DC’s premier country radio station hosted their yearly WMZQ Fest on May 21st 2016 at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA. Although the weather was gloomy and the rain was consistently coming down, that didn’t stop country music fans from tailgating, waiting in long lines, and enjoying the side stage performances before the show.
WMZQ Fest is an all-day event starting around 4pm. The side stage is filled with continuous country music newcomers. BBR’s Runaway June was first to perform and they set the scene for the remainder of the afternoon. A dominant trio made up of Hannah Mulholland, Naomi Cooke and Jennifer Wayne – Runaway June has endless talent that is captivating to say the least. Acoustic sets are always nice due to the fact that the talent is raw and untouched. It’s real. Performing songs like “Wild West” and their debut single “Lipstick” Runaway June showcased their natural performing abilities. Between their amazingly stunning good looks and their massive amount of vocal skills, it seems these three ladies are ready to take over country music.
LANco is a five man band via Warner Chappell and they are on the rise. A country band with some pop and rock influence, LANco is striking interest with country fans all over. Good vocals and a fair performance was delivered.
Big Machine struck gold with recording artist Brett Young. An enthusiastic Young took the stage and most certainly conveyed his artistry. Vocally gifted with a knack for songwriting, Young will continue to rise.
Chris Lane took the stage full speed. Stage presence is not something Lane lacks, in fact, his ability to entertain is almost astounding. A true performer at heart, WMZQ picked the right guy to get the fans going.
A flirtatious Lauren Alaina was last to perform on the WMZQ side stage. A sweet southern spirit illuminated the Mercury Nashville recording artist. Between bringing a male fan up on stage and singing some well-known pop covers, Alaina’s set was fun, upbeat and definitely worth watching.
As The Keeper of the Flame tour kicked off, Brothers Osborne was first to open things up. The two Maryland natives take pride in being different as far as music goes. Their sound is authentic and they mix a lot of Americana, blues and even soul into their songs. They didn’t need fancy graphics or lighting, their performance was eye catching without any of the extras. They performed their well-known singles “Rum” and “Stay A Little Longer.” Also, their newest single “21 Summer” was included. The duo also added in some tracks from their debut album Pawn Shop. Although their set was short-lived, it was undeniably enjoyable.
Another opening artist, Kip Moore, who was highly anticipated by fans was next to perform. Opening with “Wild Ones” a track from his most recent album, Moore led the concert goers into a much more lively vibe. He Performed all of his big singles such as “Beer Money” and “Hey Pretty Girl.” Moore was in the zone. A rather timeless artist with a timeless voice, he brings back an old timey feel to his performances. While on stage, he really is captivating.
As for headliner Miranda Lambert, something seemed a little different, yet better. A newly divorced version of the outlaw diva, she seemed much more confident and proud. You won’t find a big stage set-up on Lambert’s tour, just a girl with a voice is all you really need. However, you will find all the songs that fans love such as “Heart Like Mine” and “Kerosene.” She also played softer songs like “Over You.” An emotional moment for me occurred during “All Kinds of Kinds” which threw me off from my note taking. It definitely made me vulnerable due to the circumstances of being a mother to a special needs child. Isn’t that what music is supposed to do? It’s supposed to make you feel, make you cry, make you laugh…all of those things. Music is a powerful thing. Lambert has a gift of touching people with her music. Even more so during a live performance where her passion shines through. Although it’s been a rough year for the two-time Grammy award winner, she has overcome the obstacles to put together one hell of a tour. A role model to girls everywhere, Lambert slayed every single song during her set. A solid performance filled with amazing guitar riffs, outstanding vocals and a little sass. Perhaps Lambert could conquer the Entertainer of the Year nomination in the future.
Do you have a favorite Miranda Lambert song? Tweet me and let me know @brittwv.