It’s easy to understand why Kacey Musgraves won four Grammys. In a sold-out show at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre, Musgraves stepped onto the stage and belted out “Born in a hurry/always late/haven’t been early since ‘88” to abundant applause.
As a country artist, Nashville-based Musgraves is unconventional. Her lyrics skirt the usual tropes and add themes of female sexuality, drug use, and LGBTQ inclusivity. She appeals to both the traditional country market and liberal cities like Seattle. This universality was evident as she introduced “Merry-Go-Round”: “Even though it was inspired by where I’m from, it’s probably about where you’re from, too.” The audience sang the final chorus while she played acoustic guitar.
Musgraves’ instrumentation and style are predominantly country, but the banjo and pedal steel are infused with pop sections and disco beats. Musgraves joked between tunes, and replaced the chorus of “Golden Hour” with “golden shower” to raucous laughter. There was even a wedding proposal in the front row between fans Taylor and Dylan—which Musgraves noted could have been awkward if the now-fiancée had declined.
The show was visually striking as well. Three colorful lighted fan props stood tall in the background. Musgraves wore a sparkling white shirt with flowing pants, gold platforms, large gold hoops, and long brown hair, and her six-piece band stood behind her in matching grey country suits.
Musgraves played a 20-song set, with highlights that included recent hits “Follow Your Arrow,” “Butterflies,” “Velvet Elvis,” “Space Cowboy,” and “Rainbow,” and the *NSYNC cover “Tearin’ Up My Heart” with the opening artist returning to provide accompaniment and a coordinated dance routine. Musgraves’ “Oh, What a World” tour supports Golden Hour, which won Album of the Year. As an intro to “Velvet Elvis,” Musgraves led a “When I say ‘yee,’ you say ‘haw’” call-and-response that later went hilariously wrong at Coachella in April 2019.
Soccer Mommy, also of Nashville, opened with a 40-minute set that was well-received even if somewhat unfamiliar: “There are 10 of you [fans], but you’re loud,” said singer–guitarist Sophie Allison. The 21-year-old lofi pop-rock artist was joined by guitarist Julian Powell, bassist Graeme Goetz, drummer Ryan Elwell, and keyboardist–guitarist Rodrigo Avendano. Their debut album Clean has already been critically acclaimed, and this tour spot is likely to be career-launching. Allison proclaimed that Musgraves’ latest album was, “amazing…it’s album of the year, literally!”