The Long Road 2022: The Big Bad Review – Day 3

Our third and final day at the festival again found us headed to the Front Porch stage early doors. We heard Tim Prottey-Jones on the YETI Tailgate Bar while we waited for James Riley to come on with his 90s Nashville set. Both artists were good and helped set the tone of the day pretty well, much like before. Whether it was the solo acoustic act or the full-on country/bluegrass band, they were both good to sit back and relax too after queuing far too long for a coffee.

Lauren Morrow grew on me a lot throughout her set. While the whole singer and acoustic guitar setup had grown a little thin on me by this point in the weekend, Lauren was such a nice, wholesome person that you couldn’t not have a good time. Whether it was the fun stories she told behind the songs or getting genuinely choked up about finally getting to return to the UK, it was a real pleasure to watch. She has clear Dolly Parton inspirations and ‘Barbara Jean’ is one of my favourite tracks of the whole weekend, honestly.

Next up were Gangstagrass. My god, hold my beer. Remember on the last day when I said that there were a few contenders to set of the weekend? Well, this is another one up there with Hudson. They are a unique blend of Bluegrass and Public Enemy style rap which honestly should work nowhere near as well as it does. This was a rock show in everything but sound. The guys owned the stage and the crowd and honestly tore the roof off the whole festival. They had such a presence about them that made it impossible to take your eyes off them, whether you are into the genres or not.

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And, surprisingly, the tent was PACKED. Given the rap element, I kind of expected the band to be more niche. But nope, the crowd was the biggest I’d seen in there and they were bouncing around, singing and doing whatever the band asked them to do. And they’re all so talented, both at their instruments and the insane 5-part harmonies. And the lyrics were actually meaningful and profound, too. Man, I cannot gush about this band enough. They should and will be massive. put them on any stage at any festival and they’d go down a storm. SEE THEM.

We headed back to the main stage then for Kyle Daniel. We actually saw him twice, once with his band and once on his own acoustically later on. Both sets were great, and very different. Being rockier than most on the bill and sounding like a fun combination of Blackberry Smoke and Chris Stapleton, it was right up my street. Plus, his voice was so amazing that it translated amazingly over to acoustic. Two great sets from a guy that I definitely need to check out more. He could be massive over here, given the sucess of bands like Black Stone Cherry and The Cadillac Three.

We got to see a full set from Sunny Sweeney next. It felt a little like Stevie Nicks doing country, that’s probably the closest thing I can think of to describe it. It was a good, fun, set and another that was nice to chill out to. Much like Brandy the day before, very typical country music, but with a little more of a pop edge. She’s a good frontwoman and everyone did their parts well.

We caught the all-female bluegrass band Della Mae next and had a lot of fun. I mean, how can you not have fun seeing bluegrass live? They were pretty polished which is sometimes rare in the genre and played a good set to a loud, supportive crowd.

Then it was back to the main stage for the final run of acts. Lindsey Ell was great, but man does she have a lot of energy on stage. Like that isn’t a bad thing at all, but she was almost hyperactive between songs and could have been slightly off-putting at times. Still, she has a fantastic back catalogue of pop-rock-country songs and played a great set showing of a lot of them. Her band were great too. I couldn’t help but enjoy myself watching her and she’s another artist I’d love to catch again.

Next up were Locash, the third in the tie of best performances of the weekend. The most bro-country band to ever bro-country. It’s so easy to love them just as much as it is for some to inevitably hate them. I found myself struggling when they first came on, and it seemed like the crowd were sharing my sentiment. However, as soon as they started to interact with the crowd and their personalities came out, they quickly turned the tides. By the end of the set they had everyone swaying and jumping around.

Whether it was their big hits like ‘I Love This Life’ or ‘Beach Boys’ or covers of Backstreet Boys and Fountains of Wayne, they owned that stage and the crowd watching them. I don’t have a bad thing to say about them. Both brothers are phenomenal frontmen and the band behind them were excellent. Heck, the lead guitar was far too over-qualified. I wasn’t expecting to hear any sweep-picking at a country festival, never mind multiple solos with it! I cannot wait or these guys to announce a UK tour, I’ll be there in a heartbeat. A HUGE highlight of the weekend.

Then we reached the headliner of the night, the mighty Cadillac Three. They’re the main reason I wanted to go to the festival aside for Chris Young. I’ve seen them a handful of times already but not too recently, so I was excited to see their new stuff.

I loved it, but unfortunately there seemed to be a bit of a disconnect with some of the crowd. Don’t get me wrong, their bigger tracks like ‘White Lightening’ and ‘The South’ won people over by the end and everyone was interacting. However, they opened on a lot of their newer stuff and did a whole ‘Tabasco and Sweet Tea’ section that even bored me a little. I love COUNTRY FUZZ and hearing stuff off that was great. However, maybe at a festival where it seems that not as many people are into the heaviest band on the line-up playing a bit more of their older stuff may have helped. And while I loved the THICC guitar tone, it made them sound even heavier and clearly scared a few people off. It was a great set overall but maybe the wrong one for the crowd they had.

Then we got a real treat. Everette opened the after-party in the Insterstate, and it was amazing. They played the same sort of set but in a completely different environment than the previous set it was so interesting. The tent was pretty packed and everyone was loving it, dancing around and singing when they could. Also, my god do the band do a FANTASTIC cover of ‘Rocketman’. And bringing on Jared and the boys from TC3 on at the end was just the icing on top of the awesome cake. What a great way to close a great weekend!

And there we have it, our review of everything we saw at The Long Road 2022! We loved every minute of it, having discovered loads of new amazing bands and artists to listen to. I want to see a lot of the bands we saw again and we’ll definitely be back next year!

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