Photo: Andy Barron, Courtesy of

Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show Tour is One Big Guitar and Vocals Showcase

While artists in the country music industry have expanded and branched out to other genres, mainly pop radio, pure country lovers can rely on Grammy-award-winner Chris Stapleton to stick to the simple things that make the genre as legendary as it is. The Kentucky native brought his All-American Road Show Tour, supported by new singer-songwriter Brent Cobb and traditional country star Marty Stuart, to a packed Jiffy Lube Live on a crisp, cool October evening, and blew our minds with soulful vocals and effortlessly intricate guitar solos – but we expected nothing less.

The outdoor Virginia venue was crowded with fans of all ages, from music-loving teenagers to millennial couples out for a date night to older folks that idolize Stapleton. He had the full amphitheater on its feet from the very first guitar-fueled outlaw song “Midnight Train to Memphis” to the last song before the encore – everyone’s favorite bluesy ballad “Tennessee Whiskey” from his breakout album Traveller.

Stapleton appeared on a dome-like, sound-structured stage that provided different colored bright lights for each song, and the crowd soon gathered that the unique stage shape was made for really honing in on the perfect projection of his glorious soulful concert sound. His band kept up the powerful energy with a rhythm guitar, a bass, drums, a pedal steel guitar and Stapleton on lead guitar – and when you’re able to both see and hear him on guitar, his hands literally look like they were made to do nothing else.

The setlist swayed toward Chris’ best anthems about drinking whiskey, smoking weed and being lonely and broken-hearted, making it practically effortless to appeal to the Saturday night Virginia crowd while letting them take over the chorus for some of the bigger known tunes. It was an impeccable mix of songs from all three albums, including Grammy-winning album Traveller, From A Room: Volume 1 and From A Room: Volume 2 (both released in 2017).  In the ideal medley of pure country hymns, we heard “Broken Halos,” an emotional lullaby newer to country radio right now, and “Nobody to Blame,” his bad-boy break up song that was released in 2015.

Jiffy Lube Live was amped with extended guitar solos and heavy, passion-driven riffs, but even through the mind-blowing instrumentality, Stapleton’s vocals shined brighter, raspier and dreamier than ever. And as one of the best artists of this generation, it’s only fitting that he continues to share his talent from city to city by incorporating three lengthy legs of his All-American Road Show Tour, which finally concludes the first weekend of November in Baltimore after touring since May 2017. See the rest of the tour dates and learn more about Chris Stapleton at

Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr, Bristow, VA; 


Quirky Bands Can Rock Too: Arcade Fire at Jiffy Lube Live

Glittering kimonos, a giant disco ball and tambourines thrust into the crowd were just a few of the highlights from Arcade Fire’s show at Jiffy Lube Live on Friday night. But would you really expect anything less quirky from a band like Canadian-based Arcade Fire? Maybe not, but that doesn’t keep their show from being any less exciting each time lead singer Win Butler and the band, including wife Régine Chassagne and brother Will, hit the stage.

Where theatrics for Arcade Fire’s Reflektor tour came in the form of luminous silvers and golds and flashing mirrors everywhere, their Everything Now Continued tour – a second round set for their fifth album Everything Now (released July 2017) – uses vivid colors and giant screens to symbolize the album’s themes of consumerism, content overload and hopelessness in our modern age. Plenty of reflective objects are in the mix too, as technology is a running theme for the band.

Setting a subtle tone to open the show, Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” was followed by an instrumental version of Arcade Fire’s “Everything Now (Continued)” before the musicians appeared. But as the band hit the stage with their classic anthem “Wake Up,” the show went from whimsical violins to foot-stomping fun that had the whole audience singing along.

“Put Your Money on Me,” “We Don’t Deserve Love” and the Chassagne-fronted “Electric Blue” from the band’s latest album were performed in succession early on in the set, but not many more songs from Everything Now made the setlist. It seemed this leg of the tour is less about the band promoting their new album and more about having fun and giving some lesser-played songs some love. Cue the dance-inducing “Here Comes the Night Time” transporting listeners to Chassagne’s home country of Haiti during Carnival, or decade-old lyrics that could have been written for 2018 in “Suburban War,” where Win sings, “Now the music divides us into tribes // Choose your side, I’ll choose my side.”

Other songs proved not just old favorites, but reminders that many genres make up the band’s sound. For all their labels – self-prescribed or not – as the friendly Canadian hipsters that use zany instruments like accordions and keytars, it can be easy to think of Arcade Fire as just a breezy indie rock band. But jumping around and shouting the lyrics to “Neighborhoods #3 (Power Out)” and “Creature Comfort,” it struck me that they’re authentic rock and rollers to the core.

Other memorable moments from the night included the band entering the stage by walking through the crowd, Chassagne (who I swear played almost every instrument on the stage at least once) dancing with concertgoers during “Afterlife” and Will continuing to bang his drum during the show closer despite having tripped and sprained his ankle.

With the show coming to an end, Win noted that a portion of the money made from the night would go toward the Arcade Fire <3 Haiti campaign with Partners in Health. The band then broke out in fan-favorite “Rebellion (Lies)” that had the whole crowd shouting “Every time you close your eyes // Lies, lies!” proving that indie darlings Arcade Fire can rock with the best of them.

Learn more about Arcade Fire here.


Lindsey Stirling Lights Up Stage, Helps Wake Up Evanescence from Hiatus

Lindsey Stirling emerged onstage at Jiffy Lube Live on July 24 with sparkling shoes, the eyes of the audience moving with her footwork, and her bow moving in even quicker speed.

She wasn’t the only violinist on stage. The orchestra, Cellogram, spanned the width of the stage and so did she – twirling and skipping from one side to the other, sometimes stopping center stage to body roll in sync with her four back up dancers.

It’s rare violinists get such a spotlight, and Stirling proved she is much more. The music and dancing were excellent, but the night was a full circle of entertainment including comedy, magic and motivational messages throughout.

Stirling gave us a new stage set with each song, changing outfits and on-stage props. She quipped, “Yes I did start this show in three costumes” … why did she bother to wear makeup? “Because I care about you, that’s why.”

For her second song, she was a skeleton playing her way around a graveyard and towering tombstones, one donning the name Piers Morgan, who gave her critical comments during her “America’s Got Talent” performances.

While Stirling held her own with the high-energy instrumentals, the crowd roared when Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee returned to the stage to sing Stirling’s original “Shatter Me.” After Lee scrambled off, Stirling exclaimed her excitement for touring with Evanescence, “for years I’ve been a casual fan” she adds as the big screen moved off her to a video of Stirling at just 15, lip syncing in a dark choppy haircut and t-shirt with friends to “Bring Me To Life”

“It didn’t matter how many times people told me I didn’t have what it took… I saw something in myself that nobody else could see.”

Stirling had star power but she was also reachable, almost like she would be the type of friend you could casually message her about your problems and get a three paragraph response. Between songs, her message always went back to empowering the audience to strive for their own spotlight. She didn’t slow down once, and the crowd was feeding her the energy right back.

Evanescence had a more subdued performance, with applause, some whistles coming after each song but little interaction from the audience. Fans coming to hear the classics and to rock hard might be disappointed to hear mellowed versions with the backing of Cellogram.

However, for their first tour after a six-year hiatus, a slightly new sound is to be expected – refreshing the songs we memorized long ago. Lee’s vocals were as powerful as ever and with her bell-sleeved black dress and dark trailing hair, she’s still the same goth queen – just now conducting an orchestra with her voice.

Lee stops and introduces a cover of “Across The Universe” by The Beatles with “one of my favorite things about music is the ability to take you to another place, another time…” followed by Stirling making her first appearance, before her set, with their collaborative hit, “Hi-Lo.”

While most of Lee’s on stage time was spent singing or playing the piano, or singing and playing the piano, another introduction came with “My Immortal.” It’s “gained meaning for me along the way and now I love it more. It’s become about our relationship, everything we survived together. I’m so grateful for this crazy ride.” This song remained nearly untouched from any of the twists added to their other hits.

More cheers came from playing “Lost in Paradise,” “Your Star,” and the conclusion to the 14-song set with “Imperfection.”

The tour is still new – Stirling, Evanescence and the live orchestra will be playing across the U.S. until September, promoting the album Synthesis.

For more information about Stirling and Evanescence’s tour, visit here.

Photo: Shervin Lainez

Lindsey Stirling Shows She’s More Than A Violin Player

It’s not often someone known primarily for her masterful violin skills crosses over to the mainstream pop charts, but Lindsey Stirling is no ordinary star.

Highly skilled in dance, art and of course, her string instrument of choice, the 31-year-old innovative musician bolted to fame thanks to a series of choreographed violin performances on her personal YouTube channel a few years ago.

“The classical arts aren’t appreciated as they once were, so I think it’s exciting that I’m able to put my own twist on it,” Stirling says. “It’s a huge part of the arts that shouldn’t be forgotten and I bring to light classical elements with what I do, and brings to light the violin to people who maybe never thought they would love it.”

She found success with the release of her 2012 self-titled debut album and two other critically acclaimed works followed, including a popular holiday collection was released last year. She’s also won two Billboard Music Awards and finished second on last year’s Dancing With the Stars.

“There was this really cool moment when I was offered to play a show in Italy and my parents came with me and when we arrived, there were all these posters with my face on it, and it was the weirdest thing to realize these people in this small Italian town were looking forward to seeing me,” she says. “People were asking for autographs and giving me fan art and I just knew my life had changed.”

On July 24, Stirling will co-headline a show with Evanescence at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, both sets backed by a full orchestra.

“It’s something different from anything I have ever done on tour before, and that makes it really fun,” she says. “It’s been fun to reinvent the music and have it all orchestrated and it will be this cool fusion between live orchestra, rock elements and electronic elements all mixed together. That’s going to make it pretty magical.”

Stirling is excited to be coming back to the area, associating it with the first time she ever had Sweetgreen, her favorite restaurant, and is even more eager to be sharing this tour with Evanescence, as she considers herself a huge fan of Amy Lee and the band behind “Bring Me to Life.”

“I’m going to guest on Amy’s set and she will be on my set for a song as well,” Stirling says. “I have been a fan of hers for years and I wrote a song years ago with her in mind to sing it, but she wasn’t able to because she was on maternity leave, but I think it put me in the back of her mind that we should work together someday. She reached out a year ago and I played on their new album with the song ‘Hi-Lo’ and the reaction of the fans was just unbelievable.”

Touring throughout the summer at amphitheaters like Jiffy Lube Live has been a blast, she says, and she enjoys the “summer vibe” of people coming together as families and enjoying picnics and creating a more personal concert experience.

Although Stirling has been dancing and playing violin since she was little, her aspirations in college was towards a career in film.

“By the time I hit college, I was a little burnt out with music and didn’t know how I felt about the classical violin thing anymore, so I ended up studying film, which was another passion of mine,” she says. “I used to have editing software and was a real nerd about creating my own videos.”

She found the music and film worlds combined really seamlessly, which helped her become one of YouTube’s first breakout artists.

“One art really led the other and it allowed me to not only use my violin skills but also showcase it in a way that was really unique,” Stirling says.

Since then, she had a song on the soundtrack of Pete’s Dragon and also scored a song for a video game and hopes to get more involved with more scores in the years ahead.

Once her tour ends, Stirling will start writing some new music but is also going to pick up where she left off on a theatrical musical she started writing last year.

“I want to focus on that and maybe go to New York and really work on that for a while,” she says. “Until then, I am going to just enjoy this tour. I love putting on a show and anyone who comes out will have a fun time.”

Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence are set to play at Jiffy Lube Live on July 24. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $18.

Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; 703-754-6400;