December 12, 2014

Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center

Young country singer-guitarist Hunter Hayes probably played a few too many ballads (not that his predominantly teenage girl fan base seemed to mind) at last night’s 100-minute concert at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center. But he’s such an enthusiastic performer, it hardly mattered. Making the most of a huge stage that included two catwalks that extended onto the floor where he could slap high fives with fans in the pit, he even performed a couple songs from a remote microphone set up in the cheap seats. Set closing tracks such as “Love Makes Me” and “Tattoo” turned into vigorous jams thanks to the agility of his five-piece band, a group of scrappy looking guys who looked like they could be in a jam band. While he didn’t quite have the vocal range for Train’s “Hey Soul Sister,” a song he covered in the encore, he got some assistance from the show’s openers, the Railers and Dan + Shay, who capably pitched in during the performance, bringing the concert to a vigorous conclusion. Hayes might be too pop for country and too country for pop, but those lines don’t matter so much these days. The real trick will be keeping his young audience as it ages. (Jeff Niesel)
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Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center
Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center
Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center
Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center
Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center
Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center
Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center
Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center
Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center
Hunter Hayes, the Railers and Dan + Shay Performing at the Wolstein Center