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Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit Provided the Soundtrack To A Beautiful Charlotte Evening

The Soundtrack To A Beautiful Charlotte Evening

Straight from Green Hill, Alabama Jason Isbell is a American musician who knows a thing or two about music. He once was a part of the rock band Drive-By Truckers before breaking off into his own solo career, and now being a part of his own band Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. He’s also acquired a few Grammy Awards along the way, four to be exact, including Best Americana Album in both 2016 and 2018 those albums being Something More Than Free and the later of which being The Nashville Sound. He has found ways to bring rock and soul and a little bluegrass into a single form and fans have grown to love him and his sound. One of those fans being Father John Misty, as he adds a little nod to Jason in his song “Mr. Tillman”. All of this musical background set the scene for an incredible evening in Charlotte, NC at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre.

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A bill in the making for quite a while finally came to fruition when opening act of the evening American Aquarium kicked things off before headliner Jason Isbell. American Aquarium actually calls North Carolina home as well, coming from just up the road from the venue in the city of Raleigh.

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This band led by front man and lead singer BJ Barham brought to the stage a gritty country rock sound that proved as an electric way to start the evening.

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Since getting their start in 2006 American Aquarium has went through quite the change over the years as personal challenges have presented themselves and in some case have been overcome and translated into powerful songs.

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Being around for twelve years has brought the band to tour around the country and even the world, however BJ is the only remaining artist from the original group that he founded. This however did not prevent group of gentlemen on stage Sunday evening from presenting a set of excellence and pure energy.

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They find themselves on tour celebrating their latest album Things Change, solidifying that album title through the bands history. Throughout the band’s discography you can find songs full of emotion and life events such as those heard in “Family Problems”, “Losing Side of Twenty Five: and “The World Is On Fire”.

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What really stands out about this band is their way to blend rock with a little country twang. BJ’s voice fills speakers with a gritty and real voice that speaks the truth and feels genuine.

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As the night progressed it was time for the main act of the evening, Jason Isbell. The sun had fully set, it was dark out and the full moon was shining bright overhead. The stage was dressed in a fairly simplistic style, a few lighting trees and in the center of the stage against the back wall was a large logo that embodied an anchor and a sparrow. This is an image that both Jason and wife Amanda have tattooed on them and has been used for years. We took notice that as the set was about to begin the audience had taken their seats and the place was filling up. Jason and the band then walked on stage and everyone rose to greet him with cheers and applause. Before beginning any song he immediately greeted the crowd and thank them for being there then pointed out the moon above accompanying the beautiful weather.

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He then began his set with “Hope The High Road” and immediately showing that his powerful and soulful vocals from a studio to a live setting not only remain consistent but they sound even better in a live situation. With songs that merge the world of bluegrass and rock this proved to be the perfect sound for the cool autumn weather that recently rolled in.

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Soon songs such as “Cumberland Gap” got the audience dancing around and looking at the lawn there were so many people smiling and dancing around upon the grass. Certain times during the set we were provided with guitar solos from Jason himself as well as fellow band members. This was especially true in songs by Jason’s former band Drive-By Truckers such as “Goddamn Lonely Love” which was accented by precise drum hits and harmonizing guitars.

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Not only did they give the fans some older song from his previous band but also songs they haven’t played live in a long time. One example being “How To Forget”, which after they finished Jason said “we haven’t played that one in a while and well… we remembered how to forget”.

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As the evening continued we got some of the most moving and strongest songs from Jason that the audience absolutely loved such as “Flying Over Water”. A song that provided strong and precise vocals all made even better by the breeze that then filled this outdoor venue. Following that he played one of his most popular songs “Cover Me Up” which gives a deep insight into his own life and as he sang the lyrics “When I sobered up, I swore off that stuff, forever this time” he got an amazing response from the fans as they applauded his success in his battle of alcohol from years ago.

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One of the standout moments was actually a part of the entire evening. Upon entering the venue fans were greeted with signs requesting they refrain from taking any photos or videos of the nights performance in respect to the band and other fans. Not many phones appeared during the show and this is a nice break from the common sights now at most shows. There were a few phones that would occasionally pop up to snap a quick photo or video but not very many. At one point towards the end of the set and in the middle of a song Jason said “Hey Siri, stop recording” which got a laugh but also actually works if your using an iPhone. It was a moved designed to encourage the fans to live in the moment and see the world their their own eyes and not through the cell phone screen.

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Closing out the night he and the band brought another Drive-By Truckers song to life as they played “Never Gonna Change” which brought the electricity to a high within the venue. It included guitar solos, and guitar battles complete with all the things you would want in a rock song. As an encore performance he and the band bid adieu to the crowd with “Super 8” then a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City”.

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There were a lot of things that came together to make this a night to remember for everyone. It truly proved to be the perfect soundtrack to a beautiful autumn evening. You can still catch Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit as the continue their tour throughout the rest of 2018. If you’re not able to make it out to a show, be sure to listen to their upcoming album ‘Live From The Ryman’  releasing October 19th.    

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See full gallery of the night.

Sprint Pavilion
Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN
Sat 8 PM CST1,398 guests
Birmingham, AL
Sun 8 PM CST812 guests
Birmingham, AL
Mon 12 AM CST244 guests
Birmingham, AL

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