SXSW Review: Lucy Dacus, March 19, Cheer Up Charlie’s

Lucy Dacus

I know it is literally superficial, but often an artist’s voice would complement, if not match, his/her outward style. A few of the Toronto acts that I saw at SXSW this year such as Weaves and Basia Bulat were perfect examples. I personally would feel spatiotemporally disjointed if Basia Bulat started playing the mathematical “scatter-rock” of Weaves, and vice versa. But after catching Lucy Dacus’ set at the Brooklyn Vegan party, I feel somewhat guilty for such type-casting.

Lucy Dacus

Dacus was on my list of people to visit in SXSW this year because of her single, I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore. The lyrics spoke resoundingly and plainly, even as her contralto voice didn’t vary dramatically in decibels. Based solely on that, I had it in my mind that the band could be angry, heartless and rebellious characters who wouldn’t look out of place in an indie-rock dystopia. As they took to the stage, however, I found that they were pleasantly, almost politely, passionate. Or it was all in my head – and with good reasons. With the set starting just after 1230PM, the crowd wasn’t at their peak sharpness just yet, and perhaps nor was I. But as the set warmed, the band became a lot more comfortable and much more lively. In between her direct delivery of derisive lines like “I thought you’d hit rock bottom, but I’m starting to think that it doesn’t exist”, Dacus’ somewhat muted energy weirdly complemented the multi-spectral background lighting in Cheer Up Charlie’s. In a My-Little-4-Horsemen: Pestilence Edition way, her voice tamped down the prose-like lyrics effectively – it almost didn’t sound as mean-spirited as it is meant to be – and then it sneaks up on you. I strongly recommend her new single, Strange Torpedo, which was a high-point of this concert. It was a very pleasant chorus to have stuck in between my ears.

Posted on by Gary in South By Southwest

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