Friday, April 4th marked the beginning of the 2nd Annual ACM Party for a Cause in Las Vegas. Declared the “Weekend Vegas Goes Country” all the major players in the industry were out playing live music throughout the city. The hottest place to be was most definitely at The LINQ, where Outnumber Hunger and BMLG hosted the first night of “Outnumber Hunger Live!” The line-up was a must-see, including Florida Georgia Line, New Artist of the Year winner Justin Moore, Thomas Rhett, Cassadee Pope, Danielle Bradbery, The Cadillac Three, and headliners Rascal Flatts.
Even more music was presented on the Party Stage, where the day started off with Will Hoge and continued right on into the afternoon with performances from Chase Rice and one of our favorites, Charlie Worsham. It’s safe to say the music was spectacular, the crowd absolutely crazy (and beyond dedicated), and there wasn’t a moment that wouldn’t forever be memorable.
We started our day taking in Charlie Worsham at the Party Stage, making it just in time to catch his set after some issues getting lost in what I’d like to call the second circle of hell (aka The Las Vegas Strip). The insanity was well worth it. Charlie and his ever talented band brought everything to the stage, performing songs like “Rubberband,” “Could It Be,” and one of my absolute favorite tracks off his album, “Mississippi In July.” The set was short but sweet. My only complaint, they should have let him play longer. Seeing Charlie and his band is like being given a lesson as to what talent really is. It’s exceptional to see. From the gentle timbre of his voice to this quality he possesses that makes you feel like you’re sitting a jam session with him and the band. Engaged and attentive, telling you a story with all the honesty and hopefulness you could want in any performer. This guy is going places.
Next up we made our way to the Main Stage to take in The Cadillac Three. Their bluesy rock style and effervescent quality sent a surge of energy throughout the audience. They effortlessly combined their rootsy style with a stadium rock buoyancy that’s impossible to ignore. It was my first time seeing them live, after hearing bits and pieces off their debut self titled album, and it was truly an experience. There’s something about them live that doesn’t quite come across on a recording, it’s more alive, more to the point of who they are as a band. From their more authentic, back porch version of “Days of Gold” (which Jake Owen borrowed from them for his album), to the drawling “I’m Southern” there wasn’t a moment on stage that didn’t completely draw you in to the music. This is one band I would suggest you get into right away.
The young winner of the Voice, Danielle Bradbery, was definitely a crowd favorite at the festival. She was an adorable little blonde with a powerhouse voice, leaving no doubt that she did have the vocal chops to take on the world and win a talent competition. She played a lot of crowd favorites, “Young In America” and her debut single “Heart of Dixie.” While Danielle has the voice of an angel, she still possesses some of the reservations of a young performer. Her energy was low compared to other acts who took the stage throughout the night. Her music is generic female country music, nothing with too much attitude, a little soft, but specifically crafted to show off her voice. She’s super young, so I’m going to give Danielle the benefit of the doubt and believe that she’ll continue to grow and expand her musical exploration.
Cassadee Pope came running onto stage with all the energy of a wild animal. I don’t think she stopped moving for a single second throughout her set, which included her platinum single, “Wasting All These Tears” and her newest release “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart.” Her voice was on point, never missing a note or a single beat, and there’s nothing negative I can even say about her energy. But somehow her set still lacked luster, I don’t know if was the shortness of it or the fact that she seemed a bit disengaged from the crowd. There was just something missing. The two winners of the voice definitely have what it takes if they’d just take it a step further, stop trying so hard to fit into the perfect little female stereotype of country music and inject a bit more of their unique personalities.
The last act of the day for us was Thomas Rhett. This was also my first time being able to catch one of his sets, despite the fact that he’s done multiple sets at previous CMA Fests I’ve attended. Thomas is engaging, he’s outgoing from the moment he steps on stage, giving it his all and revving up the crowd with a moments notice. The audience loved when he did “Beer With Jesus” and sang along to every single word of “Something To Do With My Hands.” There’s no doubt this guy has fans across the nation, his rising fame is a testament to that, but after watching him on stage you can tell that this is just the beginning of his steady rise. He has what country music fans expect of its male stars; charisma, humbleness, and attainability.
We had a blast at the first day of Party for a Cause, despite having to cut out early, we saw a ton of great preformers. It’s no surprise here that our favorite acts of the day happen to be the lesser known, Charlie Worsham and The Cadillac Three absolutely blew us away.
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