Damage causes Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker to turn to acoustic at the Royal Oak Music Theater | Local music | Detroit

click to enlarge Adrianne Lenker from Big Thief.  - JAMESON DRAPER

Jameson Draper

Adrianne Lenker from Big Thief.

“You might never see a set like this again,” muttered Adrianne Lenker, Big Thief’s frontwoman, in the middle of the band’s Saturday night performance at the Royal Oak Music Theater.

Between songs, Lenker spoke meekly, in a volume that was barely above a murmur, some hissing more audible than others. She sat in a wobbly wooden chair all evening due to back pain, resulting in a completely acoustic set; that’s why she commented on the show’s peculiarity.

It may not have been the traditional Big Thief set, but Lenker’s natural charisma and sulking power is undeniably magnetic. It felt like the 1,700-person theater was turning into a Greenwich Village folk bar after closing time, and the band was able to capture the audience’s attention for nearly two hours. Throughout the night, the group played a combination of fan favorites from their five studio albums and a healthy portion of unreleased music

Big Thief is one of the hottest bands on the indie circuit right now; they were called “one of the most prominent acts of the twenties” by New Yorkers. Their latest album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I believe in you, is a 20-nums, twisted, epic of dream-rock-country-folk fusion. It is their best album to date and it has critics comparing it to the Beatles’ White Album. Aside from hyperbole, Saturday night at the Royal Oak Music Theater housed a performance by one of the best bands in music, at their highest and in their element.

Links, however, were right in this show. It was unique. In addition to the completely acoustic performance, set lists from previous performances note this tour that the band has occasionally played an unreleased track or two. But Saturday night they played fire new tunes – “Once a Buncha Times”, “Anything Goes”, “Wanted You to Stay” and “Sadness as a Gift”.

If the new music tells us anything about the band’s new material, it sounds like Big Thief is diving deeper into their country and americana sensibilities. Linker’s songwriting – her best abilities – might be even better, as evidenced by lines like: “You pull on my shoelaces and you open my brain,” from “Once a Buncha Times.” The music feels just as at home in a 100-year-old ballroom as it does at a campfire in midwestern backwoods. It can be hard to keep people’s energy up while performing songs they do not know, but the fans were tuned in to. They audibly appreciated the new songs and roared in applause after several of the songs.

click to enlarge Adrianne Lenker said a back injury caused her to play an acoustic set from a wooden chair at the Royal Oak Music Theater.  - JAMESON DRAPER

Jameson Draper

Adrianne Lenker said a back injury caused her to play an acoustic set from a wooden chair at the Royal Oak Music Theater.

However, the show stops were the tracks the band performed from Dragon Nynamely “Spud Infinity” and “Red Moon”. Both tracks – combative, amazing and heavy on the bluegrass influence – were powerful and hymn-like live, given a new life that does not exist in the studio recordings.

The show’s opening act, Kara-Lis Coverdale, was a unique choice. An experimental electronic artist, her musical style is far from Big Thief. She stood in a white dress, completely backlit by blue spotlights, holding her head down for the best part of her performance. The set was marked by waves of intense, confrontational and shaky sounds, patched together by ambient sounds reminiscent of Eraser head soundtrack. One would think that it was impossible to ignore, yet the audience was much less engaged than they were under the headset.

It’s not uncommon for that to happen, but it’s notable because Lenker went on Instagram earlier this week to complain about people talking during the opening act. Looks like people missed the note.

“When music happens in a room,” she said, “and there’s a performer on stage playing and doing their craft when you step into that room, try to be aware of what’s going on and be pay attention and do not talk. ”

Big Thief continues their tour Monday night in Chicago before heading west and then heading out on a European tour this summer. They have not announced any plans for their next project.

Stay in touch with the Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters and follow us on Google News, Apple News, TwitterFacebook, Instagram, Reddit or TikTok.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.