There are few country bands that possess the pop flair and down-home charm needed to ignite a party the way Florida Georgia Line did Monday, Sept. 15, at the Washington State Fair.
Bro-country purveyors Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley turned in a pitch-perfect set that touched on all their hits. They also introduced a couple of new songs and gave 10,000 people a reason to sing along and scream for 80 minutes.
FGL got the show started to a deafening cascade of cheers with “It’z Just What We Do,” off their debut album, “Here’s to the Good Times.” They used that song, along with “Party People” and “Round Here,” to set the tone (loud guitars, spot-on harmonies and lyrics designed to make you feel good) and establish chemistry with their adoring fans.
“Dirt,” from the band’s upcoming sophomore album, “Anything Goes,” was as close to a ballad as Florida Georgia Line gets and worked surprisingly well thanks to some subtle banjo and a great hook. The band delivered hooks all night, whether it was on the party anthem “This Is How We Roll” or the insidiously catchy “Dayum Baby” that had you singing along whether you wanted to or not.
The title track of the new album, out October 14, suggested that FGL’s signature sound is intact and provided a nice vocal highlight for the underused Kelley, who had the tough job of providing most of the harmony parts. But the show confirmed that Kelley is more than a second fiddle; his chemistry with Hubbard largely drove the show.
Most bands, at least the smart ones, make sure to thank their fans and acknowledge just how lucky they are to have careers in music, but Hubbard and Kelley made it seem like more than just lip service.
After a crisp 12 songs, FGL came back for three more, closing with career-making No. 1 hit “Cruise.”
It has one of the silliest lines to grace country radio in a long time (“This brand new Chevy with a lift kit/would look a hell of a lot better with you up in it”) but it was hard to deny just how well the band sold it.
Maybe Hubbard and Kelley are nothing more than party boys, but when the party is so much fun, it’s hard to care.