On Saturday night time Kacey Musgraves performed a magical set at Stagecoach, one of the crucial celebrated nation music festivals in America. Whereas she didn’t headline the coveted Saturday night time slot — that honor was reserved for (male) megastar Keith City — she performed a honeymoon of a set simply earlier than, to an viewers of avid nation followers packed all the way in which to the again gates. As a result of I used to be lucky sufficient to have entry to the pit, I used to be shut sufficient to see the sequins on Kacey’s immaculate, throwback two-piece swimsuit.
There have been loads of individuals up there with me biding time for Keith City, certain; however there have been additionally enclaves and complete swathes of Kacey followers, dying to hit their pink vapes and sing alongside to the model new cuts off her unbelievable new album, Golden Hour. And for individuals who weren’t already keyed in to Kacey’s maintain on the brand new nation coronary heart, by the tip of her gorgeous hour-long set I heard them exclaiming to one another about her self-assurance and endurance. And that’s simply advantageous with Kacey — but it surely’s not like she’s unaware of her impact at this level.
The 29-year-old rising nation star kicked off the set with “Sluggish Burn,” the searing-yet-gentle opener off Golden Hour, preventing fairly a little bit of wind off as she did. I’m speaking the type of wind that had mic techs scurrying again onstage proper earlier than the band entered to safe errant mic stands with mini-boulders to maintain them steady. “Holy shit it’s windy!” Kacey laughed into the mic after her introductory quantity, sliding in one other expletive with the informal grace of a barely-rebel in a notoriously ramrod strict atmosphere. “We had been right here a pair years in the past, can I say… I’m actually fucking excited to be again?” she requested. The group roared affirmative response — for probably the most half, nation followers don’t actually thoughts the F-bomb. Or weed. Or rampant references to disco, their very own claustrophobic set of hypocritical guidelines, or just a little Brooks & Dunn. Not less than not these of us who stay in California.
Dipping generously into each her model new album and her in depth, beloved again catalog, Kacey stuffed her set with songs that the majority prominently show the irreverent, wryly golden bent of her explicit songwriting fashion. At one level towards the start of her set, her earpiece went out (I blame the wind once more) and Kacey was pressured to improvise. Confidently, nearly impishly, she led the gang by an acoustic, lowkey rendition of “Merry Go Spherical,” one of many first songs off her breakout album, Identical Trailer, Completely different Park, that she ever noticed hit the Billboard chart, a notoriously tough job for girls in nation.
In fact, this was additionally the tune that earned her accolades within the queer group — for the road “kiss numerous boys / or kiss numerous women if that’s one thing you’re into” — and ushered her in as a brand new type of nation star, one prepared to push on the archaic, typically maligned conservative values that the majority icons and distinguished business members of the style nonetheless overtly maintain (No, not all of them, however the feeling generally stays). That tie-in made this sing-a-long all of the extra candy, because the tide turns each on the stage and off of it for followers and members within the nation music group.
I introduced a first-time pageant goer and large Kacey fan to the fest (see under), and as she identified, one in every of Kacey’s largest strengths is how totally herself she appears, each in tune and in interviews, on-stage banter, and past. There may be an effortlessness in her public self that’s irreplaceable, stemming from what looks as if an utter lack of separation between her at-home self and her performing self; what you see is what you get, in the easiest way. It may be tough for artists to share this a lot of themselves in public, notably in 2018 when it looks like scrutiny for the smallest misstep is at an all-time excessive, however Kacey by no means bats a watch relating to sharing the guts of who she is, which she achieved so solely on Golden Hour.
Instantly earlier than enjoying that album’s standout monitor, “Love Is A Wild Factor,” the singer surreptitiously known as out the rampant hate that’s been spewing out of our present political administration and doubled down on her perception that love will at all times, at all times win. Her means to face for what she believes in, even when confronted with a crowd which will or might not consider the identical as her, is a part of what makes Kacey Musgraves stand out, not simply in nation however past all hint of style. As a result of, that very same steadfastness goes into all the things she writes, and each be aware she sings. This was simply as in her rendition of Golden Hour‘s resident banger, “Velvet Elvis” because it was in a simple cowl of Brooks & Dunn’s beloved “Neon Moon,” a tune that really would’ve slotted fairly properly on Kacey’s newest file.
When she completed out her set proper after that, with the disco-heavy, syrupy jam of “Excessive Horse,” it wasn’t simply her superfans who appeared round, confused, when there was no encore, and no extra songs nonetheless to return. By the tip of her efficiency, Keith City felt like one thing of an afterthought. However Kacey’s golden hour lingered on, effectively into the night time, basking below the sunshine of the complete desert moon.
Golden Hour is out now. Get it right here.
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