There aren’t many country music concerts where you’ll hear covers of Eminem, Meghan Trainor and Wiz Khalifa songs. That’s why some purists won’t claim Florida Georgia Line as country. Some have labeled their music country-rap.
As my companion and I left the group’s Jan. 24 concert at Verizon Arena, we were entertained and appreciated the talents of the duo made up of Brian Kelley (Florida) and Tyler Hubbard (Georgia). However, we struggled as to what genre Florida Georgia Line fits. They aren’t really country, not really hip-hop, not really rock and not really pop. But maybe a combination of all? So, what is that called?
I’m not sure, but what I do know is that 12,846 fans — many were young girls clad in dresses and boots — were enjoying themselves. As was I. Florida Georgia Line’s sound is all party, and with beach balls flying through the crowd, the two played for more than an hour and included their chart toppers such as “Dirt,” “Get Your Shine On,” “Stay” and “This is How We Roll.”
The two kicked off the performance with an original song, “Sun Daze,” then dug in to the covers. Hubbard was spot on with his impersonation of Eminem in “Forgot About Dre,” believe it or not (one of my favorite rap songs). They also included the Garth Brooks favorite ‘Friends in Low Places” (see, there was some semblance of country).
The concert ended with arguably the group’s most popular song, “Cruise.” Kelley showed off his rap skills by including the remixed version of the song that features legendary hip-hopper Nelly.
Frankie Ballard and Thomas Rhett kicked off the concert that lasted more than three hours. Both of those young artists include more of a country kick in their music. Rhett, a rising star, belted out his hits but got the biggest ovation when he performed a cover of “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars.
Florida Georgia Line has come a long way since opening for Dierks Bentley at Riverfest 2013. While they won’t be confused with Johnny Cash or Alabama (Kelley did wear a vintage Alabama concert shirt), they are well-received by country music fans with an unusual mix that includes some country twang.