Concert review: Parker McCollum brings Texas country music to Brookings

Christian Larson, Reporter

Texas-based country singer-songwriter Parker McCollum made his return to South Dakota Feb. 10 as he headlined The Swiftel Center in Brookings for the first time. Nearly 4,000 people attended the concert. 

It was one of 15 stops on McCollum’s “Spring Tour,” which started this month and runs through April. Rising country singers Catie Offerman and Corey Kent opened the show. Offerman is a Texas-born artist who released her debut single “Happyland Trailer Park” last year. Oklahoma-born Kent rose to fame with his platinum-certified breakout single “Wild as Her,” which is nearing the top ten on country radio. 

McCollum, who is best known for his 2020 breakthrough single “Pretty Heart” and early career fan-favorite “Hell of A Year,” kicked off his show with his number-one gold-certified single “To Be Loved by You.” 

Throughout his hour-and-30-minute performance, McCollum performed a set consisting of all original songs. He announced that his new album will be coming out later this year, so he debuted multiple songs from the project while also playing the hits and fan favorites.

McCollum was at his strongest when performing more high-energy songs like his current single “Handle on You.” McCollum doesn’t have the most versatile voice, so the few high-energy songs in the setlist helped bring some much-needed energy to the room. Aside from the lack of high-energy songs, the setlist would have benefited from some cover songs to help keep the crowd engaged.

Crowd favorites from the show were McCollum’s early breakthrough singles “Hell of A Year” and “Like A Cowboy,” along with his more recent hit singles “Pretty Heart,” “To Be Loved by You” and “Handle on You.” McCollum closed his set with his soon to be released song “Hurricane.”

McCollum is a solid songwriter and has put out some great material. However, when it comes to his live performances, he could benefit from some more up-tempo songs and covers. McCollum comes from the Texas country music scene where music is more ‘raw’ sounding, so outside of his more recent, commercial sounding songs, most of his set consisted of mid-tempo songs. 

The stage design was simple but had everything an artist would need for a small arena show. The stage itself was tiered into two levels, and behind it was a big screen for visuals. Some of the stage pieces like the catwalk that went out into the pit could’ve been used more by McCollum, as it would’ve helped create a stronger live experience for fans. Maximizing the stage and its pieces would really help McCollum connect to his audience better like other top country acts.

It should be no surprise that McCollum is on track to becoming one of the new faces of country music, as he already has two number-one singles, multiple award wins and nominations and a lot of industry backing. With a dedicated and growing fanbase along with being one of the few mainstream artists keeping a Texas-country sound, it’s clear McCollum isn’t slowing down anytime soon.