Who here,” asks Texan country pop star Kacey Musgraves, “has legit seen a huntsman spider?” Every hand in the sold-out theatre shoots up. “In your room?” Musgraves replies to a fan. “And you’re still here? I would’ve legit burned that house down.”
Legit, she probably would’ve. Musgraves is many things but most of all she’s a woman who seems to do exactly what she sets out to.
At the second show on her Oh, What A World tour of Australia, she’s set out to “absorb” the crowd’s energy because she’s “feeling a bit shit”. Turns out the “20 f—in’ hours” it took to get here was a bit much.
Musgraves is a flame of floral polyester atop silver platform heels. Her six-piece man-band – cherry-picked from states including California, Oregon, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Kansas – wears matching suits and glittery shoes.
No great talent was headhunted, however, for the visuals, which transition from saccharine to the screensaver version of “cosmic” and back again. Musgraves isn’t the most limber of movers, either, but that’s surely how she nailed her plastic-fantastic Barbie costume at last week’s Met Gala ball.
She can’t shimmy as well as she can sing but it legit doesn’t matter. Musgraves, lest we forget, is the blast of fresh country air who wrote Follow Your Arrow, an anthem of self-acceptance with such resonance that, along with the other songs on her debut album Same Trailer Different Park, saw her tied with Taylor Swift and Lorde at the 2014 Grammys for the most nominations received by a woman (four) in a single year.
Halfway through the show, as Musgraves melts the room with Mother, the stage is unexpectedly reconfigured into an intimate acoustic setting, with Musgraves’ band circling bluegrass-style around her with spoons, a banjo, a cello and guitars at the ready.
They play Oh What A World stripped of its sci-fi sheen and it’s honey on the tongue of the “true country” cravers in the crowd – all twang, pluck and the soar and swoop of a pedal steel guitar.
It’s in this second half that Musgraves strides out of her slump with banter that showcases her funny and fierce streak. For a while she toys with a guy asking for a “shoey” (to drink out of his shoe) before shutting him down with “a hard no”.
Her heels come off for closing disco track, High Horse, so she can literally jump with joy as she delivers one brilliant burn (“You’re classic in the wrong way”) after another.
There’s no encore, waving or phony kisses blown. Just that house burned down, after all.
Sydney Morning Herald article here.