Lanco

Opening for Miranda Lambert has been a dream come true for country road dogs Lanco. 

“Miranda has been a favorite of ours,” drummer Tripp Howell says.

“To be able to go on tour with her and watch her do her thing every night is really cool. We’ve been out with her for three days and already we’ve learned it’s OK to be unapologetically 100% yourself. 

“She does that so well. If there’s something in her music or lyrics she wants to say, she says it. People love her for that. It’s a cool takeaway that’s encouraged us as a band.”

Lanco—which comes to Viejas Arena with Lambert and Cody Johnson on Friday, February 21—doesn’t need much encouragement. The five-man band’s No. 1-selling debut, “Hallelujah Nights,” made Lanco the first country group to debut atop the Billboard country charts in 10 years. 

The band is working on its second album in between dates with Lambert and its own headlining shows. 

“The writing and the sound are just everything we loved about ‘Hallelujah Nights’ but refined,” Howell reveals about the new album. “We’re still recording it. We have a little ways to go. But for what we have so far, it’s who we are right now. It’s a prime example of who we are and musically how we’ve evolved in the last four or five years. I think it’s a more refined Lanco sound.”

Lanco’s musicians are taking their time. 

“It’s like a wave,” Howell says about their success. “You hop on a surfboard and let it take you where it takes you. Honestly, we have a really good management team that gives us time to rest when we need to.”

There’s no rest on tour, though—especially with the Lambert tour. 

“We’re high energy,” Howell says. “We love putting on a good show. When we were starting out, we were playing in bars that served food. So people were eating mozzarella sticks and watching cat videos on their phones while we were playing. We thought, ‘How do you make people pay attention to us? We do some crazy stuff.’ Pretty soon they put their mozzarella sticks down and it eventually worked.

“On this Miranda tour, we have 30 minutes only. So we’re giving them hell for 30 minutes. To be on a tour on this big of a scale, 30 minutes is perfect. We play six or seven songs and we’re cranking through them.”

Miranda Lambert w/Cody Johnson and Lanco, Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl San Diego State University, 5500 Canyon Crest Drive, College West, as.sdsu.edu/viejas_arena7 p.m. Friday, February 21, tickets start at $25.