“Lucy Dacus is one of those proper artists. You know, that make you go ‘ok, yeah – I get it’”, support act Liz Lawrence tells us as she finishes playing. As well as charming the crowd with her short but very sweet warm-up set of wry and powerful one-woman indie pop, she is also bang on about tonight’s main act. Lucy Dacus is a no-frills yet seriously special performer, and she delivers a quintessential, quality show that stops everyone in their tracks tonight.
Opening with an as-yet unrecorded and untitled solo piece, what strikes you first is Dacus’ voice. Whether you recognise it as one third of supergroup boygenius - along with fellow American indie artists Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers - or from her lauded solo output, it is a deep and resonant voice, and when paired with her mastery of that black Telecaster, makes for a gorgeous combo. Her band excitedly join her on stage to unveil Addictions, a gem of a track from her latest album Historian, which shows off Dacus’ supreme song writing talent; verses cascade into pre-choruses and refrains with confidence and ease.
There’s a crowd-pleasing mix of old and new tracks tonight, although it’s worth noting that even the ‘old’ songs are less than three years old. Ignited back in 2016 by her Bandcamp-released track I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore, it certainly hasn’t taken Dacus long to establish herself as a leading talent on the US indie scene. Dacus’ band are equally as joyous and slick - bassist Domini Angelella, guitarist Jacob Blizard and drummer Ricardo Lagomasino surround her with both indie-fuelled energy, and textured lamentation, depending on the song.
The audience lap up Dacus’ glowing cover of Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose – for which she promptly apologises to any French members of the audience. She needn’t have done – it is electric. Dacus doesn’t take long to ramp up the chat between songs, either, talking with a disarming and genuine air that captivates the room. There is a particularly potent moment before she plays Yours & Mine: “I am sorry about the US”, she announces, launching into the track which has the lyrics “this ain't my home anymore” at its core. This is powerful stuff, and affirms Dacus as a proper force for good, both musically and humanly.
You can feel the emotions are running high in the room tonight, which amplify when Dacus and her band change the scenery entirely for My Mother & I: Dacus on a Pocket Piano, Angelella and Blizard cross-legged on the floor, lights dimmed all the way down. The song addresses raw themes of body image and the mother-daughter relationship, yet Dacus’ delivery shelters you – a technique at which she is expert. She’s similarly pro at sending ripples of mellow empathy through the audience; on The Shell, she imparts the lyrics “you don't wanna be a creator, doesn't mean you've got nothing to say”, and despite the irony, you feel the consensus in the room – Dacus is a strong generational voice, it seems.
The set draws to a glittering close on hit single Night Shift, another instance that highlights Dacus’ ingenuity – wise and witty lyrics paired with some serious guitar shredding. “We believe in you, Lucy”, someone yells from the back of The Bodega, which prompts a genuine pause and beam; a spot-on way for this show to end. I leave elated yet forlorn it’s over – I could have stood and watched Lucy Dacus all night.
Lucy Dacus played The Bodega on Monday 10 June.