Joe Nichols performs at the UB Tailgate Concert Series

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Joe Nichols may live in Texas, but he’s always loved the Buffalo Bills. No stranger to tailgates, the singer was prepared to croon for an audience full of both football and country fans.

On Friday, the country artist performed at UB as part of the UB Athletics’ Tailgate Concert Series. His set began at 6 p.m. and he continued until fans began to find seats for the game against Baylor at 8 p.m.

“I was so excited to see him,” said Alyssa Izzo, a sophomore nursing major. “I love his music and it was a nice change to hear a country artist that I like perform at UB.”

Hundreds crowded the stage before Nichols came out and even more country fans rushed to the stage when he began his first song. He began with his hit “Brokenheartsville,” getting an already excited crowd amped for his performance. The stage was set up in Stampede Square, which allowed students and members of the community to watch and hear the show from their tents, chairs and trucks.

Nichols played before Super Bowls and baseball playoff games before, but said he loves playing in a college environment.

“Everyone’s getting hammered and having fun,” Nichols told The Spectrum before the show. “It’s a good environment for us because we always sound better when everyone’s getting drunk.”

Nichols consistently referred to Buffalo, the tailgate, and the university during his set. In addition to his original music, Nichols covered other artists like Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” and Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”

“I’m so glad to be here in Buffalo, to be performing here tonight for you guys is awesome. Let’s have some fun,” he said from the stage.

The Texas native tossed on a Bulls hat and even tossed up the Bulls’ “horns up” signal – admitting it felt weird as it’s similar to Texas University’s symbol.

Nichols ultimately closed with his hit single, “Sunny and 75.”

“I came here to listen to good music, eat some barbeque and spend some quality time with my family,” said Fran Bartel, a Buffalo resident. “And that’s exactly what I was able to do.”

His sound is similar to Keith Urban and Jake Owen and his style is more traditional than other artists who are popular today. His more recent albums have been radio-friendly, with a combination of heartfelt ballads and sing-along tracks.

Joe Nichols was first signed to a record label at 19. Since then, he has produced eight albums, including his most recent Crickets (2013). His hit singles include “Brokenheartsville,” “Tequila makes her clothes fall off,” “Gimme That Girl,” and “Yeah."

The Spin Doctors are the next artist in the Tailgate Concert series. The band’s set will begin at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday before the Bulls’ 3:30 game against Norfolk State.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com