Concert Review: Julien Baker, Palehound, Torres, January 15, Lincoln Hall

I walk into Lincoln Hall on Friday evening, and I immediately freeze. It’s silent as a church. Nobody’s talking, nobody’s laughing, nobody’s whispering and not a soul is moving. It’s downright eerie.

500 pairs of rapt eyes are focused on Julien Baker. The 20 year old Tennessee native is sitting onstage with her guitar (or at least I assumed she was sitting – I realized when I saw her after the show just how small she is – it’s entirely possible she was actually standing and I just didn’t realize), baring her soul to us.

The young singer songwriter dropped her debut album Sprained Ankle at the end of 2015. It’s full of heartbreakingly real lyrics about loss, insecurity, and fear. “Everybody Does” is especially heart wrenching with the chorus: “You’re gonna run. When you find out who I am.” “You’re gonna run. It’s alright everybody does.”

Next up was Palehound, a female fronted, garage-indie-punk group out of Massachussetts. The great magic of the lead singer Ellen Kempner is that she somehow manages to rock the scuzzy garage band sound while still bringing the audience in with this close intimate vibe that only acoustic singer-songwriters should be able to pull off. The group ripped through their 2015 release Dry Food, with a stop in the middle to play a new tune, a happy one. Something of an anomaly for the group. Kempner explained that this was a little strange for them – most of their songs were a little on the depressing side because, “I’m not really down with, you know, other people and relationships. And stuff.” Based on the reaction of the crowd, a lot of people were with her on that one. But Kempner went on to say that she had just fallen in love with a certain lady in Massachusetts who had made her want to try a new change of pace.

Last but (obviously) not least, Torres took to the stage. In the haze of the fog machine, with her bleach blond hair and the flashing lights, she looked downright downright fearsome (the gentlemen next to me decided that she looked like Legolas – and on a completely different tangent, I thought it was awesome that the predominantly male crowd was there to see three female fronted bands. The gents of Chicago know what’s up). Scott played mainly from her 2015 release Sprinter, furiously making her way from song to song with little to no break in between. At the end of the set Torres gave a very simple “Thanks guys, this’ll be the last one,” opting out of the encore option. A woman who respects bedtime – what’s not to love?

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Posted on by Celeste in Concerts

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