She may not want to be funny anymore, but Lucy Dacus definitely has a sense of humor. Her return to Philly after a year may have seen the Richmond, Virginia rocker wearing no shoes, playing pick-less, and sporting jokes about the disco ball, but Dacus brought a night of both quiet simplicity and powerfully crushing rock and roll to Johnny Brenda’s on Tuesday night.
Opening the show were West Philly dudes RFA, who both shocked and awed with their Johnny Brenda’s debut. The four piece indie rock band actually played with Dacus at a house show the last time she played Philly. “I remembered playing with them in a basement and thought, are they still around?” said Dacus later when she took the stage. Well, they definitely are still around. Playing songs from their recently released Something New From RFA EP and a spirited cover of the Weezer classic “Undone (The Sweater Song),” RFA bounced through guitar-chugging dance tracks while heightening the audience with their lively stage presence and visible fun-having.
Dacus took the stage not long after, walking up by herself to perform the beautifully intimate “Trust,” from her recently released Matador Records debut, No Burden. It took a little time for the audience to adjust to the change in volume, but the front row was all ears. As people began to listen to Dacus’s voice lift towards the upper balcony, it was sure to be a special night.
With the band joining her on stage, she immediately followed up with the heavy-hitting “Troublemaker Doppelganger,” which featured the incredible vocal tear of “live forever or die in infamy!” before the band kicked in again. Dacus and her band are currently on tour making their way to Chicago for Lollapalooza, a huge milestone for any young band. No Burden cut “Strange Torpedo” surely impressed with its hooky chorus and driving rhythms. Dacus is no fool; her music is well-thought out and pored over.
After ripping through several more No Burden songs, such as the meditative “Dream State…” and some frantic soundscapes on “Map On A Wall” courtesy of lead guitar player Jacob Blizard, Dacus revved up with the album single “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore.” The post-punk influenced jam roared as the band rocked and Dacus’s voice rolled along with the punches.
“I love Philly, I’ve thought about moving here a lot,” said Dacus before she thanked the audience and began the yet-to-be released “Pillar Of Truth,” her last song of the night. “Well, that’s if I didn’t love Richmond so much.” Dacus is proud of her hometown, and rightfully so. Like she said in the interview I had with her two weeks ago, Dacus is already prepping her new album so I’m sure it won’t be long until she’s back in Philadelphia. Her humor aside, Dacus has a knack for connecting with the audience through pure emotion and direct address. It’s honesty that truly makes her music so special.
Lucy Dacus Setlist:
Green Eyes, Red Face
Map On A Wall
I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore
Pillar Of Truth
I’m Not Telling You
What’s Your Name?
Teenage Love Song
Saturday, January 24th
Undone (The Sweater Song) (Weezer Cover)
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