Review: Adrianne Lenker Stuns Amid Stillness at Lincoln Hall

Adrianne Lenker - Photo by Shervin Lainez Last Wednesday was a weird day. I mean so weird that I’m convinced something was going down in the cosmos. Everyone around me was having an off day, and I wasn’t left out of this club. And so I went to see some soul-cleansing music in action from the great Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief. And, as weird days go, I wasn’t on the list. “Can you check again?” I asked, hopeful. Welp, there goes that. I must have looked stressed or just plain bummed, as a woman we’ll call Ms. N came up to save the day, seemingly out of nowhere. “I have an extra ticket, would you like it?” And in that moment, I teared up and nodded. She knew I somehow needed it, to see this show and to share its goodness with all of you. So, this review is dedicated to Ms. N. May we all pay it forward and turn someone’s weird day into something beautiful. From the start, Lenker didn’t need a flashy stage presence; she’s got it all with an acoustic guitar and that distinct voice. She played her imaginative songs for a hushed, crowded room off her latest album abyskiss, released in fall 2018. Interspersed between songs came anecdotes about Minnesota and reminders that she’s just like us and humble as ever. She invited opener Luke Temple onstage for a few songs, including the enigmatic “symbol,” which mesmerized the crowd. I’d say the crowd maintained a reverent silence throughout the set, but this would be ignoring the drunk guy who shouted, “Play Hüsker Dü!” out of nowhere. Does there always have to be one of those? Lenker’s lyrics are wrought with little gifts; “My heart will always find you when your heart freely sings” from “womb,”or “There’s a star that’s glowing on your eyelash / And the wet light moaning as we rehash.” And at Lincoln Hall, these lyrics were on full display, stories given full breath and life. And we were the lucky ones to hear them.
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Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks is a native Chicagoan with a penchant for words, music, art and this magnificent city of Chicago. Raised on The Beatles and learning the violin at age 9, Sarah’s passion for music began early in life. Her musical obsessions include Wilco, Otis Redding, Neko Case and Real Estate, but they truly change daily. She can be found at a concert, trying a new restaurant, or running along the lakefront path.