Brad Cox on stage at The Manning Bar in Sydney. June 2023

Brad Cox Shatters Notions: Inner-City Sydney Embraces Country Music on a Chilly Winter Night

Is it possible to fill an inner-city Sydney venue on a cold winter’s night with country music enthusiasts? Some might argue that it’s an impossible task. However, Aussie country star Brad Cox defied the odds and put this theory to rest with a sold-out performance at Sydney University’s Manning Bar on a recent Friday night. Cox’s “Acres” tour, which supports his critically acclaimed album of the same name, has been gaining traction across the country. Despite his love-hate relationship with Sydney, Cox and his band left no doubt that the city’s audience is more than receptive to their music.

Supporting Act Caitlyn Shadbolt Sets the Stage:

Before Cox took the stage, up-and-coming Gympie singer-songwriter Caitlyn Shadbolt served as the opening act. Shadbolt playfully referred to herself as the “foreplay” for Brad Cox, leaving the crowd primed and ready for more with an energetic performance. Her set featured a medley of popular tunes, including Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” Beyonce’s “Love On Top,” Daryl Braithwaite’s “Horses,” John Farnham’s “You’re The Voice,” and playful singalong favorites like “Baby Shark” and The Wiggles’ “Hot Potato.”

Brad Cox Takes Center Stage:

Cox and his band took to the relatively small Manning Bar stage, delivering an impressive performance that showcased tracks from his latest album, “Acres.” The title track received an overwhelmingly positive response, with the crowd joining in for an enthusiastic sing-along. Cox’s earlier singles were also met with great enthusiasm, particularly the emotional ballad “Beau In The Back,” which touched many hearts with its poignant ode to man’s best friend.

A Memorable Repertoire:

The setlist for the evening included a mix of Cox’s favorites, such as “What Brought You Back,” “Short Lived Love,” “Now She Ain’t,” “Single Life,” and a powerful cover of the Black Crowes’ “Remedy.” The performance ended on a high note with “Give Me Tonight,” which featured a guitar riff from Silverchair’s “The Greatest View.” Cox’s ability to seamlessly blend country music with elements of rock and CHR genres is a testament to the growing crossover appeal of country music in Australia.

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A Remarkable Crowd Experience:

Throughout the entire performance, the crowd remained engaged, loud, and raucous. However, unlike some audiences at other music genres, there was an overwhelming sense of goodwill and compassion among attendees. Despite the tight confines of the Manning Bar, concertgoers showed understanding and made way for others, creating a positive and enjoyable environment. This experience further emphasizes that country music is gaining significant momentum in Australia, making inroads into mainstream rock and CHR playlists like never before. Cox’s sold-out show on a chilly winter’s night in inner-city Sydney serves as undeniable proof of this trend.

Brad Cox’s sold-out performance at the Manning Bar in Sydney demonstrates that filling an inner-city venue with country music lovers on a cold winter’s night is far from impossible. With his “Acres” tour and critically acclaimed album, Cox has captured the hearts of Australian audiences, transcending the boundaries of traditional country music. The enthusiastic response from the crowd and the growing crossover appeal of country music in mainstream playlists suggest that the genre is thriving in Australia. Cox’s successful concert experience showcases the power of music to bring people together, regardless of the setting or the genre.

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