Live Review: Kacey Musgraves, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

Golden Hour may have divided the country music purists but one glance around the crowd entering the building on this chilly Glasgow evening proves that Kacey Musgraves’s move towards the mainstream is paying off. She has managed to keep the more mature country music fans and brought in a mix of younger, mainly female and LGBT fans, whose energy and glitter are welcome additions to any audience.

Opening the show is indie rock’s new darling Soccer Mommy who bounces on stage dressed like she’s come straight from hanging out at a skate park listening to Avril Lavigne in 2002. Maybe it’s a Halloween thing as her fashion style isn’t reflected in the slow, airy indie rock songs she plays. She shines best on the song Cool with its catchy chorus and final song Scorpio Rising which builds into something really beautiful. A solo cover of Springsteen’s I’m on Fire is also well received by the audience who give her set resounding roar of approval.

Kacey arrived on stage twenty minutes later than advertised, so it was kind of perfect she started her set with Slow Burn, a song containing the line, Born in a hurry, always late/ haven’t been early since 88. She began bathed in shadow, flanked by her impressive band. Wearing sparkling trousers and bomber jacket she looked every inch the pop star, even if live new songs like Wonder Woman and Butterflies actually sound more country live than on the record.

Kacey created a dreamy, atmospheric haze with the opening numbers and chose old songs with a similar feel, like Keep It To Yourself from her debut and Die Fun from Pageant Material. Sadly this meant that some of her sassier songs like Biscuits and Step Off were excluded, but there was a unity of tone and style created through these choices.

Old favourites Merry Go Round and High Time were thankfully included and still sounded fantastic. She soon kicked off her heels and sank into the rootsier parts of her back catalogue, bringing her band to the front of the stage to get ‘closer’ (a wise decision since this venue’s stage is huge and acts often find it difficult to create intimacy with the audience). Family is Family was as whimsically wonderful as always and it was nice to hear the pedal steel being used so well in the whole set (at one point Kacey told us it was her favourite instrument, as if she wanted to remind everyone she was still country). The main highlights of the set for me were the two Golden Hour standouts: Love is A Wild Thing and Space Cowboy, both sung with a beautiful tone of hard won happiness and wisdom.

A recent Guardian review criticised Kacey for being a stand-offish performer (similar idiots complained about this when she was announced for C2C last year) but if they’d witnessed her brilliant ‘Follow Your Arrow’ they would surely have been silenced. She’s doing things her own way, not everyone has to be Dolly on stage to entertain. Kacey’s talent, charm and understated cool won this audience easily.

For me the only misstep of the evening was the choice to duet with Soccer Mommy on a cover an NSync song that has been rightfully long forgotten by the majority of the audience (if ever heard at all). You feel there was a missed opportunity there to do something more interesting, but I guess the encore part of the show was just about having fun. Kacey finished the set with High Horse and the audience danced in the glow of a discoball, everyone just deliriously happy to be there.

The whole evening was so beautiful, Kacey blinded us all with the colour and sparkle of a true star. Oh, what a world, that has such people in it.


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