This past Tuesday, Lucy Dacus returned to Thalia Hall exactly three years to the day since her appearance at the beautiful venue. Originally her show was set to take place last year with Bartees Strange, but a positive COVID test within the band pushed the date to this serendipitous evening with Indigo de Souza. Not even a pair of herniated discs, which Dacus was suffering from, could keep this show away from the Chicago crowd. Stationed on a vintage couch, Dacus powered through the pain and gave Thalia Hall a show to remember.
Indigo de Souza was up first and truly impressed. Indie rock at its most refined, De Souza seemed totally at ease as she belted out some fantastic songs. “Way Out” and its distraught love for a troubled partner is beautiful complex as she delves deep into the heart of the song. “I’ll be here to love you, no matter what shape you might take, I’ll love you anyway”. There is just a certain care that song imbues especially with its closing manta “I wanna be a, I wanna be a light”.
I was hooked as was the rest of Thalia Hall as De Souza had the crowd in the palm of her had. “The Sun is Bad” languished in heartbreak as it’s opening lines jab hardest: “Honey, I miss you, but I don’t need to see you.” De Souza just seems to know exactly how to pinpoint the most poignant lines that will dig deep into listener’s hearts. At one point someone from the crowd gleefully shouted “My three year old is obsessed with you!” ” I didn’t know I was tapping into the market!” De Souza responded with just as much enthusiasm as the fan. Goes to show, Indigo de Souza is for everyone.
Between sets the crew lugged out some vintage furniture to cheers form the crowd. Tales of Lucy Dacus ‘ back injury have been widely spread and the entrance chalk art already depicted her performing on the couch. So their appearance on stage was met with joyful appreciation. As someone who knows the pain of herniated discs, its astounding that Dacus was determined not to let her fans down.
And boy, she did not disappoint. Dacus’ latest album Home Video was the star of the evening with all but one track (the closer “Please Stay) being performed. Those songs felt as loved as anything she’s released before, a testament to just how well her music connects to her fans. “Triple Dog Dare” opened the show and the crowd sang along to the closing chorus with such reverence and anticipation for what was to come.
Seeing Dacus simultaneously lounge on the couch and charge into her guitar was fantastic. Later in the show she promised to return with a fuller band and presentation, seemingly feeling bad that she was not giving the crowd a complete show. But that could be father from what the audience felt as they where glued to their spots not wanting to miss a moment of this set. From the bright highs of “Hot & Heavy” to auto tune marvel “Partner in Crime”, Dacus was delighting them at every turn. When Dacus does return to town, she’ll have a very high bar to pass.
In between covers of Édith Piaf’s “La vie en rose” and Carole King’s “Home Again”, both which were stellar, Dacus took a moment to sit up and speak to a specific group in the crowd. “Some of you were bothering me about this one song online” she said as a group of girls in the front shrieked loudly as they were acknowledged. “I haven’t played it in a while; hope I remember other words” before lying back down and starting “Body to Flame”. The crowd was unbelievably silent, soaking in the moment.
By this point, Lucy Dacus knows her audience and her set list was crafted for that perfect final moments. Her fist undeniable hit “I Don’t Want to be Funny Anymore” dazzled as bright as the first time I heard it at a side stage during Lollapalooza. Her latest single “Kissing Lesson” followed, cementing just how much she’s honed her craft and where her sound is headed. The encore-less show (which she jokingly explained would be a bunch of limping back and forth) ended on a high note as Dacus and the crowd’ voices came together for “Night Shift”. The now essential breakup song, full of self awareness and desire to just never see that heart breaker again, filled the venue with the best post Valentine’s Day vibes.
All photos by Julian Ramirez