Drake White Emanates Exuberance in Twin Cities

Drake White and The Big Fire at the Varsity Theater

Last updated on February 18th, 2022 at 09:51 pm

Jordan Brooker Fans
Flames of Crowd at Varsity Theater

Twin Cities residents and out-of-town guests who trekked to the Varsity Theater to see the Drake White show with opening act Jordan Brooker last evening were overtly entertained and seriously moved by their collective party-hearty grooves.

Emerging Country Artist Jordan Brooker at the Varsity Theater
Emerging Country Artist Jordan Brooker at the Varsity Theater

Although these fans came ready to party, Brooker, along with a 4-piece band, had no problem fanning any glowing embers into burning flames of joy with his relevant country sound and “Made in Indiana” charm.  His stage presence and 8-song delivery look road tested and ready for a brighter future in the music business.

With driving beats and handsome guitar-thickened tracks on songs like “You Are” and “Life in Your Days“ that celebrate young love and optimism, Brooker is concocting a recipe for success and a draw for new country music fans.

What Drake White’s Fans Already Know

My first exposure, not only to his music but his live performance, was a head-on collision with an Alabama-Appalachian-inspired musical exuberance.  The ole ‘knee-bone connected to the thigh-bone’ thing was grooving without my permission.  His fans already know about his infectious energy, and considering how many songs to which they sang along, he has a loyal following in the metro.  His website summarizes his style of delivery handily as “equal parts Baptist tent revival and amped-up southern rock festival,” but without supervenient preaching.

Singer-songwriter Drake White plays guitar and sings in Minneapolis
High energy Drake White pummels audience with talent

White also has a good sensibility about his fans. Or, at least, he does his homework on who might be attending a Minneapolis venue.  His set list covered many of his own signature songs, like “Back to Free,” “Heartbeat,” and “Girl in Pieces,” a lyrically tight tune with a fun reggae groove…

I see a girl in pieces
Baby let me pick you up
Get you back on your feet and
Give you love, a love, a love

An interesting surprise was how well White and Company did on cover tunes.  Again, thoughts about his audience must have weighed on his decision to include Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” and an almost have-to-do version of “Purple Rain.” (Update:  my original article incorrectly stated that the Zac Brown song, “Free,” was performed; sincerest apologies everyone).  That was a real crowd-pleaser, supplemented with brilliant purple and white stage lights.  His band, The Big Fire, was supreme in their delivery throughout the night, but especially on that tune.  If open flames were permitted at the Varsity Theater, lighters would have changed the color of the room.

Drake White and his band play Purple Rain on stage
Drake White and Company Thrill with cover of Purple Rain

Come Back Again Sometime, Drake

Not everything onstage was 100% high octane fuel.  White put a few songs back in 2nd gear with “Simple Life” and his solo delivery of “Acoustic Song.”  As one might have expected from these Drake White fans, they didn’t let him go without an encore.  They love this guy, and he’ll always be welcome back.

Written by J. Allen Wood

I switched gears from a successful 20-plus year truck driving career to a more interesting digital media field after finishing my BFA in New Media at Indiana University South Bend in May 2016, complemented by minors in creative writing, marketing, and business management. I am pleased to put my creativity to use during this digital renaissance as a casual music photojournalist, when I’m not creating digital or music content in my small studio.


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