Singer-songwriter Kip Moore has been building a loyal and passionate following in the UK since making his debut at C2C: Country to Country in 2015. Hot on the heels of his third album Slowheart, which was released in the UK last month, he’s been touring around the country culminating in a sold-out show at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire as part of Country Music Week.
Kip came out to an absolutely rapturous reception from the audience and launched into Wild Ones, the title track from his second album. It’s a rocky, guitar-heavy song that really showed off the gravelly tones in his voice and set the template for an evening jam-packed with party songs. He then moved into the 80s rock-influenced Plead The Fifth, the opening track from Slowheart, which sounded absolutely fantastic live, especially on the chorus where he could really show off the power in his voice.
Throughout the set Kip mixed in songs from all three of his albums, with highlights including a raucous rendition of Beer Money, the high energy of The Bull, and the sing-along Heart’s Desire (which brought out the bluesy elements in his voice) and the rocky Bittersweet Company. He also frequently encouraged the crowd to clap and sing along, holding up the microphone to them and doing call-and-response sections – they knew absolutely every word and the look on his face was just a delight to see. It’s clear the audience loved him and the feeling was mutual.
However for me the highlights of the set were the slower numbers, where Kip took to the stage alone with his guitar. He sang an utterly gorgeous cover of Tom Petty’s Learning To Fly, which was full of emotion and held the audience absolutely spellbound, before going into Hey Pretty Girl. The song was a bit of a departure from the rest of the set but I found it incredibly moving and liked that he got the chance to show his softer side.
One thing I particularly liked was that Kip showed off the talents of his band, the Slowhearts, during the set. He regularly broke away from the audience to jam with them and let them take centre stage on several occasions, including an epic solo from new guitarist Dave on Backseat and asking them all to sing a line (along with Drake White) on a cover of U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.
Kip closed the show with Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck – which got a huge reaction in the room – and the nostalgic yet bittersweet That Was Us, before returning for an encore of Guitar Man and Fly Again. I loved the poignancy of Guitar Man and it really showcased Kip’s vocals well, alongside his ability as a songwriter and a storyteller, whilst Fly Again was packed with the attitude and slinky basslines that have become something of his trademark and provided a fantastic finish to the show.
Overall I was hugely impressed with Kip’s performance – in my view he sounds even better live than he does on record, plus he kept the energy levels high throughout the set and showcased off his talents as a musician, singer and songwriter. It’s obvious that he loves playing in the UK and I can’t wait to see him again when he comes back over here to play C2C: Country to Country in March 2018.
Set list: 1. Wild Ones 2. Plead The Fifth 3. Just Another Girl 4. Sunburn 5. Beer Money 6. I’m To Blame 7. Come And Get It 8. Backseat 9. More Girls Like You 10. The Bull 11. Running For You 12. Heart’s Desire 13. Bittersweet Company 14. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2 cover with Drake White and the Slowhearts) 15. Learning To Fly (Tom Petty cover) 16. Hey Pretty Girl 17. Up All Night 18. Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck 19. That Was Us 20. Guitar Man 21. Fly Again Performance date: 6th October 2017