Reviews

Miranda Lambert: 24 February 2011 - St Louis, MO

Steve Leftridge

Miranda Lambert, the swaggering voice of modern country, heads back to the road for a victory lap tour.

Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert

City: St. Louis, MO
Venue: Chaifetz Arena
Date: 2011-02-24

“The Revolution Starts Now” read the silky backdrop before Miranda Lambert took the stage. After the 2010 run she had, it would seem that the revolution is pretty much complete, it’s been televised and Miranda is in full control of the Country. In the last few months, she’s won an armful of Grammys, ACM and CMT awards, her 2009 breakthrough Revolution has spawned five hit singles and counting, she has collaborated with her hero Loretta Lynn, and she got engaged to hillbilly boner Blake Shelton.

Her 2011 tour then is a victory lap, not that Miranda is planning on phoning anything in. In fact, she took the stage with such gusto on the opener, “Only Prettier”, that she swiftly ripped open one of her knee-high black boots (“I just got these, but now I can always say I blew out my boot in St. Louie—sounds pretty cool”). Dressed in all black—tight jeans and t-shirt—Lambert sported a tougher, more rock-and-roll look than we’ve seen from her recent television appearances, so gone were the Dolly Parton pumps and hairspray. Instead, Miranda was ready to get mean with the guitars and drums, stalking the stage like a prize-fighter and working the sold-out arena with a quickly-paced set of crowd-pleasers.

Lambert drew heavily from Revolution, getting through two-thirds of the record, with an emphasis on the record’s more rock-oriented material, like “Maintain the Pain” and “Somewhere Trouble Don’t” (shying away from countrier fare like “Airstream Song”). Indeed Lambert’s six-piece band, with dueling razor-edged guitar slingers and a bass player dressed like a high-school English teacher, was locked and loaded for the kind of classic-rock tropes that define country music in its current incarnation.

When ‘Ran did slow things down, as on “More Like Her” from 2007’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, her gifts as a vocalist came ringing through, at times stunningly so. She’s a belter who makes it look easy and her voice was full of clarity, power and control throughout the night. She strapped on some twang now and then, like her swaggering take on one highlight, Steve Earle’s “Hillbilly Highway”. Still, as expected it was the mostly-acoustic version of “The House That Built Me”, the song that made Lambert a superstar, that provided the evening’s most goose bumps. It’s a song that never gets old and she sang gorgeously with the audience singing along so loud that Miranda was more or less another voice in the crowd.

Despite that gentle moment and the fact that her biggest hit is also her most sentimental, Miranda was intent on proving that she’s still a “beer drinkin’, hell-raisin’, deer-huntin’, chicken-fried-steak-eatin’ redneck chick” as she put it. Strangely, the way you prove that you’re a real country girl in 2011 is to rock out and play two different covers with “rock and roll” in the title (Rick Derringer’s “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” and Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”). At the same time, the night contained plenty of references to guns and Jesus for the kind of collective whooping that typifies country fans’ ardent sense of identity. Indeed, no one embodies the collective appeal of country music’s current rally around robust hooks, rural pride, and sexy grit-n-glamour as well as Miranda Lambert. And she gave the crowd a heaping helping of just that.

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less
Culture

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Alt-rock heroes the Foo Fighters deliver a three-hour blast of rock power that defies modern norms.

It's a Saturday night in Sacramento and the downtown area around the swank new Golden 1 Center is buzzing as if people are waiting for a spaceship to appear because the alt-rock heroes known as the Foo Fighters are in town. Dave Grohl and his band of merry mates have carried the torch for 20th-century rock 'n' roll here in the next millennium like few others, consistently cranking out one great guitar-driven album after another while building a cross-generational appeal that enables them to keep selling out arenas across America.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image