Originally published in Through the Lens Magazine on March 9, 2016
Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
LAFAYETTE, IN – Another sold out show was evident in the heart of Lafayette at the Lafayette Theater as the line waiting for the doors to open stretched down the street for what seemed like eons. Inside the theater the ambience that awaited the eager ticket holders was that of a beautiful glorified patriotism as the red, white, and blue lights formed twinkling stars on the wall. The friendly staff was eager to please as per usual, and helped each and every patron in the door with personal care. The bar was immediately mobbed, but the well trained chemists behind the counter mixed drinks with style, and kept everyone’s glasses full and faces smiling all night long.
Travis Marvin was the opener, and he did a fabulous job setting the tone for the evening. Travis is a Kansas native that has been rocking his own region for nearly a decade and gaining momentum and fans everywhere he goes. The current show was no exception as he impressed the audience with some wonderful originals including a brand new song he had just wrote about 2 weeks prior. The name of the most recent melody is “Never Had a First Time“, and was immediately a crowd favorite. Marvin also threw in a few covers including Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night“. He played with a fervid passion that radiated off him into the crowd as he encouraged them to sing along. He followed that up with stunningly powerful vocals on “The Dance” by Garth Brooks, and brought the fans right along with him on his emotional melodic journey. Travis then broke out in an energetic version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” that had the crowd ready and raring to go for the evening’s long awaited headliner.
The crowd chomped at the bit during intermission awaiting their star, Aaron Lewis. Lewis was once the lead singer for Staind, but unlike most artists who set out on a solo career his has been fully recognized and acclaimed. Lewis’s solo foray into country music has served him well. With his new genre it goes without saying that there would be much love ready for him here in corn country. It’s obvious that the crowd had Staind fans among them, but the love and support demonstrated for Lewis’s solo career is above and beyond the call of duty. Maybe it’s his reciprocated devotion to his fans and his country, but either way Aaron Lewis is beyond reproach in the eyes of the adoring crowd. He began his set with a very touching dedication to his country in the form of a hat’s off, hand over the heart Pledge of Allegiance which the crowd eagerly joined. This patriotic attitude no doubt helps foster that sense of comradery that could be felt radiating forth from the audience. They were proud to be in front of such a great country man, and proud to follow his lead. The music began, and the hats were returned to their proper places as the crowd erupted in song and dance. Aaron’s band did a phenomenal job backing his impassioned vocals. The way they immediately drew in the fans was a tribute to their talent as they helped make Aaron’s true old style country songs shine for a society that seems deprived of them this day in age. The band backed Lewis up, and helped him along as he told the “Story of My Life“, and they took that shot of redemption right along with him “Like Sunday” on that Saturday night.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a night with Aaron Lewis without a few of the old time popular fan favorites for good measure. Lewis Broke into “Right Here“, and the powerful ballad inspired a beautifully harmonized group sing-a-long that began at the front row and reached all the way to the farthest corners of the balcony. Lewis always demonstrates much appreciation to his fans. While performing his beautiful rendition of “It’s Been Awhile” he made sure to throw that in with a quick change of the main chorus lyrics to “It’s been awhile since I said thank you very much.” Then with a tip of his hat he disappeared off stage to signal the end of the show. As with any good act nowadays, though, an encore was more than prepared, and the same crowd harmonization appeared again when Lewis stepped back on stage without his band to set a more intimate setting. He immediately began to play the other long but not forgotten melodic treasures wrapped in memories including “Everything Changes“, “Tangled Up In You“, “Something to Remind You“, “Please”, and of course he saved the best for last with an extremely powerful and moving rendition of “Outside“.
A musician’s sustainability definitely comes from the devotion of their fans or the lack there of, so it seems Lewis will be around for a very long time. Not many people can cross genres the way he has done, and still not only maintain a fan base, but increase it more and more to the point of sold out after sold out show. Aaron’s commitment to his country, his music, and his fans is mirrored right back in their eyes, and they’re in it for the long haul. He made a name with Staind, and he found who he truly was on the inside and out as he delved into the country music genre. Now he’s found a place where he is loved and belongs right in that beautiful little theater in the heart of the Hoosier land, and he’s already said all the right words to make sure they’ll all be right here waiting for him to come back.
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