A “Non Review” of Kacey Musgraves @ Royal Albert Hall

Kacey Musgraves would have probably had to come out naked on stage and dipped in marmite, or to have forgotten her guitar altogether, to have gotten a bad review from me (especially in a week when her fellow American musicians were cancelling their UK tours out of respect / fear). So, after my fourth time seeing her live, I won’t write about her musical merits at last night’s London performance (except to say she’d win an award for the most surprising cover song choices, and that I’m convinced she’s been having singing lessons since her earlier UK visits). Instead, since the theme of the show was pageants, complete with the band showing off their own party tricks, I’d like to applaud five of her non-musical talents.

Kacey still

1. The Ability to Make Herself at Home Anywhere
In a week that saw the Dime Store Cowgirl rubbing shoulder (and palms) with British royalty, I was worried that seeing Kacey Musgraves at Kensington’s formal arena, The Royal Albert Hall, would somehow make her ‘less Kacey’. I needn’t have worried. She admitted to us “this is the fanciest place I’ve ever been in”, and I believed her, but the sold out rows of gilded balconies didn’t seem a problem. For the first time in my lifetime of attending events at this venue (because I’m posher than I look) the crowd were asked to get up and dance. So I did; in the back of my box section, my cowboy boots were scootin’ all over the plush burgundy carpet.

2. The Power of Persuasion
I can only imagine the charm it took to persuade her all-male band to wear a uniform of hot pink suits with fairy-light seams and cowboy hats. Bravo Kacey – I once tried to convince a guy to wear a tie, and failed.

2. Bravery
This week I should have been in the audience for two American country stars in London. One was cancelled after the terrorist attacks in Europe. This is not about who still came to perform and who didn’t, but the bravery to broach the tough subject from the stage, without the rehearsed emotion some might have brought. The star of the show admitted to feeling the fear but paused to say that “after the insanity that’s been going on… this would be the wrong time to cancel” and reminded us just how uplifting music can be when it’s needed the most. There was no fanfare, just a bit of candor.

4. Not a Bad English Accent
Kacey (I feel we’re on a first name basis now) can take a seat at the table of Americans who can do a decent impression of our accent. It’s quite an empty table with just her, Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt. It’s possible the only phrase she can say is Jammie Dodgers, so conversation might be limited. Which brings me to a thought that popped into my head mid-concert; does Kacey Musgraves know that Biscuits are something different here in the UK and definitely do not go with gravy?

5.The Balls to Demolish Ridiculous Traditions
I don’t just mean in songs where she’ll poke fun at her Texan heritage and a trailer park culture that’s so foreign yet relatable to us Brits. I mean, finally (and it really is long overdue), someone is putting an end to the faux-encore tradition that has become a standard concert charade. We all know the routine; act pretends to have finished but “shockingly” hasn’t yet sung their biggest hit, audience keep clapping (or don’t as it really won’t make a difference), the act (who we could still see standing in the wings) comes back and sings the ready prepared second set they’d luckily left all their instruments on stage for. No, Follow Your Arrow wasn’t even the last song and while there was a fitting post-bow farewell performance, at no point was I expected to pretend this was a bonus treat for good behaviour.

How did everyone else find the show?

@CheryTwee for @UKCountryBlog

(Top photo courtesy of kaseymusgraves.com because I foolishly forgot my camera, and I doubt you want to see any more of my phone ones!)

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