Lucy Dacus at the House of Blues on 10/16

As I stood in line to get into the Lucy Dacus concert last month and surveyed the people congregating on either side of me, I became aware of one thing for sure: the gays were out in full force. The amount of L’s, G’s, B’s, and even a few T’s and Q’s that congregated inside the House of Blues did not go unnoticed by me, and it was incredibly easy to tell who was going to the concert that night and who was just down in Fenway for a drink at the pub (or, in other words, straight). I even heard some women behind me in line comment on the queerness of the people in line, to which another person quoted that one TikTok audio: “Hey, gay people. Are you gay?”

I mean, let’s think about it for a second: why wouldn’t the gays love Lucy Dacus? Hell, why wouldn’t anyone love Lucy Dacus? With her dynamic indie-rock sound, her soft and pillowy voice, and her stunning, poetic lyricism that captures the queer experience (among other themes explored on Home Video, her new album out now), it’s no wonder that the House of Blues sold out for Lucy, making that show her biggest headlining show in Boston to date. 

Before Lucy Dacus hit the stage, however, we were treated to a killer set by opener Bartees Strange, who commented during his set that the last show he had performed in Boston was for 13 people. This was in no way evident based on the way he performed; jumping around, hitting each lyric, every beat of his genre-defying indie rock with a kind of calm self-assuredness. He made that stage his own for 30 minutes, and it was truly a dazzling sight to see. 

After he and his band exited, the giant TV hanging at the back of the stage began to flicker to life and actual home videos of Lucy Dacus began to project onto the screen. I watched as she began to age rapidly in front of my eyes: from taking her first steps around her childhood home as a toddler to performing in a school choir as an elementary school student. Sometimes, I think that we forget that musicians are people with childhoods and lives outside of the art they create, and the home videos were simultaneously a reminder of this fact and a lighthearted realization that Lucy and I actually shared some aspects of our childhood (specifically the choir). 

Eventually, though, the lights dimmed, the crowd screamed, and I ventured into the photo pit, ready for anything Lucy would throw my way. And as she and her band walked onto the stage, mug of tea in hand (“Throat Coat”, she would later tell us), the lights came on and washed everyone in shades of blue that matched her off-the-shoulder, billowing navy dress. And then she began strumming the opening chords to ‘Triple Dog Dare’, and for a moment I was dumbfounded. The 7-minute closing track from Home Video as the first song on the setlist? It caught me off guard, but as Lucy began to sing and the instruments slowly began to trickle in throughout the song, I realized that the show couldn’t have opened any other way. The epic buildup found on ‘Triple Dog Dare’, paired with the story of young, queer love, set the tone for the rest of the night, and it would only get better from there. 

There were so many perfect moments from her set that I simply can not talk about them all, so I will simply list a few: The crowd raising their hands during the part in “VBS” (easily one of the best songs on Home Video in my opinion) when the lyrics go “Hands above our head/Reaching for God”. The simultaneous lunge with her bassist during the “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” solo (which absolutely rips live, if you were wondering). She even pulled out her cover of “La Vie En Rose” from her 2019 EP, which is a faster, indie-rock take of the French classic as well as a welcome surprise addition to the setlist. Each song sounded exactly like it was ripped directly from the studio version, which is a testament to Lucy’s voice as well as the well-oiled machine that was her band.  She even got the autotune working for “Partner in Crime”, a slow-burner that features heavy autotune and represents a shift in her signature style of indie rock. 

But I found that Lucy Dacus’ personality was what stole the show for me. I’ve watched interviews and I know that Lucy is soft-spoken yet whip-smart, and that was on full display night. After performing four songs back to back without a word, she finally addressed the crowd with a “What’s up!” After an acoustic version of “Thumbs”, easily the most devastating song from her set (and that’s saying something), she quipped: “I try not to look anyone in the eye when I do that one.” She then said she was going to do something “so simple and so sweet” to lighten the mood, and then proceeded to bring Bartees Strange back onstage to perform an unplanned group singalong to “Going, Going, Gone”. And when she took a polaroid selfie with us at the end of her set, she expressed her hope that no one in the 2500-deep crowd had blinked. 

She ended the night with the one-two punch of “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” and “Night Shift” (which sent me absolutely feral, if you were wondering), and then came back out to perform a new song, which she requested no one take any videos of, so you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you it was a really good song. As we all crowded the exit, I suddenly got the distinct feeling that I felt like I was among my people, and not just because of the whole gay thing: Lucy’s music speaks to a very internal and raw part of my being, and her songs mean a lot to me. And I could tell that a lot of people in the crowd felt the same way, based on the way they screamed along to every $5 word, every beautifully constructed metaphor, every reference to old movies. We all came here to feel something, and as we breathed in the cool Boston air for the first time in 3 hours, I can say with certainty that we did.

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