Little Big Town wows fans with effects, lights

By Deanna Frances

DeKalb | Country band Little Big Town kept fans on their feet during its first NIU performance Thursday at the Convocation Center.

This was the Convocation Center’s second concert of the semester following the Rich Homie Quan and Hoodie Allen performance during Homecoming.

Little Big Town opened its set with a drumming video montage and special lighting effects that set the stage for its passionate country-rock-filled performance. Its hour-and-a-half long set included hits like, “Pontoon,” “Day Drinking,” “Little White Church” and “Painkiller.”

A video screen showed clips of music videos and song lyrics, which encouraged the audience to participate during the show. The band also kept the performance intimate and personal by talking with the crowd and mentioning local favorites like the Huskies football team and Pizza Villa’s beer nuggets.

I was very impressed by Little Big Town’s entertaining and engaging performance. I also enjoyed its a cappella rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.”

The band closed its set with passionate performances of “Your Side of the Bed” and “Tornado,” which included visual special effects. Fans cheered the band back on for an encore performance. The final set included songs “Girl Crush” and “Boondocks,” which both received standing ovations from the crowd.

“I thought they were awesome,” said Jay Kelley, senior physical education major. “They got the crowd pumped up and singing along. We had a lot of fun.”

Newcomer Kelliegh Bannen opened the show with original songs “Smoke When I Drink” and covers of classic country songs like “Church Clothes” by Galyon and Rose. Bannen ended her set with her hit-single, “Famous.”

Drake White and the Big Fire Band got the crowd riled up for Little Big Town with their energetic music and interactions with the crowd. The band began its set with “Front Porch” and “That Don’t Cost A Dime/Stir It Up.”

The lead of the band, Drake White, kept fans engaged throughout its 45 minute set. The highlight of the set was an a capella rendition of “Lean on Me,” by Bill Withers.

I was impressed by its stepping away from the loud guitars and drums to sing a soulful a cappella classic. Fans enjoyed the band’s interactions with the audience.

“I like his energy and the way he works the crowd,” said Nimoza Ametovski, 50, of Carol Stream. “He really owns the stage, and he’s got some pipes.”

Fans enjoyed being able to see an up-and-coming artist that was worth listening to.

“He had amazing stage presence,” said John Lichty, 55, of Monroe Center. “We’ll be looking for his music now. The band was great, and we’d see him again.”