Canaan Smith’s Country Music: That Is So Metal.

Behind the drums, Canaan Smith’s name was painted in what looked like the “Guitar Hero” video game font.  This was not going to be a typical county music show.

Canaan Smith, contemporary country musician and songwriter, performing in 2015.

Canaan Smith, contemporary country musician and songwriter, performing in 2015.

Canaan Smith is a contemporary-country, singer-songwriter, guitarist and drummer from Nashville, Tennessee. Smith’s performance, however, comes off much more like a  heavy-metal concert than a country show. Smith has been touring the country since his debut album “Bronco” was released last summer. In July of  2015, Smith’s song “Love You Like That” reached  No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, a month after the album’s release. Wednesday night, Smith and his band, performed at The Canyon Club, in Agoura Hills, Los Angeles, California.

Other than Smith’s vaguely country-style blue-collared shirt, Smith and his band looked dressed for a heavy metal show, and not like they had spent the day riding tractors.  There were no cowboy boots, heavy-belt buckles, snap-back hats, or twangy accents. Smith wore skate-board-style shoes, and his hair was long, and lacquered back behind his ears  Most of Smith’s band had long hair, and wore all black.

Canaan Smith is not a stereotypical country musician. His lyrics are poetic and his performances are wild.

Canaan Smith’s country music is very metal. His lyrics are poetic and his performances are wild with bright lights, smoke machines and  instrument destruction.

The band looked dressed for a heavy-metal show, which it essentially was, minus the heavy-metal music.  During the show, Smith took a break from singing, and dragged one of the drummer’s floor toms to center stage. With wildly-flailing arms, Smith played the tom with his own drum sticks. Then he threw the sticks into the audience.  To wrap up the show, Smith grabbed the tom by the legs and smashed it into the stage until it cracked open.

Pictured in meme: Nathan Explosion, a member of the virtual metal band Dethklok in Comedy Central's Metalocalypse.

Smith knows how to command and connect with his audience. Smith carried around a bottle of whiskey and asked the audience if they wanted to drink with him. He fed fed whiskey to one woman who ended up with whiskey all over the front of her shirt. She did not appear to mind.  At one point during the show Smith stepped off the stage and onto a dinner banquet table. He walked the length of the table, stepping over dinner plates and cocktails, to get closer those standing in the back of the venue. He danced on the table and gave the mic to the crowd to sing along with him. Smith’s energy carried to his band, who danced, head-banged and showed-off with instrument solos and guitar riffs throughout the show.


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