
Although his new album was a little too pop for my liking, the way he performed it live was amazing. With his talent on the guitar, the awesome backup band, and his wonderfully smooth voice, he absolutely owned the stage and each song was a pleasure to hear. He also played some old favorites, like “When a Heart Breaks,” “When I’m With You,” and “Sailboat.” The crowd went absolutely crazy for both the new and the old songs.
Rector made the bold move of running through the crowd during one of his songs, which was a huge treat for the audience. Most artists, big or small, would never do something like this for their fans, but Rector goes above and beyond. He danced through groups of people and got the entire crowd up and dancing with him. Little moments like this made the concert one to remember.
The crowd consisted of younger fans and older fans, all there to create a wonderful memory. It’s nice to see him gaining a bit more popularity than he has in the past because he’s an artist that truly deserves it. Most of the shows on this tour sold out, which was wonderful to see. He was humbled by this outcome and the overall response of his new record/tour. A great person inside and out, Ben Rector got the outcome he did because of the hard work he put into everything. It was definitely a tour you don’t want to miss.
IMAGES TAKEN from fanart.tv