Kacey Musgraves - The Arts Club, London
A few years ago I went to Italy with a mate of mine to watch a couple of Champions League games. The first was Roma, so we stayed in Rome a couple of nights, saw the sights as you do, then jumped on a train to Milan. After the AC Milan game we wandered round the city - it's dull, don't bother - then thought we'd take a look around the Gucci shop. Now, that was an uncomfortable experience. Imagine two lads in Italy to watch some football. We weren't snappily dressed like the locals. Eagle eyes were on us as soon as we stepped in the door, and when I dared to touch a £200 belt I thought an overly expensively leather pixie boot was on its way to help me out of the shop.
Now, the reason I’m boring you with my holiday stories is that slightly uncomfortable feeling of being out of place came creeping back as I was let into The Arts Club by the doorman, who looked seriously gutted he had to hold the door for me. Same when I was grudgingly handed a beer by the head barman. I'm pretty sure they're used to more highfalutin clientele than this hack. Behind that door though, this was a world of wonder: Paul Gambaccini at my side, wine, posh pizza - and that bottle of beer. Not the usual Carlsberg or Tuborg either.
But the actual reason I was here was to see new country sensation that is Kacey Musgraves. She's young, good looking, and more authentic than her more mainstream peers - yes, Miss Swift I'm looking at you. Her songs are more varied thematically, without the heavy musing on love, and yet the majority are still on the chipper side of the emotional spectrum.
With a full band - looking like they'd just been to the 'Highly Stylized Country Band' section of the local fancy dress shop - behind her and an awesome sound system, she played through the most audience-friendly tracks from her debut Same Trailer, Different Park. Opener 'Step Off' was almost a message to the gathered industry types: no pressure thanks, just relax and have fun. She was genuine in the small amount of between song chatter, name dropping Jools Holland, raising a glass to the room, telling us she’s got a 6am flight in the morning, hence the early start. 'Merry Go Round' gets an airing early on; current single 'Silver Lining' is held back for the penultimate song. It's a great ditty about how a "shitty day" can turn out alright. And she chose the racous fun of 'My House' to finish with, which had seasoned hacks grinning ear to ear.
At just 30 minutes, this was just a taster for her Shepherd's Bush Empire in October. Good fun, good songs, and a likable and talented performer. Check her out - she's going to be a star.