Music & Nightlife

Concert review: Phillip Phillips, Matt Nathanson pump up Charlotte crowd

Matt Nathanson and Phillip Phillips perform at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday night.
Matt Nathanson and Phillip Phillips perform at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday night. restone@charlotteobserver.com

Phillip Phillips promised some jammin’ Friday night, and he and Matt Nathanson delivered.

Nathanson – with his boyish charm and charismatic performance – combined with Phillips’ soulful voice and impressive guitar-playing made for a great night at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre. Despite the heat, about 1,500 people came out.

The concert opened with a lively performance by A Great Big World (which sings “Say Something”), and continued with mostly upbeat music the rest of the performance.

Phillips looked like he was having the most fun when he played his numerous guitar riffs with his band. A couple times, he turned around to jam with his band mates, seeming to forget about the crowd.

He opened with two minutes of impressive guitar-playing, singing his song “Hold On.” Throughout his hour-long set, Phillips played with probably five different guitars.

The hidden treasure of the band’s musical performance was the trumpet and trombone player, who added a unique sound to accompany the electric and acoustic guitar sections.

But at times, the band was so loud you couldn’t hear the words Phillips was singing. That was the challenge when Phillips played a new song from his unreleased third album. It took a minute before you could make out any of the lyrics.

Nonetheless, he offered a lively performance that had numerous people in the crowd standing and screaming.

Nathanson, meanwhile, looked like he was having the most fun when he was joking with people about watching him instead of texting. Although the crowd didn’t necessarily know all his music, everyone was on their feet after he ran back to the lawn, high-fiving people as he went.

Several times, Nathanson explained a bit about why he wrote a particular song before singing it. In this small gesture, he was able to open up and engage the crowd. He was funny and lighthearted, not embarrassed to shake his hips or joke about himself.

After starting to play Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and everyone started shouting the words, he laughed and said, “So you guys can sing!”

He joked that he couldn’t play that song in the middle of his set because none of his music would live up to it. But everyone was on their feet singing his best-known song, “Come On Get Higher.”

It would’ve been nice to see Phillips and Nathanson perform a couple songs together. But they and A Great Big World came out to sing a Prince song as a tribute to what the music industry has lost this year.

Each artist brought his own charm to Charlotte Friday night. And together, they brought the crowd to its feet.

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