Zach Bryan at Thompson-Boling Arena [Photos]

Music Features Zach Bryan
Zach Bryan at Thompson-Boling Arena [Photos]

Growing up in Atlanta, it would have been miraculous to have gone through that time in my life without listening to country music on a regular basis. Those years clearly planted the seeds of a would-be-lifelong appreciation that did take some time to germinate—but have eventually, in adulthood, sprouted. I went through a phase in my life where I didn’t really want anything to do with country music, aside from an artist here or there, but it was a time where I didn’t want to accept all aspects of myself, either. There was a skit on Saturday Night Live last weekend, where someone said, “Covid broke something that can never be fixed.” And it may have; I can definitely vouch for that as a parent but, personally, it’s given me the ability to appreciate more music and find a relatability in the words they’re singing. Zach Bryan released his self-titled fourth album last year, and it was a record that landed in my Top 10 for 2023. Just finding my way onto his bandwagon like many others, it was his honesty, genuineness and vulnerability that struck a chord—and it had me clamoring to hear more of what he had to share, and climbing down the Zach Bryan rabbit hole has been nothing short of an enlightening experience.

Bryan announced his Quittin’ Time Tour, and it kicked off in Chicago in March. Now on its second leg—with openers Levi Turner and the Middle East—the concept of “quitting time” has its own nostalgic connotations for myself. It harkens to a period where I got to let loose and pal around with friends once we’d punched our cards for the day. Imagine getting to hit the road with your friends pall around deep into the night: I’d say that was what I experienced Friday night in Knoxville, for the second installment of Bryan’s two-night stand at Thompson-Boling Arena.

That feeling of hanging out definitely extended throughout the crowd, as there was a pure sense of enjoyment and camaraderie in the air. Bryan plays with humility and transparency fairly well, so it’s easy to feel like it’s alright to wear your own heart on your sleeve. The stage was set up uniquely: Turner played to one side, the Middle East played to the opposite and, finally, Bryan’s layout made it possible for all four sides of the arena to feel welcomed to the party. When he’d leave a corner, a bandmate would remain there in his place. Bryan noted that a new album, The Great American Bar Scene, was on the way—and he shared a few tracks from it during his set. Going to a Zach Bryan show means you’re going to get an intimate night spanning his entire catalog. If you’ve missed a visit from him to your town, or if he’s yet to reach a neighboring city, he’s worth the trip and more.

See photos of Levi Turner, the Middle East and Zach Bryan at Thompson-Boling Arena in Nashville on May 10th below.

Levi Turner

The Middle East

Zach Bryan

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