MAY 14





“Make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys/ or kiss lots of girls/ if that's something you're into/ when the straight and narrow/ gets a little too straight/ roll up the joint, or don't just follow your arrow/ wherever it points.” - Follow Your Arrow - Brandy Clark-Kacey Musgraves-Shane McAnally

The autumnal chill on the dock of the bay didn't dampen spirits of music devotees who escaped the Clive Palmer-Trump-Putin Orwellian multi-media audio and visual invasion in the unlucky radio country.

This joyous army of fans followed their arrow to the warmth of The Bahamas - the Toronto trio fronted by Afie Jurvanen.

Alfie, who turned 37 on April 28 - the day before Willie Nelson celebrated his 86 th birthday - was joined on stage by drummer Jason Tait and bassist Pino Palladino.

Young Alfie, whose family now calls Novia Scotia home, had a captive and attentive audience whom he thanked for arriving early.

He provided culinary praise for newly renovated nearby Espie hotel where he dined out the night before on cheeseburgers and fries.

Maybe Floridian singing septuagenarian sailor-pilot Jimmy Buffett had provided the paradise recipe from his previous tours.

But Alfie revealed his trio had boosted the St Kilda economy and wondered if Hilton or Marriot owned his dining digs - not the local developers.

Bahamas kicked the dew off their stage with a booming bass reverb that was audible at the empty nocturnal neighbour Luna Park and maybe at the Espie.

The trio seemed uplifted by the audience's recognition of songs such as So Free, No Expectations, Caught Me Thinking, Your Sweet Touch, Lost in the Light and All the Time.

Most were chosen from their fourth album Earthtones that had scored sporadic video and radio airplay here.

But the best was to come Alfie reminded his fast-growing audience now boasting Out On The Weekend Love Police promoter Brian Taranto.

Brian graciously staged a Kinky Friedman headlined benefit concert at the Espie for Nu Country FM after its Beer Can Hill studios burned down on June 26, 2000.

Taranto was just three rows in front of where this reviewer sat and lauded Pakenham photographer Andrew Friend ventured forth to shoot the headliner Kacey Musgraves and her sizzling sextet.


“If you ain't got two kids by 21/ you're probably gonna die alone/ at least that's what tradition told you/ and it don't matter if you don't believe/ come Sunday morning you best be there/ in the front row like you're supposed to/ same hurt in every heart/ same trailer, different park/ mamas hooked on Mary Kay/ brothers hooked on Mary Jane/ and Daddies hooked on Mary two doors down.” - Merry Go Round - Kacey Musgraves-Joshua Osborne-Shane McAnally.

It was a cinematic psychedelic trip from the moment the ornate historic theatre stage was bathed in a swirling light show ignited by this Texan tigress and her energised multi-instrumentalist be-suited sextet.

Kacey Musgraves proved why she soared from small town show business shadows to a quadruple Grammy winning star in her growing galaxy that dominates country pop fandom.

This meant the Musgraves milieu was populated tonight by a diverse demographic from pre-pubescent babes, some in pseudo swaddling clothes, to senior citizens from bush retreats diverse as Yarpturk and Yackandandah.

It was clear from the first bounce that the energised stage front spectators would be standing and swaying for their 20-song international anthems.

This was good news for those whose gym workouts provided seasonal stamina but not so glad tidings for those inclined to a steep incline to a seated posture.

Despite that and my colour-blindness I can report that young Kacey, just 30, was a spectacular sight in seniors' eyes in polyester flared pants suit and silver platform heels from her entrée Slow Burn and biographical Wonder Woman.

“This is my first time here (the Palais) and I'll be doing new songs tonight,” Kacey revealed to animated audience screams.

“This is the first song I wrote when I met my husband.”

Musgraves performed positive paean Butterflies in the absence of her singing spouse Ruston Kelly, also 30, whom she bailed out after he was busted for DUI in Nashville and wrote a song behind bars.

This was a joyous St Kilda sojourn as she followed Lonely Weekend with Happy And Sad.

Coming here was on my bucket list,” revealed Musgraves whose 2015 Australian tour didn't include Melbourne .

“Australia reminds me of Texas where I spent a lot of time. This next song is about the little town in Texas where I grew up, but it could be a town anywhere.”

That was her intro to Merry Go Round - sequel of sorts to historic Cowboy Peyton Place - a hit for famed Texan Doug Sahm who died at 58 on November 6, 1989.

Sahm sang of falling in love with his steel player's wife but there seemed to be little danger of that for Kacey whose steel player was a male multi-instrumentalist like all her band members.

Kacey drew on hometown Golden for her tale of trailer park graduates - prematurely young mothers, dope smoking siblings and cheating chaps.

She illustrated her songs with vivid video backdrops including the omnipresent cacti and rainbow flags.

I seemed to have left my rainbow flags safely tucked up at home with my Geelong footy scarves, also given the night off.

But this was a fast-moving train with High Time and Die Fun , dating back to 2015 CD Pageant Material , that she punctuated with her seventh album title track G olden Hour .

Musgraves also referenced her recent mothers' day down under with Mother - a song she wrote for her maternal creator and grandmother while on a different trip - LSD.

The singer referenced her international tour, now enjoying it 18th month, with new tune Oh, What A World.


“Family is family, in church or in prison/ you get what you get, and you don't get to pick them/ they might smoke like chimneys but give you their kidneys/ yeah, friends come in handy, but family is family/ they're there when you're married, divorced and remarried/ you fall out of touch, but then someone gets buried/ and you're right back together like no time has ever gone by.” - Family Is Family - Kacey Musgraves-Shane McAnally-Josh Osborne.

This may have been a psychedelic trip of sorts but there was a pure country oasis as the entire band assembled frontstage for a stripped back version of Family Is Family.

Here was an organic celebration of her roots with her band circling bluegrass-style around her with spoons, banjo, cello, double bass, acoustic guitars and percussion.

This was a haunting homage and highlight to the Musgraves Lone Star state legacy way beyond the neon.

Soon it was back to the present with a humorous introduction.

In Texas we have scorpions,” Kacey revealed .

“How many of you experienced Huntsmen spiders and cassowaries down here?”

The audience reaction suggested a spider plague akin to cane toads and Clive Palmer up north and tedious traffic turmoil down here.

“I was threatened by having a Huntsman in my bed if I didn't do this next song - It Is What It Is.”

They followed with Love Is a Wild Thing, Velvet Elvis and the return on-stage of Bahamas for the Weezer cover Island In The Sun.

Equally energised was pedal steel primed Space Cowboy.

Then followed crowd favourite and singalong Follow Your Arrow - the anthem for sexual liberation that featured Kacey whistling as she worked and sang.

Musgraves then followed in the footsteps, so to speak, of March tourists Florida Georgia Line with an offer she rejected loudly at her Enmore Theatre concert in Sydney.

Yes, a burly bloke urged her to do shoey from his well-worn boot.

“That's disgusting. I'm not f**king drinking out of your shoe,” Musgraves told her persistent but rejected Enmore donor.

But here after another salient song Rainbow she swallowed her own shoey of gin from a silver slipper of her choice proffered by her double bassist.

“Basically, you're welcome,” Kacey said as she toasted her band and audience.

And, yes, she closed her show after removing her shoeys with their dynamic delivery of High Horse.

“I bet you think you're John Wayne/ showing up and shooting down everybody/ you're classic in the wrong way/ and we all know the end of the story.”

With 20 inspired songs - including all 13 from Golden Hour - it was a Ruby Tuesday marathon.

It ended just 60 minutes short of the midnight hour with mucho help from her hot band who hailed from California , Oregon , Kansas , Nebraska , Pennsylvania and Mississippi.

Kacey Musgraves Set List

1 - Slow Burn

2 - Wonder Woman

3 - Butterflies

4 - Lonely Weekend

5 - Happy & Sad

6 - Merry Go 'Round

7 - High Time Western Jam / High Time

8 - Golden Hour

9 - Die Fun

10 - Mother

11 - Oh, What a World

12 - Family Is Family

13 – It is What It Is

14 - Love Is a Wild Thing

15 - Velvet Elvis

16 - Island in the Sun - Weezer cover

17 - Space Cowboy

18 - Follow Your Arrow

19 - Rainbow

20 - High Horse

Review by David Dawson

Photography – Andrew Friend of Country Roc Shotz. Facebook and IG

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