Heartbreaking, quiet, intimate storytelling – those are all things you get from listening to a Big Thief album. When you see them live you get all that, and sporadic outbursts of fuzz-fueled guitars that seem to dissipate as quickly as they appeared. Those were all things that were present as they played the first of a two-night stand at The Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Opening the night was Molly Sarlé (of Mountain Man). She brought forth a folksy stripped down style that came forth in hushed tones. There wasn’t much movement from Sarlé or her band, but that probably wouldn’t have fit in with their sound anyways. There was a sparse and comforting quality to Sarlé’s set, which set the stage well for what was to come.
When Lucy Dacus had to bow out of her spot at the last minute, local act The Brothers Brother filled in as though they had been ready to play this bill for weeks. Twin brothers, Adam and David Moss, struck their strings (be it fiddle, cello, banjo , or guitar) with equal parts beautiful melodies, harmonious voices, and giggle-inducing humor. This duo has a knack for storytelling, both in their music and their on-stage banter – so much so that you’ll want to hear them sing and spin yarns continuously. They even brought out Big Thief’s lead singer and guitarist Adrienne Lenker to help them out as a backup guitarist for a song.
Big Thief brought their intensely personal vibe to close out the night. Lenker brings, what feels to be, a ton of intimate storytelling to each of her tunes. The kind that mesmerizes a crowd, whether in the quiet pin drop moments or the jangly discordant ramp-ups. Big Thief has garnered a lot of praise with the release of their debut LP, Masterpiece, last year or this year’s follow up album, Capacity, and after seeing them live it’s easy to understand why. Lenker’s got a shy presence about her, but her voice is easily one of the most interesting out there right now as it manages to convey a melodic sweetness that runs head on into a heavier angst. The whole band moves with a sort of out-of-sync stutter, but thankfully the music never gets that way. They brought a collection of beautifully quiet-meets-loud tunes that the audience was mouthing the lyrics to all night long – almost as if they didn’t want to override what was coming at them. And thankfully the audience never did.
Article: Omar Kasrawi