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Concert review: Gavin Degraw and Andy Grammer bring Columbus crowd together with personable performances

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Andy Grammer and Gavin DeGraw tag teamed at EXPRESS LIVE! indoor venue and delivered a fantastic evening of pump-up music on Wednesday night.

Wrabel opened the show, playing a mixture of sweet piano and upbeat music to warm up the crowd. Though the singer-songwriter seemed overwhelmed by the size of the venue, he was very genuine and down to earth, chatting with the crowd between songs and setting the laidback and intimate mood of the show.

Grammer took the stage with his band and instantly revved up the energy, playing his first hit “Keep Your Head Up” and getting the crowd to sing and dance along with him. Grammer had an amazing stage presence, interacting with the crowd and looking genuinely excited and happy to be performing. He and his band were very social, breaking down the invisible barrier between stage and audience by dancing together and jamming out. The band even went as far as to put on something of a skit to accompany Grammer’s song “Forever,” acting out what the singer was saying about just how long it takes a woman to get ready.

His enthusiasm for performing might have something to do with the fact that he loves to play in Ohio.

“I say this every time I come, but Ohio is the best place to play music,” Grammer said.

Grammer’s affinity for Ohio goes back to his musical roots. He’s said before that got his first big break in this state, with his hit “Keep Your Head Up” tested out on Ohio radio stations.

Throughout the set, Grammer showed off his musical talent, not only picking up a guitar, but also playing piano and trumpet for select songs.

He also graced the audience with a new song that hasn’t been released yet, and will be on his next album. “Good Parts” began with Grammer alone at a piano, singing about how he wants to skip pleasantries and get to the deep, meaningful conversations (not leaving the “good parts” out).

Grammer finished strong with hits from his new album “Honey I’m Good” and “Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah),” leaving the crowd energized and in a good mood.

Between sets, the audience grew restless waiting about 45 minutes for DeGraw to take the stage. But the wait was well rewarded, a burst of sound, lights and energy grabbing attention again as DeGraw jumped right in with “Chariot,” his band not holding back on the bass and drums as he played at the piano.

If Grammer is to be commended on his stage presence, DeGraw should be noted for his personal approach. Throughout his set, DeGraw would constantly get on his knees to be closer to the crowd and would sing right to a single person.

Kicking off the performance with a bang, DeGraw played a few more of his popular songs, including “Best I Ever Had” and “Sweeter,” but then he announced that they would be taking on a different approach for the next few songs.

“We’re gonna take it back to the roots,” he said as the crew set to work rearranging the stage.

He and his band rearranged themselves into a “campfire approach,” everyone sitting in a line and switching to acoustic for the next set of songs, including a cover of “Let It Go” by James Bay and “Soldier,” before which DeGraw individually pointed to and thanked each of the veterans in the venue.

After having slowed things down for a bit, DeGraw had to attempt to raise the energy level of the crowd again, taking a few songs to ease back in before inviting the crowd to sing along to his hits “Not Over You” and “I Don’t Want to Be.”

For the encore DeGraw played one of his new singles, “She Sets The City On Fire,” then Grammer and his band joined DeGraw back out on stage for a cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” to end the night. The crowd left feeling more connected than when they arrived.

Having Grammer and DeGraw co-headline worked amazingly well. Both had a great way of making the crowd feel at home, whether it was Grammer dancing and encouraging the crowd to jam out with him and his band or DeGraw reaching down for high-fives and chatting between set changes.
Thanks to their interactive approaches, the concert felt personal and left a good feeling throughout the crowd even when it was over.

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