Kacey Musgraves: Masterful in NYC

Kacey Musgraves
Same Trailer Different Tour
featuring Brandy Clark
Bowery Ballroom, NYC
September 19, 2013

In an era where country radio is dominated by male artists, two of the genre’s very best females took to the Bowery Ballroom stage in Downtown New York City on Thursday night.  A sold out crowd shoved their way into the intimate venue to catch a glimpse of the highly nominated sensation that is Kacey Musgraves.  She brought along as her opening support, the less well known, Brandy Clark.  Both put forth performances that were as impressive as they were refreshing. 

Brandy Clark took to the stage at 9:00 p.m., and sang songs that were remarkably authentic.  Brandy sang about crazy girls, death, drugs, and broken hearts.  She was dressed in all black and backed by only one guitarist, yet her delivery and lyrics painted a picture in the minds of all who were in attendance. 

 

Not many really knew what to expect from the opening act, but by the time she finished she clearly had won over everyone in the building.  The song “Broke” has all the potential to be a radio hit and her current single, “Stripes”, has a dark yet humorous approach that plays unusually well together.  She also sang The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” which she wrote and she stated that Kacey had “sung the shit out of” on the demo.  She stated her solo album will be released on October 22nd.  I plan on buying it and looking for more from a woman who has a real authenticity and is dripping with talent to become a star. 

Speaking of star power, the headliner, Kacey Musgraves, is already on her way to stardom.  Her album, Same Trailer Different Park, debuted #1 on the Billboard All Genre charts and she just wrapped up Kenny Chesney’s Stadium Tour where she served as the opening act and a duet partner with Kenny on most nights.  Furthermore, she was the most nominated artist for the upcoming CMA Awards and this was the first night of her tour, which happened to be a sell out crowd in New York City.  Not so bad for a female playing in what has been dubbed the frat boy party era of country music.  And her performance served to be just as impressive as her resume.

Kacey looked absolutely stunning as she took to the stage with her acoustic guitar and hippy looking band behind her.  She combined a setlist of songs off of her album, with impressive covers from artists in other genres, as well as new songs and songs she had written for other artists.  All of the songs, such as “Blowin’ Smoke”, “Merry Go ‘Round”, “Silver Lining” and the such were sing a longs as the NYC crowd was extremely familiar with her album cuts.  “Mama’s Broken Heart”, recorded by Miranda Lambert and written by Kacey, was easily the most explosive song in the set as the energy from what was mostly a mellow crowd seemed to amp up a few notches.  The real highlight of her set was the Caribbean styled mash-up of “Step Off” with Bob Marley’s legendary classic “Three Little Birds”.  Kacey danced all over the stage and seemed to really be soaking it all in. 

 Kacey’s encore was truly unique as she sang three songs that were completely different from each other.  First, was a new song called “Rainbow” which she performed acoustically without her band.  It gave goosebumps to just about everyone as it has #1 written all over it.  The lyrics are absolutely stunning and her delivery of the solemn tune was breathtaking.  She followed that up with the party pop anthem “Lovefool” by the Cardigans which had everyone dancing along as a bubble machine began to fill the room with bubbles.  She finished off her impressive set with “Follow Your Arrow” which she prefaced with the fact that she loves New York City so much because it was so open to all kinds of people.  Kacey masterfully executed an impressive set which showcased why she is a true future star, not only in country, but in the overall music world.  I look forward to watching this talented woman rise to the top.  Because if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere. 

SETLISTS:

Brandy Clark:

  1. Crazy Women
  2. Pray to Jesus and Play the Lotto
  3. Real Good Time to Hold My Hand
  4. Broke
  5. Better Dig Two (The Band Perry Cover)
  6. Come Over But Can’t Get In (Craig Campbell Cover)
  7. Only Way to Get By To get High
  8. Take a Little Pill
  9. Stripes

Kacey Musgraves

  1. The Trailer Song
  2. Stupid
  3. Silver Lining
  4. Island In The Sun (Weezer Cover)
  5. I Miss You
  6. Blowin’ Smoke
  7. Keep It To Yourself
  8. I Put A Spell On You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Cover)
  9. Mama’s Broken Heart (Miranda Lambert Cover)
  10. Hard Time
  11. Back on the Map
  12. It Is What It Is
  13. Step Off
  14. Three Little Birds (Bob Marley Cover)
  15. Merry Go ‘Round
  16. My House
  17. Rainbow (ENCORE)
  18. Lovefool (ENCORE) (The Cardigans Cover)
  19. Follow Your Arrow (ENCORE)

Zac Brown Band Proves To Be The Best in the Land

Zac Brown Band
Comcast Theater
Hartford, CT
September 1, 2013

Just in case anyone doubted the live prowess of the Zac Brown Band, they surely set the record straight on Labor Day Weekend in Hartford, Connecticut.  It was a hot, humid and sticky day in New England, but that did not stop people of all ages to fill the Comcast Theater pit, seats, and lawn to the very last spot.  The parking lot was extra rowdy as tailgaters got themselves ready, for what I consider, the best Band in the land. 

Zac and his crew of musical geniuses took to the stage at approximately 8:45 and performed one of the most action packed shows I have ever witnessed.  The summer anthem “Jump Right In” got everyone dancing and singing off the bat and ZBB never looked back.  Armed with a laser light show and stunning visuals on the big screen behind them, every portion of the performance was masterfully executed. 

But as much as the visuals were impressive, the real star of the show was music.  And for anyone who regrettably has not seen Zac Brown Band live yet, they are not your typical country act.  In fact, they are far from it.  What other artist or band out there, who churns out #1 after #1 on country radio, can play just some of their “hits” and the fans are left satisfied?  What other Band can play Metallica, Nirvana, David Gray, Van Morrison and James Taylor covers with such authenticity?  The answer is there is only one. 

And as it such with every ZBB show, Zac is the obvious ring-leader, but makes it known that every member of the Band is equally as important.  From Clay Cook and Coy Bowles’ rousing electric guitar solo’s on “Who Knows” to Jimmy De Martini’s face melting fiddle solo’s on songs like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” to John Driskell Hopskins’ surprising rendition of “Enter Sandman” to Chris Fryar and Daniel De Los Reyes perfection on the percussionist instruments, each member shows how truly superior ZBB is from anyone else in the game today. 

Of course, no show would be complete without ZBB’s signature song, “Chicken Fried”, which produced an eruption of vocal chords all singing in unison from the stage to the very back of the lawn.  Zac was extremely demonstrative with his stern and focused look as he picked and strummed his guitar with intensity. 

What really surprised me and much of the crowd was when the band came out for their encore dressed in glow in the dark skeleton outfits that brought an air of mystery and darkness.  And the song selections fit right with costume stage as they rocked out to “Uncaged”, Led Zeppelin’s “Kasmir” and a stirring rendition of The Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”.  I may get knocked for it, but I think ZBB’s version of the song one ups the original as Jimmy De Martini absolutely destroys any other fiddler I’ve ever seen.

All in all, the Zac Brown Band is the best in the business for my money.  The overall excitement and true appreciation for all genres of music makes them truly unique.  In an age where music acts play the same songs and same setlist night after night, no Zac Brown Band show is like one before.  Simply put, ZBB is the best band in land. 

Setlist:

  1. Intro
  2. Jump Right In
  3. The Wind
  4. As She’s Walking Away
  5. Whiskey’s Gone
  6. Who Knows
  7. Toes
  8. Day For the Dead
  9. Sweet Annie
  10. Colder Weather
  11. Free
  12. Into the Mystic (Van Morrison Cover)
  13. Seven Bridges Road
  14. Babylon (David Gray Cover)
  15. Me & Julio (with Brad Stella)
  16. Love the One You’re With/Iko Iko (with Brad Stella)
  17. All Apologies (Nirvana Cover)
  18. The Frozen Man (James Taylor Cover)
  19. Percussion Solo’s
  20. Keep Me In Mind
  21. Settle Me Down
  22. Highway 20 Ride
  23. Knee Deep
  24. Sic ’em on a Chicken
  25. Goodbye in Her Eyes
  26. Enter Sandman (Metallica Cover)
  27. Chicken Fried
  28. Uncaged
  29. Kashmir (Led Zeppelin Cover)
  30. The Devil Went Down to Georgia (The Charlie Daniels Band Cover)