24th April | Louisiana
There are evenings in your life when you expect more of an artist than you might do normally. The appearance of Lucy Dacus on Tuesday evening at the Louisiana was one of those occasions. Not only has the American artist released one of the records of the year already in her second album Historian, but her forceful and candid songwriting could also give a sweaty audience shivers.
As soon as the backing band strikes up with the brilliant ‘Addictions,’ the whole venue seems to go in a bubble. Nobody wants to speak. One exception to this is when Dacus says “I’m so glad to be here,” and a person in the audience whispers back, “me too.” Dacus apparently fell in love with Bristol a few years ago, and now she recommends it to all her friends who are considering a move over to the UK. As we listen, we’re all secretly hoping that she might move here herself, so that she could come and play that little Loui stage whenever she felt the urge.
She seems rightly proud of Historian and almost all of the setlist consists of these new tracks. From the sorrowful ‘Next Of Kin’ to older tracks like ‘I Don’t Wanna be Funny Anymore,’ Dacus shows how powerful her songs are, and how well she can captivate an audience by just being her. No faffing around, no long chats, no samples or weird artefacts, just an artist playing with a group of mates for a bunch of fans. There’s a compelling beauty in the human flaws and the miniature disasters in Dacus’ exquisite poetry.
“We’ve got two songs left. We usually do one and then wait for an encore, but because of logistics we’ll stay on stage,” she jokes. Then we’re graced with the power of ‘Night Shift,’ bringing vivid images of doomed love to our minds, then with the gloom and mysticism of ‘Historians.’ That last note strikes us all, and nobody can move until the first clap breaks the silence. “This made me feel things all over,” my mate tells me. Me too, and even further.