It’s the most wonderful time of the year… it’s Super Bowl LI week! Going into this weekend, everyone is stocking up on game day foods and more in order to enjoy the big game. Super Bowl Sunday is an unspoken holiday in the United States. Everybody gathers together to celebrate even if your team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl game. The commercials, yummy foods, and Halftime Show are other reasons to enjoy the event outside of football. Lady Gaga is performing the Super Bowl LI Halftime Show, and Luke Bryan is performing the National Anthem. What to expect? No one really knows. But one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be quite a Sunday.
The New England Patriots are playing the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX for Super Bowl LI. TicketNetwork’s Super Bowl blog post goes in depth about the game. The weekend leading up the game sees Houston in the spotlight. Huge artists such as Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, and more are performing in Houston this coming weekend. No matter who wins, the city will surely be rocking. Going to the game and don’t know what to do during your down time? Check out TicketNetwork’s Guide to Houston.
Super Bowl LI Weekend 🏈
Sam Hunt & The Chainsmokers: Club Nomadic│Houston, TX│February 2nd
Sam Hunt’s country career carved out a new niche in the genre. He flirts between the line of pop country and even hip-hop, as his quick, spoken-word song segments are a twenty-first century Johnny Cash. The concept of pop country isn’t new. For years, artists have leaned between genres (*cough* Taylor Swift *cough*) in order to open their listener pool. It makes for great radio hits and mainstream airplay instead of a pigeonhole effect on country radio. However, there are some negatives. Some believe that pop country isn’t real country. Swift leaned so far over the line that she finally transitioned to pop.
However, Sam Hunt is different. He still holds true to twangy guitar, songs about back roads, and the overall feel of country music. However, he also is creative. Hunt does look to hip-hop and pop for inspiration, and he is far from a cowboy-hat-wearing, tumbleweed-turning country man. Yet, Hunt still is very country; don’t get the two confused. Since Montevallo soared on charts in 2014, fans anxiously await new material. It’s finally here. Hunt’s “15 in a 30 Tour” starts late spring, and he is releasing new music. Therefore, his performance leading up to the Super Bowl is no surprise. What is a surprise is his co-headliner: The Chainsmokers. The Hunt and Chainsmokers duo is something that is shocking as it is exciting.
The Chainsmokers touch music, and it turns to gold. They pumped hit after hit into airwaves in 2016, and 2017 doesn’t look to be much different (“Paris”). The DJ duo are branching off into singing, as well, and their pop/electronic music combination creates radio hits and club favorites. The lineup with Sam Hunt proves that there is a compromise between pop and country. Whatever the two have up their sleeves, Club Nomadic will be bumping February 2nd.
Bruno Mars: Club Nomadic│Houston, TX│February 3rd
Bruno Mars sprung back in 2016 with enough Michael-Jackson vibes to fill up an 80’s dance hall. 24K Magic dropped, and everyone remembered why Mars is an entertainer before anything else. “24K Magic” is a hit that stuck to Mars’ wheelhouse of funk and upbeat celebration. “Put your pinkie rings up to the moon” is a line that Mars pulls off with his vintage swagger. Though none of his other songs have blasted past the original single yet, 2017 will certainly have its fair share of Bruno. He begins the “24K Magic World Tour” in July after a few scattered performances in March.
Club Nomadic’s February 3rd is Super Saturday Night Eve, so anyone lucky enough to see Mars’ groovy choreography live will be dancing all night long.
Taylor Swift Super Saturday Night: Club Nomadic│Houston, TX│February 4th
Taylor Swift is performing Super Saturday Night heading into Super Bowl LI Sunday. This is huge because she’s been almost completely quiet during 2016, a year full of drama and no new music. Swift’s reputation is arguably at an all time low due to the controversy with no artistic results to contradict it. She performed at Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix, but that marked her only performance in 2016. Therefore, her slot at Club Nomadic demonstrates that even a quiet, reputation-injured Taylor still draws type more than artists who blew up 2016. It will be exciting to hear what she performs. And, for the love of all that is pop music, it’s time for Taylor to return.
Actresses from Hamilton│”America, the Beautiful”
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, and Jasmine Cephas Jones, actresses from the hit musical Hamilton‘s original cast, will begin the Super Bowl performances with “America, the Beautiful.” They played the Schuyler sisters. This is a tradition for every Super Bowl preceding the National Anthem. It is an interesting time for Hamilton to make an appearance at the Super Bowl due to political turmoil in the world and with the production. Hamilton promotes diversity through its storyline and actual casts. Therefore, it will be intriguing to see if the actresses take the opportunity to use the platform to address any social issues, or if their time will focus only on the song.
Luke Bryan│Super Bowl LI National Anthem
Luke Bryan is performing the National Anthem for Super Bowl LI. This is a typical choice, as Bryan stands for typical country music. However, he is not specifically known for a fantastic vocal range. It will be a good time for Bryan to showcase vocal ability outside of his standard country anthems. However, it is also intimidating, as Bryan is put in the spotlight to show the world that he truly is talented. The stakes are always high for the National Anthem, and in the past, performers included huge stars such as Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga. Bryan is honestly a surprising choice. His “Huntin’, Fishin’, Lovin’ Every Day Tour” starts in May after his “Kill the Lights Tour” finishes up.
Lady Gaga│Super Bowl LI Halftime Show
Lady Gaga, who dropped Joanne in 2016, is performing the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Nobody knows what to expect. In the past, Gaga performs in the most entertaining and crazy ways. However, since her return to semi-normalcy with pop-rock’s Joanne, viewers aren’t sure which Gaga will perform. That is partially the reason that she’s successful. Lady Gaga is constantly transforming herself and her music, much like a radical version of Taylor Swift. Though I don’t think we will witness a shattered piano or a meat dress, Gaga always goes big. For the Halftime Show, we expect nothing less.
Top 5 Concerts
Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood: FedExForum│Memphis, TN│February 4th
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood continue to explode ticket sales with the continuation of “Garth Brooks World Tour.” They are hitting the second best city in Tennessee, Memphis, for three nights in early February. After the stint in Memphis, the couple doesn’t perform until late February in Alabama. Therefore, their tour runs are multiple nights in a row but draw out. This avoids long stretches on the road while still performing a sufficient amount of nights.
Red Hot Chili Peppers: Air Canada Centre│Toronto, ON│February 4th
Red Hot Chili Peppers are taking “The Getaway Tour” to Canada. Toronto’s Air Canada Centre is the first Canadian venue to welcome the band on this tour, but it isn’t the last. The band comes right back to the U.S. after Toronto and does not revisit Canada until May. Therefore, this is the opportunity to see Red Hot Chili Peppers outside of the U.S. until late spring.
Bruno Mars: Club Nomadic│Houston, TX│February 3rd
Bruno Mars is one of the big-name artists performing in Houston the nights leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. Expect a performance full of 24k Magic songs and funk. “Put your… pinkie… rings up… to the… MOON!”
Celine Dion: Caesars Palace – Colosseum│Las Vegas, NV│February 4th
Celine Dion continues her iconic Caesars Palace – Colosseum residency in Las Vegas. After passing the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death, Dion is plowing forward into a busy 2017. Her show features her classic hits as well as state-of-the-art technology to make the show a well-rounded experience.
Bon Jovi: Bon Secours Wellness Arena│Greenville, SC│February 8th
Bon Jovi begins their tour in Greenville, South Carolina on February 8th. “This House is Not For Sale Tour” is in support of their 2016 album This House is Not For Sale. The tour extends until April, ending in Canada. In addition to the new album, Bon Jovi also brought a twist to the tour by announcing an opening act contest on Facebook Live. Live Nation and Bon Jovi management chose winners from thousands of uploaded video auditions. The opener winners for February were announced on Tuesday. It is a fascinating and exciting opportunity that is made possible through today’s technological advancements.
Bon Jovi demonstrates the new ways to create an unique tour experience besides neat light shows and extra effects. February 8th’s opener is Michael Tracy.
What’s In Tune
Sam Hunt│”Body Like A Back Road”
Sam Hunt is about to have a big 2017. After years since 2014’s Montevallo, Hunt is back and releasing new music. A new album is certainly in the near future. Hunt’s play with country, pop, and hip-hop makes him an outlier in his genre and part of the reason he’s so successful. Another important part of his career, much like other talented country stars, is his origination as a country songwriter before his transition to singer. Hunt wrote Keith Urban’s “Cop Car” in addition to many others. Therefore, his success as a singer came as no big surprise. Hunt writes his own music; something I value in an artist, as it is more rare nowadays.
He dropped the single “Drinkin’ Too Much” earlier in 2017. Then, “Body Like A Back Road” dropped Wednesday, hinting at the onsale of his “15 in a 30 Tour” today. Both of these songs still in the line of upbeat pop country made for radio. I thinks fans will like to see the deeper, sentimental side of Hunt on the rest of the album, but for now, these car drive jams will do just fine.
Big Sean│I Decided.
That’s not the point, though. Since Big Sean brought sentimentality to hip-hop with “One Man Can Change the World,” people began to listen to him. This is not to say that was his first hit, but it placed him with those who are progressing the genre. There’s only so much room for songs about drinking, drugs, and women for the club (@Future…) before someone needs to mix it up.
Since his last solo album Dark Sky Paradise, other huge talents rightfully invaded the hip-hop space in fascinating ways. Lamar brought Compton back to the foreground, using social issues as a spear. Chance reminded us that jazz and gospel have their place with rap, and that music should be for the people. Migos informed us that it’s sometimes too easy for others to sweep credit from the lesser famous that put in the leg work to a great career.
All of that is important, but Big Sean’s new album, I Decided., is as well. The concept album’s cover shows two similar photos, except one represents a younger Big Sean before the fame, and one represents him currently. Even through the artwork, Big Sean illustrates his understanding of time on a broad scale. There are whiffs of J. Cole philosophical thinking regarding fame’s effect on the famous. Listeners received “Bounce Back” and “Moves,” both jams to vibe with. However, then “Halfway Off the Balcony” dropped, and its focal point on intense thinking while on a balcony, hinting at the potential of jumping, makes for a second and third listen. His execution is to affect people, and his music is not just for show, but for a purpose.
Furthermore, the album is full of well-chosen features. Hip-hop today, much like pop music’s tendency to sound synthesized, has a bad habit of packing in features. It turns songs and albums into junk mail folders instead of executed, smart additions. However, Big Sean seems to swerve this pit, as six out of fourteen tracks have features. Highlights include Eminem, Twenty88 (Aiko), and Migos. These should only enhance the songs as tactical decisions instead of clog up airspace.
2. “Light” feat. Jeremih
3. “Bounce Back”
4. “No Favors” feat. Eminem
5. “Jump Out the Window”
7. “Same Time Pt. 1″ feat. Twenty88
8. “Owe Me”
9. “Halfway Off the Balcony”
10. “Voices in My Head/Stick to the Plan”
11. “Sunday Morning Jetpack” feat. The-Dream
12. “Inspire Me”
13. “Sacrifices” feat. Migos
14. “Bigger Than Me” feat. Flint Chozen Choir and Starrah
Other Television Appearances
Alessia Cara│The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon│February 3rd
Alessia Cara, a breakout pop artist who dropped Know-It-All in late 2015, is performing on Jimmy Fallon the night before her performance on SNL. Seems too soon to be a promotion for a new album release, but we’re wondering: why the sudden show appearances?
Alessia Cara│Saturday Night Live│February 4th
For any artist, performing on SNL seems like a rite of passage on the way to the top. Cara is a newer face in the industry, but her hits keep piling up 0ff of just one album, her debut Know-It-All. She promotes self love, body acceptance, female strength. These are all important messages particularly in 2017. Cara’s SNL performance is a huge step for her career, as she and Alicia Keys lead the brigade of no-makeup female artists promoting positivity.
Kelsea Ballerini│The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon│February 6th
Kelsea Ballerini is one of country music’s most beloved newbies. Her hits “Love Me Like You Mean It” and “Peter Pan” sparked major fans for the singer. Her new album is coming soon, as the hits mentioned were off 2015’s First Time. She is also touring from the spring into the summer.
Ice Cube and The Band Perry│The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon│February 7th
Ice Cube, a former member of the iconic rap group N.W.A., is promoting new new movie Fist Fight. Though his talents originally were in music, he has branched out into acting over the years. The comedy Fist Fight will surely make audiences laugh so hard their stomachs hurt even if it won’t be receiving an Oscar nomination any time soon. As Ice Cube ages farther away from his Compton days in N.W.A., he will continue to develop a differing career path. Right now, Ice Cube finds himself somewhere in between acting and a hip-hop icon. Neither are hurting his bank account. The Band Perry might be releasing a new album, as they haven’t released one since 2013. Therefore, it’s a country group to keep an eye on.
Kid Cudi│The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon│February 8th
Kid Cudi had a tough end to 2016. After wading into multiple Twitter wars with popular rappers and checking into rehab for drug abuse and depression, recovery was the focus. Therefore, his interview on The Tonight Show will most likely discuss his recovery and future endeavors now that he is attacking his personal issues and moving forward. Hopefully, random Twitter rampages will be no more. Kid Cudi dropped Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ in late 2016.
Ice Cube│Late Night with Seth Meyers│February 8th
Ice Cube’s last stop on his talk show run is Late Night with Seth Meyers. He will surely discuss the upcoming movie Fist Fight in addition to any other projects in the near future.
Ice Cube│The Ellen DeGeneres Show│February 3rd
Ice Cube continues to make the talk shows rounds promoting Fist Fight.
Ty Dolla $ign & Zara Larsson│The Ellen DeGeneres Show│February 7th
Ty Dolla $ign and Zara Larsson just dropped “So Good,” an urban pop single, over the weekend. Therefore, fans can expect them to perform the new song on Ellen. Larsson gained mainstream fame through her hit “Lush Life” that dropped in 2016. However, the fame escalated further when she dropped “Never Forget You.” “Never Forget You” successfully battled for radio airwaves with The Chainsmoker‘s “Don’t Let Me Down” featuring Daya. Anything the DJ duo touches turns to gold nowadays, so Larsson’s ability to pack multiple hits in 2016 creates a hopeful future for the Swedish singer.
Ty Dolla $ign also had a big year, but it was Fifth Harmony‘s “Work from Home” that lifted him up. His feature in the huge hit carried Ty Doll $ign through 2016. In addition, he and many other artists (X Ambassadors, Imagine Dragons, Wiz Khalifa, and more) recorded “Sucker for Pain” for Suicide Squad‘s soundtrack. He is set to release an album in 2017 titled Beach House 3.
Panic! at the Disco│The Ellen DeGeneres Show│February 8th
Panic! at the Disco, led by heartthrob Brendon Urie, still remains relevant years since “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” gained them mainstream attention. After lineup changes and sounds alterations, their 2016 Death of a Bachelor prepared for a busy 2017. “Death of a Bachelor Tour” begins late February and goes until mid April. They will be on Ellen to support their upcoming tour and recent album, so be ready to rock.