For the rest of their careers, Florida Georgia Line frontmen Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley will chase the success they found in 2013: four No. 1 singles, a spot in the Macy’s Day Parade and a headlining tour that took them to more than 200 cities.
They stamped an exclamation mark on their career-changing year with a sold-out show at the ShoWare Center in Kent that ended the 2013 segment of Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s to the Good Times” tour.
Much of Florida Georgia Line’s music owes a lot to hip-hop, and three thudding kick drums and tooth-rattling bass reinforced the idea that the duo is comfortable blurring the lines between country and pop music. Guitars were almost an afterthought.
They kicked off their set in a blur of LED lights and smoke before launching into “It’z Just What We Do,” a forgettable tune that suggested the band is at its most boring when confined to straight-ahead rockers. Songs like “Tip It Back” and the hit single “Round Here” fared better.
Hubbard, shaggy-haired and wearing cut-off flannel, took the lead on most songs but relied on the cleaner-cut Kelley to provide the harmonies that made “Here’s to the Good Times” and “Dayum, Baby” work. Not as effective was a silly segment featuring an ill-considered mash-up of hip-hop tunes.
Fortunately, it didn’t take much to get the show back on track. “Hell Raisin’ Heat of the Summer” became a wistful celebration of warmer days, and “People Back Home” was a country rap anthem that had the crowd moving.
The single “Get Your Shine On” closed out the main set, but Florida Georgia Line came back out for a trio of songs: “Tell Me How You Like It,” “I’m In a Hurry” and their massive hit, “Cruise.” As their sextuple-platinum breakout single came to an end, Hubbard and Kelley lingered on stage and invited the crew, along with openers Dallas Smith and Colt Ford, out for one final bow, hug and fist bump.
It was the cathartic end to a year that catapulted Florida Georgia Line into the upper echelon of country music stardom. They deserved to savor the moment.