Indie rock and folk singer-songwriter and producer Lucy Dacus performed Friday at the Jefferson Theater. The sold-out show drew people from across the state on the 13th show of her 2022 winter tour. Dacus herself is from Richmond and was very familiar with the Jefferson as a venue.
The concert opened with alternative artist Indigo De Souza igniting the crowd with his rock ballads, combined with smoky lighting and an angsty vocal. Dacus then took the stage and rocked the house with her emotional delivery and lyrics that are more than suited to the demographics of a college town, as many of them deal with the difficulties of transitioning from adolescence to college. ‘adulthood. The stage played on the visuals and colors used in the promotion of his latest album, sketch projections of song-related designs, and even authentic home videos from Dacus’ childhood.
Dacus reminded the audience that this was her fourth time performing on the site, and that her parents, grandmother and 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 to alternative music fans and is recognized for collaborating with fellow indie folk singer-songwriters Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers on their 2018 EP “boygenius”. Dacus finds solidarity with her listeners with her takes lyrical about religious trauma, balancing romantic and platonic relationships with his poetic reflections on growing up. His hits include “Night Shift”, “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” and “Hot & Heavy”.
The setlist that Dacus played was mostly from his third and final studio album “Home Video”, released in the summer of 2021. However, it did include some standout songs from his first two albums “No Burden” and “Historian”. ”
Dacus’ shows generally have a laid back and relaxed vibe as most of her songs fall into the folk genre, although she still sprinkles some of her rockier songs throughout the setlist. Dacus also delighted audiences by performing two covers – Carole King’s “Home Again” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”.
“We have to play this if my dad is in the crowd,” Dacus said of Springsteen’s song. “This is for you, dad.”
Dacus also surprised audiences with her heartbreaking ballad “Please Stay,” in which she described pleading with a close friend not to kill himself. Dacus usually omits this song from her live setlists because it is difficult for herself to sing and difficult for the audience to digest in a performance setting. The song is a battle cry to protect a loved one as it sings: “I think you mean what you say / when you say you mean to die / I think you mean what you say / when you say you want to stay alive.”
Dacus cries a final plea and finds himself surrounded by fans recounting the harrowing experience of watching a loved one lose himself in poor mental health. Although the song is hard to hear, the message is powerful and reminds audience members to watch out for themselves and their loved ones.
Another interesting aspect of the show was Dacus performing his entire set from a couch. She currently has two herniated discs in her back, which makes standing performance very painful. In the wake of all the show cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic protocol, Dacus decided to continue touring despite his injuries, just with minor altercations. A microphone stand was wedged and angled so Dacus could sing on it while playing guitar.
Unlike many artists, Dacus managed to keep the crowd engaged throughout his soft set and into bed. His voice walks a fine line between deep and jazzy while being soft and smooth, creating a very unique listening experience. Although there was a visual element projected behind the stage showing expressiveness that correlated with the setlist, the real stopper of the show was easily Dacus’ amazing musical abilities.
Dacus herself has reported she lacks formal musical training and only finds sounds organically through trial and error when writing songs rather than using ritualistic musical strategy. His uncanny connection to his guitar, vocals, and band is enough to captivate the crowd, but it becomes even more amazing after realizing that it is truly derived from his pure gift and love for music. Dacus will continue to play on her winter tour 2022 until the beginning of March 2022 so that the public can enjoy it.