The sunny sounds of Colbie Caillat would close last night’s concert at the Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore, MD, but it was the night’s second act, Gavin DeGraw, who really brought the heat.
DeGraw, known mostly for his smash hit “I Don’t Want To Be,” which doubled as the theme song for the CW’s long-running drama One Tree Hill, and most recently as a contestant on season 14 of Dancing With The Stars, wooed the mostly female crowd with a well-rounded set, which could only be described as “ass-kickingly awesome.”
Dressed down in jeans, a black tank, a blue button-up shirt, and his signature hat, DeGraw started his set on a funky high-note with the title-track to his latest album, “Sweeter.” From there, he pulled out fan-favorites like the rocking “In Love With A Girl,” the sugary “Crush,” and encouraged the crowd to do some “booty shaking” on songs like “Candy” and the aforementioned “I Don’t Want To Be,” which was greeted with eardrum-piercing screams.
He took his time with each song, making sure each was a special experience for the audience. He knew when to strut around the stage with a sexy swagger, jam back-to-back rocker style with his guitarist, do the sensitive singer-songwriter thing at the piano, and sit on the staircase and allow his soulful voice to shine.
DeGraw didn’t waste a lot of time chatting between songs, allowing the finely tuned pop jams to come in a steady stream. But when he did speak, it was to set up a poignant song (“Is anybody in here in love?” he asked before “Soldier”), make a joke (“Keep drinking, because the more you drink, the better we sound”), or to show his gratitude for the cheers.
And those cheers came often, especially for songs like the gorgeously stripped back version of “Follow Through” (an especially impressive vocal moment for the golden-voiced singer), “Chemical Party,” “Run Every Time,” “Radiation,” and the closer, his recent Ryan Tedder-produced hit, “Not Over You.”
Earlier in the show, DeGraw confided in the audience that after the success of his debut album, Chariot, he was uncertain of which direction his life and career would go in. One thing was made certain last night, a performer as skilled as Gavin DeGraw will be around to heat things up for years to come.