Where do we start?
Kip Moore certainly left his mark at Country2Country last year, raising the roof at the O2 with his rocking set, becoming the highlight of the weekend for many. He raised eyebrows; this was a guy who had never played outside the states before, with 3 years gone by since his debut album ‘Up All Night’. There was something about his stage presence and honest musical approach that just connected with the fans; something special happened there, and Kip fought with his management to return to our shores this year.
Which brings us to April 27th at the KOKO in London. A sold out show. We’d spoken to Kip after the Birmingham and Manchester gigs – this was the one he was really looking forward to all week. We arrived at the venue at around 2:30pm, and there were already people there who had been waiting since around 11am! And we thought we were mad! Kip’s fans are certainly the most dedicated fans around, and it was lovely to see some familiar faces from the other shows. The KOKO was absolutely packed out, and it made for a truly memorable evening.
Max Milner and The Community opened the show with their rock/blues style which the audience really seemed to enjoy. Max made the semi-finals of The Voice back in 2012; no surprise when you hear the quality of his raspy, soulful vocals. A particular highlight was his final track, ‘Where Did We Go’, a track which isn’t actually released at the moment but we can’t wait to hear it soon. An unbelievably catchy chorus and a superb booming backbeat which sounded incredible live. He’s definitely one to watch; not country but incredibly talented.
Kip kicked off his set with the anthemic track ‘Wild Ones’ which has become a representation of his adoring fan base. It only takes those drums at the start to raise the roof; such an iconic track that reaches its full potential in a live show. “We’ve been waiting all week…been waiting on the weekend” – well actually, we were waiting on a Wednesday night but it certainly felt like a weekend in there! The KOKO was absolutely rocking and it was clear we were in for one hell of a night.
Thankfully, Kip performed the majority of the new album ‘Wild Ones’ which is up there with the best albums we have heard – period. A particular highlight was the stripped-back section of the show where he sang ‘Complicated’ acoustically (video can be seen below). The crowd sang along to every word, much to Kip’s amazement. “It’s amazing to me that y’all know all the words, that song is just an album cut”. It was the same with the likes of ‘Come and Get It’, ‘What Ya Got On Tonight’ and ‘Magic’ – the fans love the album from start to finish.
The acoustic section also included a performance of a new track, ‘Guitar Man’, which is set to feature on Kip’s next project, set to be released later this year. A very personal track about the struggles of an aspiring song-writer, based on a “faceless” busker Kip saw at an airport – “I saw myself in him” says Kip. It’s a stunner and it exposes the sheer quality of Kip’s song-writing; one of those that hits you right in the chest. Surely it can’t get any better than the ‘Wild Ones’ album?…..if this is a sign of things to come, it just might be.
Kip also brought back memories of C2C 2015 with a cover of Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, perhaps the stand-out moment of last year’s festival. Clearly a special moment for Kip too. He spoke highly of the British fans, stating that we have a “real appreciation for the music”, showcased brilliantly during this cover where the crowd were totally in the moment. It was interesting to watch the band, who all took out their ear pieces to listen to everybody singing along; they must not get that kind of reaction too often.
In Birmingham and Manchester, Kip’s encore was ‘That Was Us’, a fan favourite from the ‘Wild Ones’ album. However, in London, he finished with ‘Faith When I Fall’, a personal favourite from the ‘Up All Night’ record that we never expected to hear performed live. It’s one that always seems to be requested during his VIP sessions in the US, and he was also begged to play it in Manchester during his outdoor post-show acoustic session. Clearly a song that resonates with fans and one that he might have to keep in his set list from now on!
It was another one of those ‘I was there’ shows. As far as live performers go, Kip is right up there with the best you will hear, and the connection he has with his fans is something very rare. Once again, he stayed after the show to sign for every last person in the building. Kip might not have the commercial profile that others have, but he has a dedicated cult following who love him just as much as he loves them.
Kip says he will return in February/March next year for another tour….we’re counting down the days already.