I grew up in southeastern Indiana, baptized in a basketball hoop and spoon-fed Mellencamp tunes like it was gospel. It was the typical childhood of a Hoosier kid in the 80’s. As I got older, I listened carefully for anything that resembled those Mellencamp songs. You know, songs about growing up, young love, and the trials and tribulations of just trying to make a niche for yourself in today’s world. Songs that I could actually relate to. I listened. Every once-in-a-while I’d catch a faint whisper, but nothing stuck. Nothing I heard invoked the ghost of Johnny Cougar.
Enter Kip Moore.
I’ve been on the Kip Moore bandwagon ever since I first heard the song “Up All Night”. It was spring of 2013 and, admittedly, I was squarely in the throngs of a quarter-life crisis, single, and was one of those shmucks who very much looked forward to sitting down and watching CW’s Hart of Dixie. That’s where I first heard it. That’s when my appreciation for Moore began.
Fast forward to now. The bandwagon has since evolved into a full-blown locomotive, and Moore continues to create music that resonates with as many blue collars as it does suits. A Georgia boy at heart with Nashville roots, he has slowly carved out his own brand of catchy, heart-on-your-sleeve tunes that we – everyday people just doing our best – can relate to and believe in. Some people call it country, others might say rock. I will simply tell you this: it doesn’t matter what label you throw on it, because it’s pretty damn good.
It shouldn’t come as a shock to read that his live shows are energetic, passionate, and a plain old good time. Ask the hordes of his faithful followers and they’ll tell you plain and simple: He shows out Every. Single. Time. In other words, Kip Moore puts on one hell of a show.
I saw him recently on his After the Sunburn tour with Jillian Jacqueline and The Wild Feathers at Louisville’s Palace Theatre – a masterpiece of architecture in its own right – and he did not disappoint in the least.
The Palace is a beautiful venue that’s warm and intimate. Admittedly, I more than once wondered how that would translate with Moore’s devout fan base.
As soon as the lights went down and the bass from the drums kicked in, I wondered no more.
Moore absolutely rocked the place. And the crowd devoured every strum of his guitar – belting out lyrics right along with him. He fed off that energy and never slowed down – except to thank the fans numerous times for coming out. For a little over two hours we were treated to songs from all three of his studio albums, as well as some deeper unreleased cuts, and he graciously gave us a taste of new song that he played acoustically. He even stuck around after the show to sign autographs and take pictures with fans (something I sadly missed out on).
As good as the show was with hits like “Beer Money”, “Somethin Bout a Truck”, “More Girls Like You”, and “Running For You” – the highlight for me came early (the fourth song of the night) when he struck up the one song that started this whole thing for me six years ago – “Up All Night”. It also happened to be the Mrs. and I’s three-year anniversary. That was perfect and made me a bigger fan than I already was.
On Saturday, September 29th I sat a few rows from the stage and I was that kid again. The same kid rocking along to his dad’s records, singing off-key, and feeling something. Inside of the Palace Theatre there was no whisper. It was a full-blown rebel yell. And I loved every damn minute of it.
We need Kip Moore. In a musical world filled to the brim with auto-tune and electronic beats, Moore is his own “I am what I am” brand of music. And that’s alright with me.
Cory Huffman teaches English and social studies in Southern Indiana. Besides his penchant for good bands and music, he has also written for Indiana on Tap and an avid Cincinnati Bearcats fan.