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The Graham Colton Band Rocks The Homecoming Concert

Posted November 02 2011 at 11:59 pm

By Natalie Hicks

After the Tampa Bay Lightning dominated the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 22, University of Tampa students, in attendance for the UT homecoming event, shuffled outside to where the Graham Colton band would perform.

As soon as Graham Colton walked onto the stage and the band jumped into their set, people could not help but stop and listen to the show as they were walking back to their cars.

“We flew all the way out here from Oklahoma for this show,” Colton said to the audience during a transition to another song.

Graham Colton hails from Oklahoma City, Ok. He first began playing regionally at any little bar or music venue that would take him, but it did not take long for him to claim his own slice of fame.

Lead singer of the Counting Crows, Adam Duritz, heard a piece of Colton’s music and asked him to tour with him in 2002.

This instigated a record deal with Universal Records and other tours with artists including: Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Gavin DeGraw, Train, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer and many more.

In 2008, the band’s most popular song to date, “Best Days,” from the album Here Right Now was featured on American Idol.

As the top three winners of American Idol Season 2 exited the stage, excitement and tears in hand, Colton’s “Best Days” blared in the background. It also became the main song on the show’s website.

Since then, several of his songs have been featured on different television shows including ABC Family’s Kyle XY and Pretty Little Liars.

“So, this one goes out to you, Ruben Studdard,” said Colton.

Graham Colton told stories between nearly every song, making the audience members feel a connection with him. He talked about his humble roots and how he has not changed all that much since he has been touring nationally.

“Graham Colton and his band were really laid back and relaxed on stage but still fun to watch. They interacted with the audience, joked around and made the entire event a personable experience,” said freshman Cassie Weber.

Colton now lives in Nashville, Tenn., where he jams on a regular basis with fellow pop country artist Matt Wertz. Colton is currently on tour with Steve Moakler and Matthew Mayfield as they travel throughout the greater Midwest and South.

His tour is promoting his mostzrecent album, Pacific Coast Eyes, featuring the songs “Pacific Coast Eyes,” “Graceland,” “Our Story” and “Love Comes Back Around.”

While Colton’s early music holds a more pop rock feel, Pacific Coast Eyes channels a softer tone. It sounds similar to the music of Matt Nathanson, NEEDTOBREATHE, Switchfoot and fellow native Oklahoman Ben Rector.

“The soft quality of his music reminded me a lot of John Mayer’s acoustic style. I really liked the sound of Graham Colton and his band. The soft acoustic was a nice change from some of the crazier rock that you hear from some of the more main stream artists. His solid voice combined with his poetic lyrics makes his music easy to listen to and keep on repeat,” said Weber.

To add the element of surprise, Colton mashed up a few universally famous songs with his own. He performed “Joker” by the Steve Miller Band and “Piano Man” by Billy Joel to name a couple.

Colton also gave several shout-outs to Student Productions. Without the planning and support of the SP Homecoming Committee, the post-Lightning game concert would not have been possible.

Immediately following the performance, Colton gave autographs and took pictures with fans at his merchandise table. Also, since he is an independent artist, none of his t-shirts or albums had pre-set prices.

He claimed that he would take anything and everything as payment, but it was not even technically necessary to pay anything at all.

Graham Colton and his band’s concert wrapped up another successful year of homecoming festivities for UT students.

“I personally think it was a great way to wrap up this year’s Homecoming Week. The combination of the Lightning game and the concert was unique and definitely an awesome experience. The Lightning game was a great source of excitement and the relaxed venue of the concert brought the week to a progressive close without being anti-climactic,” said Weber.