Last time Lucy Dacus played in Madison, she opened for Hamilton Leithauser in Feb. 2017 in support of his collaborative album with former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij. Leithauser’s big performance showed his veteran sensibilities and Dacus, in support of her debut LP, fit in flawlessly. Her performance of Angel Deradoorian’s part on “1959,” Leithauser and Rostam’s album’s closer, helped bring the show to a sweet end.
Dacus made me a fan that night with her clever, observational lyrics and calm stage presence. Just over a year later, Dacus is returning to High Noon Saloon with great new material on a headlining tour with And the Kids and Adult Mom in tow.
Like much of No Burden, Dacus’s last performance at High Noon Saloon excelled due to her confidence. Dacus let the slow-burning songs off her album flow freely, showing her talent for translating the songs for live performances.
With her latest release Historian, Dacus captures a larger sound than No Burden. Nearly every song on the record grows and breaks into something larger than where it started. Dacus effortlessly captures this progressive sound, which certainly translates well into a live show.
Tracks like Historian’s lead single “Night Shift” highlight Dacus’s ability to start small and grow into something larger than expected. And unlike other artists that attempt this songwriting style, Dacus doesn’t beat her audience over their head with this shift. It’s a slow and gradual growth as tension builds under Dacus’s masterful control.
A great example of this is “Pillar of Truth.” Even on her CBS This Morning performance of the song, Dacus spent over six minutes letting the track grow and near the end, belt out a scream — a powerful expression on an otherwise mundane morning network TV show. If she can create something that visceral and raw on morning TV, I can’t wait to see what she does in a proper concert setting.
Dacus’s life has changed a lot since her last performance in Madison. She released another wonderful album. She’s had both a New York Times and NPR profile written about her. Former vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine said she was one of his favorite artists. And I forgot to mention that Dacus did all of this before turning 22.
Dacus will perform for a crowd that will likely be sold out on April 5 at High Noon Saloon, bringing her grand and observational songs to life. And the Kids and Adult Mom will join her.