Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line Danced on the Grave of Country at Gexa on Saturday
Florida Georgia Line (with shirts on) playing in Houston earlier this year
Jason Aldean With Florida Georgia Line Gexa Energy Pavilion, Dallas Saturday, October 25, 2014
Ebola causes you to leak fluids from your body's orifices and bleed internally until your body starts to slowly shut down. Then you die from a combination of low blood-pressure and organ failure. If you have the misfortune of being an American who catches this vile disease, the media will ruthlessly invade your privacy and reveal every minute detail of your life to the public. This is a horrid fate for anyone unfortunate enough to catch this terrible malady.
And I would gladly endure it all so long as I never again have to suffer the experience of sitting seven rows back from the stage while Florida-Georgia Line and Jason Aldean gleefully danced on the grave of one of the most purely American forms of art to the tune of cheers from 9,999 very intoxicated people.
It's wrong of me to say that country music is dead when artists like Robert Ellis and Lindy Ortega are out there making some of the most exciting music in the genre's history. But when I witnessed the spectacle that went down Saturday night at the Gexa Energy Pavilion it's hard to not let the wave of dread slowly wash over me.
I approached Saturday night's show with an open mind, but one glance at the insanely packed parking lot and I realized maybe the stereotype of the modern country music fan (privileged, a little slow, boisterous and in love with terrible music and terrible beer) was completely dead on. In this scene chaos reigned: Michelob Ultra was chugged as if it were a life-extending elixir of the gods, mini-barbecues raged and Florida Georgia Line's "Dirt" was blasted at tornado-siren levels. There are SEC tailgates that don't get this wild. A sea of scantily clad women in cut-off shorts and fashionista cowboy boots swarmed around trading Jell-O shots and dancing on any man who offered a beer. Ass is abundant and of low value at bro-country shows.
Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line looks like country music's take on Scott Stapp, with his flowing hair and affinity for bare skin and crosses. While on stage he and Brian Kelley and the rest of the band all sported one of their own band's T-shirts. Yes, they're an entire band of "that guys." Hubbard also handled most of the band's singing duties, including occasionally dropping into a rap-like cadence while Kelley stood around playfully strumming an acoustic guitar that's nowhere to be heard in the mix. Congrats bro-country, you have your Limp Bizkit.
Florida Georgia Bizkit's performance came to a giant apex of overtly stitched denim, explosions and smoke when the band launched into its current hit song "Dirt." This is not said lightly, but "Dirt" might be the single worst song to be a No. 1 hit in the history of country music, though we're about five years away from Axl Rose going country in a cash grab. Accept it, America: We're getting a pedal-steel version of "Patience" and the country audience is gonna eat it up.
"Dirt" contains lines like "We all came from it" and "Build your corn field, whiskey bonfires on it" and for the love of everything I swear it's like the people who love these songs don't realize that none of them are actually farmers. It took everything in me to not turn to the dad sporting Puma-branded golf gear and point out that driving a truck does not automatically make one the Marlboro Man. Oh, and the band played "Dirt" twice just in case you were wondering how hard they were pushing the single.
Mercifully, the set came to an end with the band's performance of their mega-hit "Cruise" which gives "Dirt" a run for its money in the "Townes Van Zandt and Lefty Frizzell might rise from the grave to rain down terror for the sacrilege that's being committed" category. Around the time Hubbard went shirtless and slammed a beer with Florida I started Googling "job opportunities + Presby Hospital."
In between sets a DJ works tirelessly to keep the sold out crowd hyped by playing Johnny Cash mixed with Aerosmith, Lil' Jon mixed with some random bro-country and Miley Cyrus thrown in to keep things turnt up. While watching the cream of the Dallas sorority crop get herded backstage (the guy in charge of getting groupies might have been the only one with legitimate ranch/farm skills in the building) a drunk teenager walked up to me and handed me $40. He said I can keep the change if I grab him a Coors Light and a Michelob Ultra. Unfortunately for the kid, a passing cop walked by while he slurred the request, and took the kid aside. I tried to give him the $40 back, but the cop was too busy reading him the riot act. The kid's luck was doubly bad: The concession stands had already run out of Ultra.
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Oh, and Jason Aldean played. He sang songs about dirt roads as well, and he also did that "rap, but don't call it rap because you know RACE" thing, and people cheered, and sang, and drank beer, and violently made out in public, because "fuck social contracts, baby, I'm seven beers in, and we heard this song once, let see what each others' tonsils feel like with our tongues."
The whole set wasn't good in any semblance of the word. In fact it was very, very, very, very (12 more verys can go here) bad. But honestly, railing against it is pointless because he's being left in the dust by a newer, bro-ier generation. Hopefully Aldean enjoyed this last go on top, because Florida Georgia Line stole his shtick, de-aged it a bit and then took its shirt off to flaunt some killer abs, bro. Gexa might have been my personal hell on Saturday, and I damn sure never want to go through something like this again, but at least I got a tank of gas out of it. Thanks kid, hope that cop let you off.
Love Florida Georgia Line? Hate them? Confused as to who they are? Head over to the next page for a few videos of their Dallas performance and decide for yourself.
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