Sugarland Feature in The Boston Globe
Sugarland hits all the right notes
By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff / May 23, 2011
With Little Big Town and Matt Nathanson At: the Comcast Center, Friday
MANSFIELD— For the second year in a row, the concert season at the Comcast Center was kick-started by Sugarland in grand style.
Friday night the irrepressible country pop duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush and their top-flight five-piece band took to a whimsical, steampunk-inspired stage set — festooned with giant clock gears and industrial doodads in homage to their album “The Incredible Machine’’ — with a refreshing zeal for performance.
The 90-minute set was by turns rocking, comic, and poignant. But regardless of mood, the music was always spot on. Whether they were bounding their way through optimistic country pop jaunts like “Settlin’ ’’ and “Everyday America,’’ the slinky love jam “All I Wanna Do,’’ a cheeky medley of pop hits like Cee Lo’s “Forget You’’ and Britney Spears’s “ . . . Baby One More Time,’’ the stark, emotional ballad “Stay’’ or a gather-round-the-microphone acoustic take on “Baby Girl,’’ Nettles and Bush were in the zone of musicality and showmanship.
Nettles in particular is a natural born star, firing off jokes with perfect timing and a sense of freshness no matter how many times she has told them, busting out sassy dance moves, and then turning on a dime to let her voice soar with power and feeling on anthems like “Tonight’’ and “Stand Up.’’
Vocal group Little Big Town joined the fun, closing out the night by adding a heavenly backing choir to a rousing version of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.’’
That exuberant collaboration was a continuation of Little Big Town’s own spirited middle set in which intertwined harmonies were the order of the night, whether on their own hits like the stomping “Boondocks’’ or an acoustic, countrified workup of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.’’
In addition to his short opening set, Matt Nathanson joined Sugarland to perform a new song they penned together for his forthcoming album. Judging by the response, the sexy duet “Run,’’ a slice of hooky pop hotness, should further enhance the Lexington-bred singer-songwriter’s profile.