KIP MOORE CONCERT REVIEW. TERMINAL 5, NEW YORK CITY, DEC 3, 2015 (THU)

Although I’m not exactly an avid country music fan, Kip Moore was one of the artists I listened most in 2015. I knew Kip Moore by CMA Music Festival on TV I was just watching to kill a time in the summer of 2015. He did a powerful performance with the strong impression on the stage. Either over the screen or real time, a good performance means the musicians send their voices directly beyond the stage and grab audience’s heart straight. I’m sure many musicians think they include their emotions in the voice, but thinking and actual are different. Thinking=inward, actual=outward. Sending emotions and messages with their voice are the difficult jobs and not always based on vocal technique. When their emotions and messages are successfully sent to the audiences directly, the audiences get heat up with much applaud. The applaud heats up artists’ voice, then chemistry was created between the artists and the audiences. That happened with Kip Moore on the CMA Festival. He sang a powerful and upbeat country song “I’m To Blame” on stage. The song’s strong attitudes, “don’t give no fuck about anything”, “going on my way”, “no compromise” and “no apologetic”, were sent to me by his voice directly over the TV screen. I think I wasn’t only one who caught his passion, the festival audiences visibly heated up and applauded loud. I bought his upcoming album, “Wild Ones”, immediately upon released two months after the CMA festival. All songs were pretty good including the bonus tracks. I became his fan.

After meeting with his music, my life was coincidentally the continuation of turning points. I’m basically the man who go to the right if someone directs me to go to the left. I had been adjusted myself with society much of my adulthood for survival, but at one point last year, I decided to go on my way even someone insisted me another way. Another way might be easier, but I decided to choose me. Things weren’t easy after my choice, but I always had “I’m To Blame” on my mind, and that song encouraged me a lot (and still same).

“If there was a wrong road, I’m damn sure I’m gonna take it”

Hey, “a wrong road” will eventually become a right road at the right time no matter how long it will take. Not for them, but for self.

“No, they don’t make guys like me, you get exactly what you see”

I am I, no matter who have been around me. And myself is always the most important thing in life.

Kip Moore had a show at a large live house called Terminal 5 in Midtown West, New York City on December 3, 2015. I knew I would regret if I missed his show just because of my situation after then. So I went to see his live. It was my second country show after Little Big Town. The venue was pretty packed up to the 3rd floor. The supporting act was Michael Ray, and his performance was just plain and nothing impressionable.

A surprise started from the last of pre-show songs started in the dark. It was “Can’t Feel My Face” of The Weeknd. That recent R&B hit song was on pretty opposite side with Kip Moore’s rock-influenced country music, but catchy and many people knew the song. Many audiences sang from the chorus, and flashlights were used effectively through the chorus in the navy darkness. That was a good song choice to heat up the audience before the show.

In the dark navy space, Moore’s band showed up on the stage with dramatic instrumental play in front of strobe light works. That was like a good part of 90’s hard rock lives. Dramatic, solemn, progressive, and melodious…they were the beauty of harmony. In the beautiful effects, Kip Moore showed up with a red guitar and stood up on the speaker with raising up the toast with his cup of bourbon (probably. Evan Williams Bourbon is the official sponsor of Moore’s tour). Then fans also raised their cups to the air with the excited scream. So many cups were raised up to the air. That was like a ritual of starting the concert.

The opening song was the first song from Moore’s latest album and its title track, “Wild Ones”, then “Come and Get It”, the second song from the same album followed. That was a little surprised way to start a show for me because both songs were mid-tempo songs and typically fast songs were more efficient to kick start the show. Also, it’s not really a normal way to begin with the first and second songs of the latest album. But “Wild Ones” contained the lyric “everybody raise your glass” at the beginning of its chorus. After the opening ritual, the song choice was effective to raise up fans’ glasses high again. Plus the song was a dramatic tune like appearing from the darkness like the opening. Starting with a mid-tempo song is relatively risky but I considered Moore succeeded to excite audiences from beginning.

Both Kip Moore’s vocal and his band’s performance were very stable and sounded better than albums throughout the show. Moore’s husky voice had a good advantage to attract his fans with emotions and soul at the live performance. The figure he frequently stood up on the front speakers with the cap backward and ripped t-shirt gave us the impression as he was “The Kid”. I think that was a visually good idea as he wasn’t a tall person (maybe 5’8 or 5’9?) but with a lot of muscle. His band did a good professional job entire the show. Especially the guitarists added their good sense from slow country songs to fast tracks.

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Kip Moore played almost all songs from “Wild Ones” album. One of the highlights was actually a cover. That was “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World released in 2001. The original version was pop/new wave number like The Cure but Kip’s version was faster and harder rock version. Both versions weren’t country at all. Many people seemed like they didn’t know what song it was first although excited. Maybe because Kip’s version was much faster than the original, or maybe that was the song of 14 years ago. But Kip’s version was masculine with comfortable speed and gave audiences grooves. By the end of the song, the audiences raised their fists as their voltage reached max.

“The Middle” effect. The beginning…

…and after.

For me, the song’s lyric with Moore’s strong vocal impressed me a lot. I didn’t know the song even though I’d heard the name of Jimmy Eat World before and “The Middle” was actually a hit song, peaked #5 on Billboard 100 in 2002. Although I like the original version now, I don’t know I would like the song if I listened in 2001. I listened to other Jimmy Eat World’s songs after the concert, and they weren’t my type. But the courageous message behind “The Middle” from Moore’s voice instantly caught my attention in the performance.

“Hey. Don’t write yourself off yet. It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on. Just try your best. Try everything you can. And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.”

The song’s concept is a little similar with “I’m to Blame”. “I’m to Blame” is basically a love breaking song by men, but both songs courage people to be themselves and go on their ways. And I think that was one of the reasons Kip Moore covered the song. I absorbed the song’s message and strength in my mind at the show.

Another highlight came soon after “The Middle”. It was “I’m to Blame”. Before what type of music it was, that was a good song. Plus that was the first single from “Wild Ones” album. The song created a lot of heated waves by the audiences; the waves of fists, the waves of heads, and the waves of joy (and yeah, waves of liquor cups and smartphones, too). Many fans sang the song like an anthem.

After “I’m to Blame”, the songs were the mixture of the soft side with acoustics and the strong side like rock n’ roll (well, country music is still rock n’ roll, you know). It was a good idea he didn’t have the meaningless encore. Everyone seemed satisfied when the show was done without encore after an hour and a half. Through his concert, I realized Kip Moore was an expressionist as well as a genuine musician. His voice expressed the world of his lyrics passionately. His band expressed the world of music beautifully. The lighting system was relatively simple but beautifully supported their expressions and helped fans to sometimes concentrate, sometimes get excited about the music. The entire show was beautiful. And I was glad to be able to feel important messages in my mind.

At last, one personal opinion. I think Moore should refrain drinking liquor straight from the bottle on the stage, no matter it was for his sponsorship or he loved whiskey as a lyric. He drank bourbon straight from a large bottle occasionally. A little from a cup should be ok but alcohol consumption on stage could decrease his professional image. Also, there were many young audiences at the concert and alcoholism is not cool in anybody’s life at all.  At least, Moore is a very talented artist without alcohol.

“WILD ONES” ALBUM BY KIP MOORE

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