With pink flamingos lining the stage and a finale that involves bubble machines and giant party poppers, you’d be forgiven for thinking Kacey Musgraves is living out her childhood dreams. To be fair with her rise to the top of the American country music chart and her recent CMA nominations, there’s a lot to celebrate and tonight certainly captures that vibe.
Perhaps what’s most telling is how in just a few months she’s gone from a half filled venue at Bush Hall, to an almost capacity show at the Empire. Nevertheless with the growth in fan base there’s a shift and despite having several albums before Same Trailer Different Park the fillers come in covers rather than unknown self penned numbers. Sadly these often fall short, I Put A Spell On You and Love Fool seeming somewhat lackluster, and whilst this in turn highlights the strength on her own songs it create a series of lows in an otherwise solid performance.
With the likes of My House and Step Off bringing a rocky vibe to the show and a beautiful simplistic rendition of It Is What It Is showcasing Kacey’s vocal capacity, it seems that sometimes the desire to put on a show filled with props gets in the way. Whilst Blowin’ Smoke is faultless musically, the flashing ‘Hey’ and ‘Yeah’ signs on the backdrop draw my attention away from the music, my and instead I’m focused on the gimmicks.
It’s not all gloom of course, and though Merry Go Round is darker in meaning, it’s more impressive in delivery. It’s here when the focus is on the music that Kacey excels. Likewise new song Rainbow is delivered solo, with just an acoustic guitar for accompaniment and it showcases her vocal range and songwriting skills.
Meanwhile the effortless latest single Follow You Arrow is an instant hit, a subtle message the resonates with the crowd. It seems to be a fitting ending to the show and as she sings “you’re damned if you and do, and you’re damned if you don’t, so you might as well do whatever you want” I can’t help but nod and agree. Kacey might not have measured up to her earlier Bush Hall show, but it’s clear she does things her way and if whimsy is the way she wants to go, the reactions show that many are not going to complain. Though fanciful props are not my cup of tea, it’s nice to see another artist making country more mainstream.