Monday, August 8, 2016

Miranda Lambert, Kip Moore, Brothers Osborne concert review: Los Angeles

photo: Matt Masin/OC Register
Last month, Miranda Lambert did a post to her Facebook page that read: “the last year of my life has been one of heartache and healing … music is medicine,” no doubt referencing her divorce from Blake Shelton.

The admission came in conjunction with “Vice,” the first taste of a forthcoming album possibly due before year’s end. The new single is a “tear in your beer”-type slow burner that stands among Lambert’s best.

Since the spring, she has mixed concert dates opening for Kenny Chesney with her own headlining tour. It reached Los Angeles on Thursday night and found her in fine form.

After a quick montage featuring female pop culture figures (Betty Boop, Annie Oakley, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton) flashed across the Greek Theatre screens, Lambert and her eight-piece band opened the 90-minute set with a lively “Fastest Girl in Town.” The stomping harmonica and banjo-inflected “Kerosene” was equally fiery.

A raucous “Bathroom Sink” really got the crowd riled up. Then Lambert went into hard rock mode for a cover of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” and totally threw herself into it. Dramatic tear-jerker “Over You” (co-written by Shelton) prompted a loud fan sing-along.

Noting that she’s “never seen a place” as multi-faceted as L.A., the singer radiated joy during “All Kinds of Kinds,” where traditional country sounds (mandolin, lap steel) led the way. The quiet levity surrounding her 2010 radio hit “The House That Built Me” was riveting.

“I wrote this about real things,” Lambert said, about “Vice.” She really sold the dramatic tune, underscored by piercing synth stabs. Other highlights came when Lambert supplied attitude aplenty and sang with a vengeance: “Mama’s Broken Heart,” “Little Red Wagon” (bolstered by wailing harmonica) and main set closer “Gunpowder & Lead.”

Lambert’s penchant for 1970s remakes continued with a jaunty “Ophelia” by the Band (alongside guest sax man Johnny Reno). They also did Danny O’Keefe’s “Covered Wagon” with a Stonesy vibe and encored with a starkly captivating take on Lowell George’s “Willin’” (Linda Ronstadt recorded it for “Heart Like a Wheel”). Tour mates Kip Moore and Brothers Osborne traded verses with Lambert on the latter.

photo: Matt Masin/OC Register
Kip Moore, whose “Up All Night” was the most successful male solo country debut of 2012, finally followed it up last year with the better, panoramic sounding “Wild Ones.”

Clad in backwards ballcap and torn jeans, the raspy vocalist launched his powerful 65-minute Greek set with its title track, all awash in The Edge-style guitar textures, booming drums and a chant chorus worthy of an arena rock band.

High energy Top 10 single “Beer Money” received a welcome audience response. Moore’s surprisingly hard rocking take on Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” did too.

The hunky musician was very expressive onstage. He recalled a young John Mellencamp on “I’m to Blame,” was excitement personified during the passionate “Come and Get It” (three electric guitars supplied atmospheric splendor) and made ladies squeal while pulling on his shirt amid the seductive “Back Seat.”

Taking a gal’s cell phone so they could be “like real people and see eye to eye,” Moore sang to her while seated on the earthy, Springsteen-ish hit “Hey Pretty Girl” and followed with a snippet of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me.”

Venturing out into the audience for slinky No. 1 single “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” revved up the show's energy level and Moore embraced a little girl onstage. He finished with the soaring rock of “Magic.”

Talk about a rush.

Earlier, Brothers Osborne played a satisfying half-hour set of songs from the latest album “Pawn Shop.” John constantly impressed with his tasty electric tasty guitar work, especially on the loping ode to “Rum,” “Down Home” and the extended circuitous solo to catchy hit “Stay a Little Longer.”

Meanwhile, lead singer T.J. called playing the Greek “a bucket list moment,” sang through a megaphone to start “Greener Pastures” (an upbeat, twangy appreciation for weed) and proved his mettle amid wistful current country single “21 Summer.”

My review originally appeared at

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