By Allie Miller
LANCO, described by Entertainment Weekly as an “arena-rock leaning band,” started off a night of country right, at the Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, GA, this past Thursday. Although they may have appeared to be the rookie of the bunch, with Kane Brown as the second opener and Chris Young headlining, LANCO has seen some early successes. Their debut album, Hallelujah Nights, dropped in January of this year. On the last week of that month, it placed at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart, a feat that was last matched by Lady Antebellum in 2008. Although they were the first opener of Chris Young’s show, their headlining shows have sold out, and they’ve performed on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Bachelor, the Today Show, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, to promote Hallelujah Nights.
LANCO’s performance inside the Infinite Energy Arena, a huge space that seemed filled to the brim this past Thursday, could have ended after they performed; with only one album out, they took to the stage like headliners, and drew the vast crowd in with their energy. The band, signed to Arista Nashville, consists of Tripp Howell (drums), Eric Steedly (guitar), Jared Hampton (keys), and Brandon Lancaster on lead vocals and guitar. Brandon was constantly engaging with the audience. He let us know that the band was excited to be in Georgia because some of the band members grew up here – this was a special night for them too. At one point, Brandon got down from the arena’s huge stage for an intense drum break on the floor, amid the audience, while another band member got ready to jump from a platform near the drums.
LANCO’s efforts to energize the crowd were not one sided – they clearly had a following in Duluth. You could hear fans singing along to favorite songs off Hallelujah Nights, namely “Greatest Love Story,” and “Born to Love You.” Brandon opened “Greatest Love Story” saying how grateful he was to be in the arena on that night, and how beautiful it was to see “thousands of people coming together in one room for one reason, and that’s music.” Later in the song, with no request from the band, what could have been 100 fans turned on their flashlights and held up their phones as Brandon serenaded them. As I slowly turned in the middle of the arena, I could see parents, teens, country-lovers, singing the lyrics to the chorus, and swaying with their loved ones. It was a night to celebrate country music, and it had just begun.