Talking to Brantley Gilbert on the phone is like calling up any one of your down-home buddies -- he's friendly, casual, charming. His easy warmth and laid-back disposition are abundant, even though he's busy completing his "honey do list" while home in Georgia for only a few days. He talks about his wife and his new son, and you can hear the pride through the phone.
"Right now, having a 4-month-old is what my whole world revolves around, but I have to remind myself music is what people care about," Gilbert says with a chuckle.
Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion
WHEN — 2018 season thru September
WHERE — Rogers
INFO — 443-5600, arkansasmusicpavilion.com
And people do care about his music. As one of only four country artists with back-to-back platinum certified albums, Gilbert has a passionate fan base where his music -- all written by him, telling the stories of his life -- resonates.
This tour "is all about the people who know there's more to me than tattoos and chains," Gilbert says of his outlaw exterior, which can distract people from what he's really about. "All of [the songs] are stories; all the records are chapters of my life. There are some songs that are more intimate and may be hard to play live, and I've found that [those] songs that are closest to the chest for me are the ones people relate to the most.
"Those are songs about my faith," he goes on. "I'm a rowdy dude, I hang with a rough crowd, but I'm a believer first."
Gilbert recognizes some people may come to his shows because "this guy sings songs about fighting and drinking," or because the swagger and the motorcycles make them think he's a real partier. And while all that might be true -- "When they see us perform, [the audience] is going to get the high energy, testosterone side [of the music]" -- fan connection is and always has been the most important thing to Gilbert in his music. For "The Ones That Like Me Tour," Gilbert reached out to his fans, asking what they wanted to see and hear. As a result, what opens the 2018 season at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion on April 28 promises to be one hell of a night of music.
Coming into the AMP's 13th season, many live music fans in the area have noticed this year's Cox Concert Series is, by volume, the most diverse lineup the venue has hosted. Brian Crowne, vice president of the AMP, assures that's not by coincidence.
"We've established a venue nationally which is being received very professionally by the artists, and the managers, and the agents. And we're selling tickets for most of the shows, and that makes us an attractive market. So while we're not a major market, we're a market that people are looking at.
"I've purposely tried to book for the diversity of our community, not diversity of cultures. I book for our tastes," he goes on. "At the end of the day, we want to be successful and be part of what makes it great to live in Northwest Arkansas."
One or two more shows may sneak their way into this year's schedule, but for now, this is the full announced season:
'The Ones That Like Me Tour'
with Aaron Lewis and Josh Phillips
7 p.m. Tickets $32.75-$62.75*
Primus and Mastodon
with All Them Witches and JJUUJJUU
7 p.m. Tickets $42.50-$56.75*
"That show to me is going to play to kind of a cult following. It's not going to be a huge-selling show, but the people that are there are going to be really excited about it," Crowne says of the alternative rock and heavy metal pairing. "Musicality for that [show] is going to be real high level. "
Dave Matthews Band
8 p.m. Sold Out.
'The Fixer Upper Tour'
8 p.m. Tickets $30-$99*
'Part of the Light Tour'
with Neko Case
7:30 p.m. Tickets $46.50-$76.50*
"I feel like Ray LaMontagne is his own artist -- it's not pop, it's not indie, it's not Americana, but it kind of speaks to a lot of different people. His songs tell really cool stories," Crowne shares.
'All American Road Show'
with Marty Stuart and Brent Cobb
7 p.m. Sold Out.
Country music sensation Chris Stapleton returns to the AMP for his second sold-out show -- his first was in 2016. Contact venue for waitlist information.
'The Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore'
Kesha and Macklemore
7 p.m. Tickets $36-$100.50*
"LAWN 4-PACK" $31/each
"I think that crowd's going to be a surprisingly diverse crowd from an age range," Crowne offers. "One of the things I love about live music is it's kind of a melting pot -- you can put people from multiple generations in the same room and nobody feels uncomfortable. So that's what I look forward to with shows like that: surprising people that we booked it, and having people be surprised at who they're enjoying the show next to."
Chicago and REO Speedwagon
with Michael Tolcher
7:30 p.m. Tickets $36.50-$129.50*
"LAWN 4-PACK" $30/each
Symphony of Northwest Arkansas
7:30 p.m. Tickets $3-$35*
One of the region's largest fireworks displays and a Fourth of July tradition, the annual Fireworks Spectacular with SoNA returns.
'The Monolith Tour'
Thirty Seconds to Mars
with Walk the Moon, K. Flay and Welshly Arms
6 p.m. Tickets $29.50-$104.50*
'Trip Around the Sun Tour'
with Old Dominion
7:30 p.m. Tickets $60-$109*
7:30 p.m. Tickets $39.50-$61.50*
'hopeless fountain kingdom' Final Installment Tour
with Jessie Reyez
7:30 p.m. Tickets $30-$65*
"LAWN 4-PACK" $25/each
'Flicker World Tour'
with Maren Morris
7 p.m. Tickets $29.50-$107*
'Kidz Bop Live 2018' tour
4 p.m. Tickets $25-$49.50*
"LAWN 4-PACK" $18.75/each
8 p.m. Tickets $35-$99.50*
"LAWN 4-PACK" $30/each
Weezer and Pixies
with Sleigh Bells
7:30 p.m. Tickets $34.50-$75*
Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday
with The Story So Far
6:30 p.m. Tickets $29.50-$59.50*
"LAWN 4-PACK" $22.50/each
with Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla $ign, YBN Nahmir, P-Lo and Murda Beatz
6:30 p.m. Tickets $39.50-$79.50*
'Final World Tour'
with Lamb of God, Anthrax, Testament and Napalm Death
5 p.m. Tickets $49.50-$89.50*
"It's one of those shows that has been kind of fun to land; people think you're never going to book that at the Walmart AMP. It's definitely different," Crowne says of thrash metal group Slayer's farewell tour. "A couple years ago when we did Breaking Benjamin and KORN, we had 6,000-plus people there. There's a market for that. And [Slayer] was a fun one [in] the people that surprised me who were excited about" the announcement.
'Graffiti U World Tour'
with Lindsay Ell
7:30 p.m. Tickets $39-$101*
Country superstar Keith Urban makes his AMP debut this year.
'The Voicenotes Tour'
with Hailee Steinfeld
7:30 p.m. Tickets $32-$79.40*
"LAWN 4-PACK" $27/each
After he shot to stardom with the release of his debut single "See You Again," singer Charlie Puth and his distinguishable falsetto has already enjoyed a string of hits with song like "One Call Away," "We Don't Talk Anymore" and "How Long" from his forthcoming sophomore album.
Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band
7:30 p.m. Tickets $55.50-$105*
"I've been pursuing Ringo since we opened the building in 2014. Not because he's going to be the biggest selling act, but he's one of the last two Beatles living on the planet and having the chance to get an iconic artist like that is something we wanted to try to bring to Northwest Arkansas," Crowne reveals. "It's going to be a special night of music. An icon in the building, to me, is something! I'm pretty proud we got to land that one."
'Honky Tonk Highway Tour'
7:30 p.m. Tickets $46.75-$106.75*
'Forever On Your Side Tour'
with Johnnyswim and The Rocketboys
7 p.m. Tickets $30-$60*
NAN What's Up on 04/08/2018
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