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Kip Moore gives Uptown crowd a heavy dose of country steeped in roots rock

Country music singer-songwriter Kip Moore performed Friday at the Uptown Theater.
Country music singer-songwriter Kip Moore performed Friday at the Uptown Theater. Special to The Star

Kip Moore is a registered country artist, and if you go by some of his song titles alone his music fits the description.

“Beer Money,” “Somethin’ ’Bout a Truck,” “Dirt Road,” “Backseat,” “Wild Ones”: All were on the set list Friday night, when Moore played to a crowd of more than 1,500 at the Uptown Theater.

His songs address the usual contemporary country themes: hot women, cold beer, trucks, partying and the various trappings of small-town life. But, especially on his most recent album, “Wild Ones,” Moore’s music veers hard into a mix of Southern rock and Heartland rock. If Bruce Springsteen or John Mellencamp were from Georgia, they might sound like this.

Dressed in typical bro’ country fashion — jeans, a tank top that showed off his Gold’s Gym physique, ball cap on backward — Moore, backed by a sturdy four-piece band, delivered a nearly two-hour set of songs. Most were from his two studio albums, and they stoked a crowd that was a 50/50 mix of men and women, most of whom were familiar with every song.

He opened with “Wild Ones,” a party anthem dedicated to “the wildcats … the fighters … the midnight up-all-nighters,” who also indulge in “a little touchin’, a little kissin’ and a huggin’.” He followed that with “Crazy One More Time,” another anthem about a smitten guy with an inflamed libido.

“Reckless” (Still Growin’ Up)” was a roots-rock anthem about a guy who is getting a few things out of his system, like fighting, smoking weed and trolling for women. “Beer Money” aroused the first raucous ovation and rowdy sing-along. It’s a rock anthem about a guy who wants to grab a gal, get drunk and see what happens: “You got the kiss that tastes like honey / And I got a little beer money.”

He followed that with an odd but faithful cover of Jimmy Eat World’s emo (bro’mo?) anthem “The Middle,” which drew another rousing ovation. He would later cover Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me.”

From there, the set list bounced around his two-album catalog. Several songs elevated the mood in the room, like “What Ya Got on Tonight,” a pop-rock tune in which the singer implores his lady to send a photo showing him what she’s wearing, and “Dirt Road,” a roots-rock ballad that sounds like an outtake from “Born in the U.S.A.”

Attentions wandered in the middle of his set, when Moore delivered a few songs solo acoustic, including “Complicated,” from the “Wild Ones” album, and “Mary Was the Marrying Kind,” his first-ever single. He revived the mood with heavier artillery, like “Fly Again” and “Magic,” a song about a guy whose heart is aflame. It’s a country song according to radio standards, but it was another rock anthem, delivered in a Georgia drawl by a guy who dresses in country style.

Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain

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