photos by Amanda Hatfield

Kacey Musgraves, one of the artists we were excited to see at SXSW, headlined a day party at Spotify House yesterday (3/16) (the same place Willie Nelson played on Sunday). Not that this was unexpected, but she and her band were super professional and clearly treated this like their own concert rather than a slot on a SXSW showcase. And it worked -- it was the one time yesterday where I felt like I was at a Coachella-type music festival. Her all-male backing band were in suits, sunglasses, and most of them had cowboy hats too, and they stayed locked in and looking cool as Kacey commanded the crowd with true star power. She didn't even have to do much -- the (slightly ill-advised) cover of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds," that she transitioned into after giving her own "Step Off" a reggae tinge, was the only real time she brought a pop star side out. Mostly she'd just motion at the crowd with her head or take a step back from the mic and have the whole place start singing twice as loudly. That Bob Marley song was one of three covers she did, also taking on Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" (not with Sara Watkins on fiddle this time though) and ending the show with Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'."

As for her own songs, she split it pretty well between 2013's Same Trailer Different Park and last year's great Pageant Material, the album that helped her cross over outside of the country world. The country signifiers were definitely all over her show yesterday -- in addition to those cowboy hats, her band switched between electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, mandolin, pedal steel, electric and upright bass, and keys -- but in some ways they were just a rock or pop band. Watching them play highlights like "High Time" and "Late to the Party" didn't feel much different than watching any number of '70s Southern rock bands that scored real radio hits. It's not hard at all to see why she's so appealing to several types of music fans.

More pictures of Kacey at Spotify House, including one of the setlist, below...