Shepherds Bush Empire, London
added: 19 Oct 2013
// gig date: 13 Oct 2013
reviewer: Paul Chapinal
Kacey Musgraves must be doing something right as the audience tonight spanned generations. Especially managing to attract young people, and going someway towards killing the myth that a generation had been lost to TV talent show conveyor belt dross.
A curious opening set from Rayland Baxter. A native of Nashville he performed his set almost entirely on his own with just an acoustic guitar, despite the album being a band affair. A solid set of Country music saw him strike up a rapport with the crowd, putting everyone in a good mood, and hopefully making some friends.
Lights down and Kacey Musgraves came on to Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots are made for Walking intro tape. Opening with The Trailer Song and there was that tingle that there’s was something special in the air tonight; Ms Musgraves, the band, and audience engaging from the off. This is her debut headline UK tour and Kacey Musgraves could have been forgiven for having some nerves. Not a bit of it, she has a natural stage presence and good line in banter that settled everyone very quickly. It also helps that she has a very good album on the racks, and an excellent band to perform it.
Most of the set was devoted to Same Trailer Different Park album, which walks the tricky line of being quite a traditional Country record, yet having a glossy pop veneer. Live, the songs can be appreciated in a different light; Blowin’ Smoke was harder and the appropriately sauntering Step Off was a gem, seguing seamlessly into Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. The album’s less bouncy moments worked well too with Merry Go ‘Round’s melancholia taking an even darker hue and a wonderful, touching rendition of Keep it to Yourself.
A few covers turned up; her interpretation of I Put a Spell on You, took into bar room blues direction, while Miranda Lambert’s Mama’s Broken Heart was just sent out and lapped up. The two new songs aired – High Times and Rainbow (performed as a solo acoustic) – were interesting and fitted in snugly.
The main set closed with the rustic My House, transformed into a rousing, barnstorming, barn dance of a number. Encores? Yes there was the aforementioned Rainbow, The Cardigans dreadful Lovefool, redeemed by her own superb Follow Your Arrow. Kacey Musgraves remarked at one point that she never realised Country was so popular over here. Well, it is and so is she.
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