Indie rock and folk singer-songwriter and producer Lucy Dacus performed at the Jefferson Theater on Friday. The sold-out show drew individuals from across the state for the 13th show of their 2022 winter tour. Dacus himself is from Richmond and was very familiar with the Jefferson as a venue.
The concert opened with alternative artist Indigo De Souza heating up the crowd with her rock ballads combined with smoky lights and anxious vocals. Dacus then took the stage and brought the house down with her emotional performance and lyrics, which are more than fitting for a college town demographic, as many of them deal with the hardships of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. The stage played with the visuals and colors used to promote their latest album, sketchy projections of drawings related to the songs, and even authentic home videos from Dacus’ childhood.
Dacus reminded the audience that it was her fourth performance at the venue and her parents, grandmother and her elementary school art teacher were in the audience.
“It’s always a pleasure to be back in Charlottesville,” Dacus said. “It’s almost like a home show.”
Dacus is best known among alternative music fans and is credited for her collaborations with indie folk singer-songwriters Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers on their 2018 EP boygenius. Dacus finds solidarity with her listeners with her lyrical explorations of religious trauma, balancing romantic and platonic relationships, and her poetic thoughts on coming of age. Her breakout hits include “Night Shift,” “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” and “Hot & Heavy.”
The setlist Dacus played was mostly from their third and most recent studio album, Home Video, which was released in Summer 2021. It did, however, contain some standout songs from their first two albums, No Burden and Historian. ”
Dacus’ shows usually have a chilled and chilled vibe as most of her songs fall into the folk genre, although she always sprinkles some of her more rocking songs into the setlist. Dacus also wowed audiences with two covers – “Home Again” by Carole King and “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen.
“We have to play this when my dad is in the crowd,” Dacus said of the Springsteen song. “This is for you, dad.”
Dacus also surprised audiences with her heartbreaking ballad “Please Stay,” in which she described imploring a close friend not to commit suicide. Dacus usually omits this song from their live setlists because it is difficult for them to sing themselves and difficult for the audience to digest in a performance environment. The song is a rallying cry to protect a loved one as they sing, “I think you mean what you say / when you say you want to die / I think you mean what you say / when you say.” that you want to stay alive.”
Shouting out one last plea, Dacus finds himself surrounded by fans relating to the heartbreaking experience of seeing the loss of a loved one struggling with mental health. Although the song is difficult to hear, the message is powerful and reminds viewers to look after their loved ones and themselves.
Another interesting aspect of the show was that Dacus performed her entire set from a couch. she for now has two herniated discs in her back which makes getting up very painful. After all the concert cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic protocol, Dacus decided to continue touring despite her injuries, only with minor arguments. A microphone stand was set up and angled so that Dacus could sing into it while lying down while playing guitar.
Unlike many performers, Dacus was able to keep the crowd engaged throughout her soft set and while she was lying down. Her voice walks a fine line between deep and jazzy, but at the same time is smooth and mellow, creating a unique listening experience. Although there was a projected visual backstage that displayed expressiveness that correlated with the setlist, the real showstopper was Dacus’ prodigious musical ability.
Dacus himself has reported she lacks formal musical training and only finds sounds organically through trial and error when writing songs, rather than employing ritualistic musical strategies. Her uncanny connection to her guitar, voice and band is enough to captivate the crowd, but it becomes even more amazing once she understands that it really stems from her sheer gift and love for music. Dacus will continue to perform on her Winter tour 2022 until the beginning of March 2022 for the public to enjoy.