We’ve been lucky enough to have Kip Moore melt our faces with his full band setup on multiple occasions here in the UK; there aren’t many artists who’ve shown such a dedicated commitment to their UK fan base quite like Kip has. The energetic show and electric guitars are great, but the fans were craving something a little more stripped-back, something more rootsy. Kip’s ‘Room To Spare’ acoustic tour has been a major success across the pond, and we’re so thankful that he was able (despite saying he had “lost money”) to bring it to our shores.
Jillian Jacqueline, who has been opening the show in some cities in the US, also made the trip as a special guest. Jillian seems to have struck a special chord with the UK fans over the last couple of years with her appearances at C2C and Country Music Week; people have fallen in love with her flawless vocal delivery and clever song writing style. She may be one of those artists over time that does better internationally than back home, where it’s not about the radio singles – it’s just about the songs. At the Birmingham Town Hall, she delighted the crowd with songs from her ‘Side A’ and ‘Side B’ records, including the gorgeous ‘God Bless This Mess’ (written with Lori McKenna) and ‘If I Were You’ (which featured Keith Urban on the recording). She also treated us to a couple of newbies, one of which was written just a week before, and they were two brilliant additions to the JJ catalogue. She’ll be back in September for The Long Road Festival – don’t miss her.
Kip unexpectedly opened the show with no backing whatsoever, casually strolling on to the stage as the adoring Birmingham fans went wild. He performed 5 songs solo, including fan favourites ‘Running For You’ and ‘Complicated’ from the ‘Wild Ones’ album, as well as (for me) his best song, ‘Crazy One More Time’ from the ‘Up All Night’ record. There really is nowhere to hide in that scenario; you’re so vulnerable as a performer, and only the very best at their craft will be able to shine. Kip did exactly that. The ability to hold the complete attention of a room with simply your voice and an acoustic guitar is an enviable trait and one that Kip has in abundance.
After welcoming the band onto the stage, Kip and the Slowhearts kicked into a wonderful rendition of ‘Magic’. That one is such an electric-driven track, which meant they had to come up with a totally different vibe for the song acoustically, and it sounded awesome. That was the beauty of the show; hearing these songs completely transformed with brand new arrangements. We had the likes of ‘The Bull’, ‘Just Another Girl’ and ‘Wild Ones’, all of which are powerful anthems in Kip’s full-band, high-energy sets, but they all worked a treat in an acoustic setting.
The highlights of the set for me were the songs from his recent ‘Room To Spare’ acoustic EP – particularly ‘Love You To The Moon’ (written with UK fan favourite Charlie Worsham) which got one of the biggest reactions of the night and had everyone on their feet dancing. ‘It Ain’t California’ is gradually becoming one of my favourites too, with that big, anthemic chorus and Petty-like nostalgic vibe. Speaking of nostalgia, Kip’s cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain’ is worthy of a mention too – it was obvious how much he and the guys love jamming to that one.
After a long 2-hour set, we weren’t quite done yet, and Kip returned to the stage for performances of ‘Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck’ and ‘Guitar Man’, which has sort of become Kip’s iconic, autobiographical song. It was an emotional end to a rollercoaster of an evening, which had everything from the humour of ‘Reckless’, the anthemic singalong moments with ‘Come and Get It’ and ‘Last Shot’, and a heart-breaking story about his late Father’s health struggles during ‘That Was Us’. It was a show that took us on a journey and one that will live long in the memory. Talk about value for money!