Kacey Musgraves @ SEC Armadillo, Glasgow, 2 Nov
Kacey Musgraves straddles a fine line between pop and country tonight, affirming a growing commitment to her burgeoning pop stardom
Soccer Mommy opens the night with a few choice cuts from her brilliant debut Clean, seemingly pleased that anyone in the audience knows who she is. Her scuzzy guitar glides through the sheen acoustics of the SEC Armadillo and allows her voice to be heard clearly, her pithy observations and wry laments reverberating around the room. An anguished cover of I'm on Fire lays Sophie Allison's feelings bare, before a beefy Scorpio Rising finishes the set in dramatic fashion.
The first sign of Kacey Musgraves comes via her six-piece band, all dressed in identical grey suits, as they take their places behind various guitars, banjos, keyboards, drums and cellos. The stage fills with smoke as the band slowly begin Slow Burn, Musgraves eventually appearing from a staircase at the back of the stage, in silhouette, guitar in hand atop a podium to deliver the first of what will be many tender ballads. The whole stage setup, from the close circle songs to the vari-coloured fans flanking the stage to her own sparkling outfit, serves to promote Musgraves as a singular visionary; a spark of vitality bringing life and colour to everything in her presence.
She straddles a fine line between pop and country throughout the evening, happily paying homage to her roots with older songs like Follow Your Arrow and fan-favourite Merry Go 'Round, professing her love of the pedal steel guitar and getting a few audience-aided "yee-haws." However, the set is mainly drawn from the fantastic Golden Hour (with all but one track getting an airing tonight), which places her firmly in the 'pop' side of 'country-pop'. But regardless of a song's roots, the Musgraves super-fandom are out in full force, singing back almost every word.
A large swath of fans take to their feet during Velvet Elvis (much to the dismay of the stewards) and they're soon joined by a lot more after Musgraves expresses her joy at all the twirling: "It's a lot more fun like this." Much of her music seems perfectly made for dancing, or at least soulful swaying — especially songs like High Horse and Space Cowboy — so it's a little surprising for her to be playing an all-seater venue.
One of the biggest musical shrugs comes with an encore cover of N*Sync's Tearin' Up My Heart (with Soccer Mommy returning to duet), especially sandwiched between the emotional apex of Rainbow and the electro-country rave of High Horse, but it does affirm Musgraves' growing commitment to her burgeoning pop stardom. And on the basis of tonight's performance, a cataclysmic collision of country and pop's monstrous fanbases doesn't seem too far away.