Despite being couch-ridden by two herniated discs, Lucy Dacus soared in her performance at Thalia Hall Feb. 15. Dacus rescheduled the performance after COVID-19 complications, but the four-month delay held a silver lining with the addition of opener Indigo De Souza.
Arriving on a tidal wave of distorted guitar chords, De Souza immediately demanded the audience’s attention. Her flowing curly hair bobbed up and down in unison with her strumming fingers.
Rich with emotion, De Souza’s vocals on “Bad Dream” effortlessly transitioned between wailing cries for help and subdued proclamations of insomnia. Accompanied by bassist Zack Kardon, drummer Avery Sullivan and guitarist Dexter Webb, De Souza constructed dynamic, textured instrumentals that complemented her vocals.
She seemed to find joy in her ability to surprise the audience with sudden, roaring waves of sound. As the show progressed, the audience grew accustomed to these sonic surprises and gleefully dove headfirst into them.
The additions of a massive prop television, curtain backdrop and home furniture converted Thalia Hall into “Lucy Dacus’s living room.”
As the lights dimmed and the crowd roared in approval, Dacus emerged onto the stage and slowly descended upon the now infamous couch. Once properly situated with her microphone and guitar, she turned her head toward the crowd and with a giggle said, “Hey.”
She treated the crowd with a level of familiarity and respect an old friend would. For every random “I love you, Lucy,” there would be an “I love you, too” in return. The show felt less like a sold-out concert and more like a private performance in her childhood home.
For most singers, performing laying down would be a death sentence to their vocal ability, but not for Dacus. Her impressive vocal talent was on full display as she performed without missing a single note.
There’s a distinct sense of honesty surrounding Dacus and her music. Her lyrics are poignant and strikingly beautiful, which soar when coupled with her stunning voice.
Dacus opened with the sprawling, sullen “Triple Dog Dare.” The next three tracks, “First Time,” “Addictions” and “Hot & Heavy,” resurrected the crowd from their somber state. Heads and limbs swayed along with each tug of her vocal and guitar chords, rendering the fans her willing puppets.
A standout moment near the end of “VBS” found her engaging in some lyrical prop humor. The line, “Playing Slayer at full volume helps to drown you out,” is punctuated by a thrashing metal guitar riff to pay homage to the metal band.
Thanks to the efforts of a few young fans who Dacus endearingly said “bothered her on Twitter,” she played “Body to Flame” for the first time in three years.
“Going Going Gone” transformed Dacus and her band members — bassist Dominic Angelella, drummer Ricardo Lagomasino, guitarist Jacob Blizard and pianist Sarah Goldstone — into camp counselors as they led the audience in a campfire-style sing-a-long.
“Brando,” “I Don’t Want to Be Funny Anymore” and her recent single “Kissing Lessons” imbued the audience with a warm sense of bliss. Then, “Night Shift” began.
Easily her most recognizable song, “Night Shift” documents the grieving and healing process following the end of a five-year relationship. Her voice soaked with agony and desperation as she slowly began to wring the verses out.
About halfway through the piece, she started to repeat the song’s refrain, over and over. What began as a slow, gentle whisper evolved into a blazing declaration.
The song served as a worthy send-off to a spectacular night. The audience left the intimate, ornate Thalia Hall with a feeling of satisfaction and at least one pivotal lesson: never call Lucy Dacus cerebral when you could call her pretty instead.