Mat Kearney On Tour

For the past several weeks, O2O members have been attending and reviewing Mat Kearney’s concerts as he travels around the U.S. on his Young Love Tour. And last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending his concert in Nashville*. The member reviews absolutely raved about Mat, proclaiming him to be a fantastic live performer who interacted well with the crowd and sang his heart out. Their reviews had me quite excited about what to expect.

Mat played to a sold out crowd in the Cannery Ballroom in downtown Nashville. Mad props to the tour manager for giving me a photo pass because I was able to squeeze my way up through the crowd (flashing my badge all the way) and hang out right next to stage for the entire concert! I was only supposed to take photos during the first three songs but I got so caught up in the music that I lost track of how many songs had been played and the security guard had to give me the “cut it out” signal. I was thoroughly embarrassed. Fortunately, I had befriended said security guard before the music began and since I immediately put my camera way at his signal, our relationship was still on solid ground.

Mat lead right in with songs from Young Love and then mixed it up with selections from previous albums. Being so close to the stage was exhilarating and well, loud! My poor ears. The music was wonderful but there were a few times when I had to cover my right ear with my hand (side closest to the bass and the drum set) to preserve my hearing!

All the member reviews indicated that at some point during the performance, Mat makes his way into the audience while singing and interacts with the crowd. I looked around at the packed room and seriously doubted that would happen but he proved me wrong! There was at least a three foot gap between the stage and the crowd control barrier but Mat leaned forward, reached out his hand to the people in the very front, grabbed a hand, put a foot on the barrier rail and disappeared into the crowd! He made his way through the fans and back to the stage which he hopped onto (it’s four feet high!) with the greatest of ease.

I think the only way I can accurately describe Mat and his band would be “energetic”! Even the slower songs held an unmistakable energy. Mat and company where completely focused and absorbed in the music the entire night.

Mat finished out the evening with a 3-song encore of Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” (performed with Leagues, the show’s opening act), “Ships In The Night” and “Hey Mama”.  As the opening bars of “Hey Mama” began, Mat turned and started singing the song directly to his wife, interjecting at one point, “She’s here tonight!” (and she was, standing backstage, about six feet away from me). It was a very fun moment.

The Fall 2011 portion of the Young Love tour ends next month in Minneapolis. According to his website, Mat will be touring throughout 2012 as well, so be on the look out for new 2012 dates and locations to be announced!

Here’s a little round-up of quotes from some of our members who reviewed attended concerts in their neck of woods:

  • Tracy (Jacksonville, FL) of Cotton Pickin’ Cute – “During the concert Mat had conversations with the audience and livened up the crowd quickly. This was a small venue for them to play and he really made it feel personal. Walking out into the crowd he was all over the floor greeting the fans while singing. As he headed our way I threw my hand up in a high five way when his eye caught mine. You can imagine my shock when he high five’d me back and threw his arm around me while singing.”
  • Bianca (Athens, GA) of Slick Housewives – “Mat Kearney took the stage and from the first song, I was blown away! Mat has an amazing talent not only vocally but switched between an acoustic guitar to electric guitar, and piano. Many of the songs were upbeat and hip and the audience was dancing and singing along. … He surprised everyone when he jumped off stage and made his way around the room. I have a short video where he sat right beside me. Throughout the night, Mat was friendly and engaged the audience with jokes, conversation and heartfelt stories!”
  • Fadra (Carrboro, NC) of All Things Fadra – “I am thrilled to report that Mat sounds better in person, has an amazing voice, switches octaves with the greatest of ease, needs no backup on vocals, has great onstage presence, and TOTALLY played to the audience. That was my favorite part. He actually walked out into the crowd and played. He did a little freestyle rap mentioning both Tarheels and Carolina on My Mind. The crowd of proud North Carolinians went wild. He has an amazing energy and the whole show felt, well, happy. Everyone was smiling and having fun.”
  • Brandy (Charlottsville, VA) of Newly Crunchy Mama of 3 – “From the first song, I was blown away by just how much raw talent Mat possesses. His voice is smooth and mellow, and he has an astounding vocal range. He also puts a lot of emotion into his singing, which was evident by his soulful performance. Mat also switched seamlessly between an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, and piano. (Like I said, he’s one talented individual!) Many of the songs were upbeat and fun, and the audience was dancing, singing along, and really feeling the music. I was impressed how Mat Kearney could go from a fun, upbeat song to a mellower, slower ballad type song without missing a beat. … Mat and his band had a wonderful, almost effortless energy about them, and it was clear that they truly enjoyed what they were doing. He was friendly, and engaged the audience in a lot of conversation. It was almost as if he were talking with friends, which gave the concert a more personal feel than a lot of shows I have attended in the past. Mat even jumped into the crowd and made his was all the way to the upstairs balcony, greeting the fans who were seated at the bar tables, all while singing.”
  • Melissa (Milwaukee, WI) of A Broken Compass – “The concert was simple but intense — in a classy and engaging way. Mat (as if I’m on a first-name basis – HAH!) even ventured way out into the crowd at one point, interacting with the audience in a way that was endearing and not “showy.” And while many concerts I’ve attended include the artist having something of a monologue going during a live performance, Kearney didn’t go that route at all. Frankly? He didn’t need to. His music was it. Sincere.”
  • Cherie (Bloomington, IN) of Queen of Free – “Kearney is just so darn likeable in concert.  It seriously feels like you’re sitting in his living room having a little chat.  And whether you’ve listened to his music over and over again or are experiencing it for the first time, a live experience like that will certainly make you a fan for life {and you’ll find yourself singing along in both instances, too}. … The evening was filled with so many fun memories . . . like the fact that Mat Kearney came into the audience and stood next to me while singing for a bit.”
  • Ann (Pine Mountain, GA) of Mundane Magic – “As soon as Mat started his set people rose up out of their chairs and headed toward the stage area on the sand. Boyfriends took their girlfriends by the hand and kids were dancing along in the sand. it was clear that some in the crowd had come to see him specifically, but I am sure he won some new fans that day. Callaway’s beach was the perfect setting for Kearney’s well-written words and heartfelt singing. As the set transitioned through both familiar and new pieces, Mat Kearney delivered a crowd-pleasing performance at the Harvest Moon Festival.”

Thanks to all the members who have gone out to the shows! If you’ve attended one of Mat’s Young Love concerts, what was your experience?

If you’d like to see more photos from that night, I have more on my Flickr page.
*All the tickets given to O2O members were provided courtesy of Warner Records. My tickets to the Nashville show were purchased by One2One Network.


  1. I hope he travels west because I would LOVE to see him perform live.

  2. I was bummmed when I found out I wasn’t going to be able to catch Mat Kearney’s 2011 tour, but recently heard he was visiting Kansas City in February of 2012! Thanks for the post. It was interesting reading everyone’s comments about his live performance! I’m stoked to catch his show!

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