Zach Bryan champions Lakers nostalgia and country-style catharsis to Arena

by Admin
Zach Bryan champions Lakers nostalgia and country-style catharsis to Arena

Dressed in jeans and a sleeveless Lakers T-shirt, his wispily mustached face slick with sweat, Zach Bryan recalled the recording of his song “Condemned” on Monday night as though it had taken place in some previous life: He was all of 23, he told the capacity crowd before him at Arena, when he and a buddy used the mattresses in an Airbnb to convert the place into a makeshift studio.

In fact, Bryan cut the raw and plaintive “Condemned” a mere five years ago. Yet so much has happened so quickly to this former Navy weapons specialist — now one of music’s biggest stars — that you can’t blame him for looking back like a tattooed grandpa doling out old war stories.

Monday’s concert was the second of three at the Lakers’ downtown home behind last year’s “Zach Bryan,” which debuted atop Billboard’s album chart the same week it spun off a No. 1 single in “I Remember Everything,” a mournful duet with Kacey Musgraves. In February, “I Remember Everything” — still a fixture today in the upper reaches of the Hot 100 and Spotify’s U.S. Top 50 — earned Bryan his first Grammy Award; in March, no less an admirer than Bruce Springsteen flew to New York amid a string of West Coast dates to join the 28-year-old singer and songwriter onstage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

Zach Bryan makes his way to the stage.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

The huge success Bryan has found since he started posting bare-bones country-folk tunes on Twitter and YouTube has helped open a path onto the pop charts for other rock-leaning white dudes — think Noah Kahan and Hozier and Benson Boone. Indeed, Bryan’s own audience has shifted remarkably in just the past two years or so, from a crowd long on middle-aged Wilco dads to a much younger following split about evenly between men and women. (If you were tempted in 2022 to think of Bryan and Morgan Wallen as representing opposing constituencies, you’re not tempted anymore.)

Closely observed and starkly phrased — “18 years old, full of hate / They shipped me off in a motorcade,” goes the vivid opening of “East Side of Sorrow” — Bryan’s songs are intimate meditations on work, family, romance and the peculiar desperation of longing to leave a small town you love. Yet he’s figured out how to super-size them for the arenas and stadiums he plays now: Backed by a rowdy seven-piece band at Crypto, where a cross-shaped stage was positioned in the middle of the floor, he invited the audience to sing along at top volume for the entire two-hour show, transforming private confession into an opportunity for shared catharsis.

Zach Bryan

Zach Bryan performs.

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

In a sense, that’s a deflection of the personal scrutiny involved in pop stardom — a move in keeping with Bryan’s general disinclination to fulfill the rituals of celebrity on any platform beyond his own. Again and again Monday night the house lights would come up at precisely the moment when you might’ve expected Bryan to strike some rock-god pose, drawing your eye instead to the thousands of others watching him watch them. At one point, he even brought a fan onstage to sing and play guitar on his song “Heading South,” passing the baton to a version of the kid he used to be.

Yet Bryan also took clear pleasure in having reached such rarefied air: His vintage Lakers shirt commemorated the team’s early-2000s NBA Finals three-peat; the night before, he wore one from the second of those three championships. And for all the intensity of the crowd’s howling, their voices never quite drowned out the ragged power of Bryan’s singing, which if anything has gotten more unruly as his success has brought him closer to the center of pop.

He ended the show, as he has most of those on his current tour, with a boisterous run through his song “Revival,” for which he was joined (à la Taylor Swift circa “1989”) by a handful of friends and famous(-ish) people that included his girlfriend, the podcaster Brianna “Chickenfry” LaPaglia, and the one-time UFC star Nate Diaz. As they wandered around the stage, pumping their fists and taking an endless series of selfies, Bryan beckoned Diaz close to his microphone — a guy who couldn’t believe where he’d found himself, eager to share the disorienting view.

Source Link

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.