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Kacey Musgraves

Venue: The Sage
Town: Gateshead
Date: 01/11/18

Support for the evening came from the curiously named Soccer Mommy, who I think it is fair to say, got very mixed reviews.

KACEY Musgraves hails from Golden, East Texas; her latest album is called Golden Hour. I thought this was a great title but only recently clicked where the Golden came from. Very clever.

Making a striking entrance dressed all in black, matching her band, with beautiful sparkly trousers (though I admit I missed the pink LEDs of last time) Kacey appeared through dry ice afoot a set of stairs on stage, from where she launched into Slow Burn, before walking down to the microphone for Wonderwoman.

Welcoming us all and suggesting we all just have a great night together, she applauded us, the audience, for selling out the room. Id like to think this was as genuinely appreciated as it sounded. As she moved into Butterflies, it was clear that she had a very talented band accompanying her; they eAch knew when to be subtle and when to rock out; as for the banjo, I could have listened to that all night!

The lighting added some simple yet striking effects to the performance, creating a highly atmospheric backdrop to the music.

Kacey is so confident on stage and so professional, it is hard to believe that she isn't yet thirty years old. Her recent foray into a ,pre pop influenced sound is perhaps evidence of this; whilst she does it well, her magic has always been the traditional country sound of her early releases so I hope she doesn't lose sight of that.

As such, the most magical moment for me was the achingly beautiful Merry Go Round, which you can sense is personal, although she dedicated it to all of us who have lived in small towns and can relate. Live, the lyrics of this song tell such a touching story. Other highlights included Family is Family, Follow Your Arrow and Space Cowboy. Not to mention the beautifully constructed Happy and Sad, which speaks to a feeling we have surely all experienced at one time or another. During some of these songs, it occurred to me that Kacey probably ought to receive more credit as a songwriter, as well as a performer. Unfortunately, on occasions, some of those beautiful lyrics seemed to get swallowed in the sound mix.

A really lovely touch was her gathering the band together around her at the front of the stage, to deliver some of the more acoustic numbers. Watching them in such close proximity, it was wonderful to observe their interactions and how well they clearly all work together.

For her encore, Kacey chose to come out, sit on a stool, and deliver a gorgeous performance of Rainbow, which seemed a perfect choice with which to end the night.

After two years, it was certainly fantastic to seer her again and to hear live the songs from one of the year's most talked about CD releases.

I hope Kacey will folllow her arrow back to a sold out Sage 1, soon; only hopes for that return, less pop, more country and a less muffled sound mix.

Helen Mitchell

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