CONCERT REVIEW: Thompson Square — Love, Marriage & Music

In April of 2010 a still little-known Shawna and Keifer Thompson of Thompson Square were in Spokane, Washington as part of a radio station tour.  While sitting in a Guitar Center parking lot they heard their single “Let’s Fight” on the radio for the first time.  It was a big moment for the husband and wife duo and, understandably, they were excited about it.  Keifer was so excited he got out and told a woman in a nearby car to switch her radio to listen to the song.

Twenty months later, Thompson Square doesn’t need to go car-to-car to get people to listen to them.  And they certainly don’t need to look very hard to find people who know and love their music.  Last night Shawna and Keifer were again in Washington State, this time playing with Jerrod Niemann before a sold out crowd at the Snoqualmie Casino.

They hit the stage introduced by a playing of Frank Sinatra’s “Love and Marriage,” which perfectly sums up the pair.  They are all about love:  For each other, for the music and for their fans.  Fittingly, they kicked things off with the previously mentioned “Let’s Fight,” followed by the rockin’ “Getaway Car.”  They then took a step outside of their own music to salute the troops with Tom Petty’s “I Wont Back Down.”   

Shawna’s microphone had some issues during “My Kind Of Crazy,” but in typical Thompson Square style, they made the most of the malfunction.  Shawna simply walked over to Keifer and shared his mic.  Watching them sing face-to-face and cheek-to-cheek, I was struck with one thing:  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a couple who are more natural and comfortable singing with and for each other.  The mic malfunction gave them another opportunity to be close to each other.  The smiles on their faces told us they actually enjoyed the error.

They then launched into their current hit “I Got You,” which was the follow-up single to their chart topping “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?“.  It recently peaked at #6 on the Mediabase charts.  Keifer told me they were relieved to see the song chart so highly, because they knew it might be difficult to follow the super success of “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?“.   Keifer added that “I Got You” is special to them because it’s their first top-ten song as songwriters.

The duo then broke a little news by announcing that their next single will be the beautiful ballad “Glass.”  They credited fan feedback on Facebook and Twitter with helping them to decide to release the song as a single, which shows just how much social media is affecting the music industry.  But the most important feedback was in front of them — a huge audience of fans singing along with the song.  Here’s a not-so-bold prediction:  “Glass” will be their next Top 10 hit — quite possibly their next #1.

Next came a fun cover of Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself For Loving You.”  I love the song and their version of it, but I couldn’t help but to start thinking of Sunday Night Football.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.  But that was just a slight distraction that quickly faded with the singing of their own “I Don’t Want To Miss You”.

The couple set up “As Bad As It Gets” with a bit of teasing.  Shawna mentioned that one of Keifer’s bad habits is leaving open kitchen cupboards.  To which Keifer responded, “At least I know where the kitchen is.”  Shawna shot that down with the argument winning:  “And I know where the dog house is.”  Naturally, it got a huge laugh.  But it also served as another example of two people who are so very much in love with each other and who are comfortable sharing who they are.

They finished the night, as expected, with “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?“.  The song has been part huge part of people’s lives as it has been used in countless marriage proposals and weddings.  In return,  it’s also been a huge part of Thompson Square’s lives.  It may have even helped to save their careers.  Keifer told the crowd that not too long ago they were working as bartenders and close to giving up.  But the success of their self-titled album and particularly the song, gave them new life.

“Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?” recently earned Thompson Square three awards at the American Country Awards.  They’re honored by any awards, but Keifer said these meant so much because they were fan voted.  For the “Single of the Year” for a group or duo, fans voted them over fellow nominees Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, The Band Perry and the Zac Brown Band.  That’s a list of country music heavyweights, but Thompson Square came out on top.

It’s a tribute to Shawna and Keifer, who have come so far since that day in a Spokane parking lot.

(Thompson Square joins Darius Rucker next year on Lady Antebellum’s “Own The Night” Tour.  View our Thompson Square concert pics here.  See the video of Shawna and Keifer hearing “Let’s Fight” on the radio here.)