Two Kentucky natives are storming across the United States on the “A Good Look’n Tour.” On a snowy Friday, February 28th, they were welcomed home to a packed Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers delivered a two-act punch to the sold-out Kentucky crowd in a city they both “cut their teeth in” earlier in their music careers. This tour is in support of Simpson’s 2019 album Sound and Fury. Childers also released a Grammy-nominated album in 2019, Country Squire.
“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life for this shit, so get the fuck up,” Simpson said to the crowd before his set, letting them know they were in for a special night.
Even though the audience was fashionably late, decked out in their flannel and cowboy hats, Tyler Childers and his band The Food Stamps hit the stage on time. “All Your’n” kicked the show off and the set would include the most popular songs from his two albums including “House Fire,” “Feathered Indians,” and “Honky Tonk Flame.” The opening notes of several songs were accompanied by woos and yee-haws from the excited crowd. There were even plenty of opportunities for them to get involved as they danced and chanted along.
As a frontman, Childers doesn’t make the show about him, he gets out of the way and lets his band members do their thing. Instead of moving all around the stage, they put their energy into their instruments. The brand of country music they play isn’t the flashy mainstream that many are used to seeing. Childers’ music is a storytelling based mix of country, bluegrass, and folk. A hybrid of upbeat rhythms with some ominous themes and others of lighter fare.
But just because it’s country music doesn’t mean they didn’t take their opportunities to jam. There wasn’t a chance to get a read on Childers due to the shadow from his hat covering his face. Childers closed his set with a song he has only recorded live, “Nose To The Grindstone.” An emotional tune about getting out of the hills of rural Kentucky and becoming something more than a coal miner. After a standing ovation, he expressed how much this show meant to him especially since he was playing bars and smaller venues around Lexington just over two years ago.
“It’s one thing to do this for a living, it’s much another to do it in the company of people you enjoy their company,” Childers explained just before he exited the stage.
An engine revved to signal the beginning of Sturgill Simpson’s headlining set and bled into the intro track “Ronin” from Sound and Fury. The four-piece band, guitarist, bassist, drums, and keys, performed the entire record. Each member clad in personalized embroidered suits and the frontman shirtless under his jacket. Simpson handling all of the guitar and singing responsibilities. Impressively sounding just like the record but also not sounding just like the record. The entire set had a dose of rawness that created unique live moments to each song.
After the Sound and Fury playthrough, the band went deeper into the catalog, without a break, treating the fans to two straight hours of musicianship. Included in the second half of the set was “Turtles all the way down,” “Long White Line,” and “Brace For Impact.” There has been a lot of talk about how different Simpson’s sound and style is on the latest record, but a line could be drawn to similarities from his old material to new, especially live.
But that is one thing you can appreciate from an artist like Simpson, you’re never going to put them into a box, which is refreshing. Every release and every live show holds a surprise. Even the 23-song set was technically stripped-down, missing the layers of effects, horn section, and pedal steel, but the performance still felt like a wall of sound. The stage setup narrowed the focus to the music. A black and white checkered stage underneath the band’s feet with lights bouncing off a grand drapery behind them for a theatre feel.
“This is the most dream come true shit that’s ever happened in this whole crazy ride,” Simpson told the crowd mid-set.
The “A Good Look’n Tour” was a special night for Kentuckians to cheer on two of their own in the hallowed Rupp Arena. Two artists whose support grew from downtown bars in Kentucky to headlining stages across the globe.
Remaining Tour Dates:
March 4 — Pittsburgh, PA – Peterson Events Center
March 6 — Charlotte, NC – Spectrum Center
March 7 — Duluth, GA – Infinite Energy Center
March 10 — North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Coliseum
March 13 — Hampton, VA – Hampton Coliseum
March 14 — Philadelphia, PA – The Met Philadelphia
March 15 — Washington, D.C. – Anthem
March 16 — Washington, D.C. – Anthem
March 18 — Toronto, ON, CA – Coca-Cola Coliseum
March 20 — Columbus, OH – Nationwide Arena
March 21 — St. Louis, MO – Chaifetz Arena
March 22 — Southaven, MS – Landers Center
March 27 — Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
March 28 — Austin, TX – Frank Erwin Center
March 29 — Sugarland, TX – Smart Financial Centre
April 1 — Independence, MO – Silverstein Eye Centers Arena
April 3 — Chicago, IL- United Center
April 4 — Minneapolis, MN – The Armory
April 9 — Omaha, NE – Baxter Arena
April 10 — Madison, WI – Alliant Energy Center
April 23 — Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
April 25 — Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
April 28 — Salt Lake City, UT – Maverik Center
April 29 — Missoula, MT – Adams Center
May 1 — Portland, OR – Veterans Memorial Coliseum
May 2 — George, WA – Gorge Amphitheatre
May 5 — San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
May 8 — Inglewood, CA – The Forum
May 15 — Boston, MA – TD Garden
May 16 — New York City, NY – Madison Square Garden
May 22 — Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
May 24 — Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center