Lucy Dacus kicked off a three night run at Brooklyn Steel on Monday 10/25 as part of her current tour supporting her brilliant new record, Home Video. I was lucky enough to catch her at her last minute Brooklyn show back in August at Music Hall of Williamsburg (see our pics and write up) and was very much looking forward to this run, especially because she also had Bartees Strange on the road with her. I missed his recent Mercury Lounge show (see Edwina Hay’s pics for FTA from that show) and was more than thrilled to be in attendance for this dream come true double bill.
Bartees Strange has been blowing up recently on the strength of his fantastic 2020 album, Live Forever, and it is so well deserved. I remember just a few short years ago seeing him on local DIY shows in Brooklyn and I always love to see folks from our local community achieve the success they deserve (I also have seen his drummer, Jordyn Blakely, perform in a few other BK based projects over the years too, namely Sharkmuffin and Smile Machine). He opened the show on Monday with gusto and put on an electrifying performance featuring mostly songs from Live Forever as well as a new song, “17,” and a cover of “Lemonworld” by The National. Watching his set, it was so obvious to me that it is not going to be much longer before he’s not the opener at a venue like Brooklyn Steel, but the headliner and I am absolutely so excited to be there for that in the future.
Lucy Dacus didn’t keep fans waiting long and was positively radiant when she came to the stage. Her set featured the entirety of Home Video (sans “Please Stay”) and also incorporated a few songs from 2018’s Historian and 2016’s No Burden as well as “La Vie En Rose” by Édith Piaf. For “Going Going Gone” she invited Bartees Strange and his band up on stage for a really fun sing along with them and the rest of the crowd. As was the case last time I saw her, “Thumbs,” was a very intense highlight of the night for me. Having heard it on the album and previously seeing her perform it didn’t lessen the gut punch of it and the impact was still just as strong as I thought about my own difficult relationship with the man who gave me his eyes, taking a moment to close them and reflect as I leaned my head on the support beam I was standing next to. The audience remained in rapt attention throughout as Dacus slayed all of us with her emotional delivery of the song and towards the back of the room, you could have heard a pin drop at times.
Lucy Dacus at Brooklyn Steel
Being a punk at heart, and loving all things LOUD, my favorite moment of the night was the end pairing of “I Don’t Want to Be Funny Anymore,” and “Night Shift.” My personal favorite song from Dacus’ catalog is “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” and when that buzzy riff started up, I broke out into a huge smile. “Night Shift” may start off muted and trick a first time listener into thinking its a mellow offering, but when its giant wall of fuzzy feedback kicks in, you feel it’s full force and I for sure felt it hit me all the way in the back by the sound board with the welcome warm arm punch of a friend smirking at you knowingly.
Another nice thing to see at the show was the lovely stage production. The last show at MHOW had been a last minute addition after her opening gig for Bright Eyes had been canceled, so there was no time for any of her own custom stage design but the large backdrop of the tube TV showing actual home videos of Dacus as a child (before the show, with art from Historian and some of her other titles projected during it) was a really great touch and added a layer of nuance to the overall performance. Dacus was very appreciative of the crowd, thanking everyone more than once saying “Ya’ll have been a treat. I’m trying not to be too corny but I do feel very lucky to be here” before thanking everyone for getting vaccinated and wearing masks. She also asked if everyone liked her gown and quipped that she was currently “in her gown era” which was met with hardy cheers and applause. I was unfortunately NOT attending in formal wear, but am indeed a big fan of gown era Lucy (and all eras, lets be real). Perhaps next time I see her, I’ll break out my tie and waistcoat for the occasion, definitely something to consider.
The magic of the night was not quite done yet after that knockout punch of an ending to the set, and Dacus returned for a solo encore to play a new song. She also informed everyone “I left for just enough time to spill tea all over me,” before explaining that she was about to play a brand new song, and much like she did when “Thumbs” was new and unrecorded, asked fans not to record it and joked to “be really mean if you see anyone around you trying.” The song is about New York and she played this song back in August so it was nice to feel a little familiarity with it. As of yet it doesn’t seem to have a title but it is sure to be a knockout on the next album once it gets recorded and released. This was yet another pin dropping moment as every single person in that room remained laser focused on Dacus on stage.
This was a wonderful start to my week and while she may have said all of us were a treat, seeing her perform and feeling her gratitude for her fans is the actual treat. Thank you for the lovely evening Ms. Lucy Dacus.
Bartees Strange Setlist: Far, Mustang, Free Kelly Rowland, Weights, 17, Flagey God, Lemonworld (The National cover), Stone Meadows, Boomer
Lucy Dacus Setlist: Triple Dog Dare, First Time, Addictions, Hot & Heavy, Christine, La Vie En Rose (Édith Piaf cover), Nonbeliever, Yours & Mine, Parter in Crime, Brando, Thumbs, Going Going Gone (with Bartees Strange), I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore, Night Shift. ENCORE- New Song (solo)
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)