When you walk into Shepherd’s Bush, and there are neon cacti on the stage, you know it’s going to be a good night. Kacey Musgraves has wide demographic – last night’s show was sold out – but she makes no attempt to hide her defiant country style.
First to take the stage were John and Jacob, a duo from Alabama. They each played acoustic guitar, and their harmonies rounded out their sound, adding a country feel that would usually be implied by instrumentation. Although their names may have not been immediately familiar, this was the perfect audience for the songwriting duo, who co-wrote the Band Perry number one Done, and the catchy Be My Girl, from the TV hit Nashville. They easily worked the crowd, and built up the anticipation throughout the countdown to the headliner. The band will be returning to London in the next couple of weeks, and hinted to check their social media for dates, and I can assure you that you don’t want to miss them.
Spaghetti western style music played as Kacey Musgraves band took to the stage, all dressed in matching nudie suits, and when Musgraves appeared in her sparkly dress and towering heels, it could have been a scene from the Porter Wagoner show in the sixties. Silver Lining opened the set, and immediately it was a far more polished performance, and it feels like this young artist is taking her rapidly rising level of fame in her stride. She acknowledged that ‘a lot has happened’ since the last time she was in the UK, namely winning numerous awards, including two Grammys, filming CMT Crossroads with Katy Perry, and planning her upcoming tour with the pop superstar, and there is a feeling that it is somewhat of a privilege to see Musgraves in such an intimate setting, it would be no surprise if this was the last opportunity.
Throughout the set there was a pleasant mixture of new and old songs, and a handful of perfectly chosen covers. Her voice seemed stronger in person than it does on her album, and her humour and rapport with the audience felt genuine, and when she kicked off her heels after only the third song, it was met by cheers from the audience. Musgraves has an edge that is often missing from female country stars, and her personality shines through her lyrics. The entire audience sang along with The Trailer Song, despite only having been available for just over a week, and her reggae version of Step Off transformed seamlessly into Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, it really felt as though the artist has found her place as a performer.
Kacey Musgraves’ show had a modern edge, but it always came back to country. The set contained a cover of both Dolly’s Here You Come Again, and TLC’s No Scrubs, and both were just as believable, and for the encore, when the band’s suits and Musgraves’ boots lit up, it just seemed like the obvious thing to do. Follow Your Arrow may have become an anthem, but following it with an a Capella version of Happy Trails was the perfect choice for the young star; she just might be our newest country queen.