Big Thief, fronted by vocalist and guitarist Adrianne Lenker, Sat together on stage almost as if they would in a studio, and certainly as if they would be playing in a living room. Tonight’s show seemed to have that same warm, lighthearted living room feel to it. Lenker, who suffered a back injury last week on tour, sat on the far right corner of the stage facing their band throughout the set, only standing for the fully electric encore, Not from 2019’s Two Hands. This injury has resulted in the band performing the last few shows in this homey, acoustic style. In a touring industry full of stage props and lighting arrays, seeing a simple setup like this in the Palace with just a handful of lights and instruments on stage was welcome, if a bit jarring.
The tour falls behind their latest release in February, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You, with a tracklist just as full as the album’s title. 20 songs seems to be a feat for any band to have in a single album, but Big Thief had to narrow down those 20 songs from 45 after recording. Tonight, only six of those songs made the list, the rest of the band’s 14 song setlist coming from earlier albums, and one from Lenker’s solo work as well.
The intimate feel of the show was also made possible by a very attentive audience. The audience, donned in trucker hats, denim jackets, and their KN-95 masks, were all very quiet and focused on the band – A rarity in the traditionally talkative Palace Theater. Lenker, who had respectfully asked for quieter audiences on Instagram last week, was quieter in their speaking than they were in their singing, and seemed to be appreciative of the audience’s focus, especially during opener Kara-Lis Coverdale’s electric soundscapes.
This was a good thing, because a band like Big Thief, especially in an acoustic setting like tonight, needs this kind of focus to successfully pull off the sound they are going for, lyrically and sonically. Only Adrianne Lenker is able to pull off the uniquely timid, folksy yodeling their songs ask for. The opening song of the night, Change and later on, Spud Infinity both from Dragon elicited the biggest cheers of the night, with Spud infinity featuring Lenker’s brother Noah on Jaw harp, and ending with a standing ovation from the crowd.
While an acoustic set may not exactly be what fans wanted from the band, this kind of set, following a rootsy album like Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You is on par to celebrate a tour behind this album. And to have a sold out show at the Palace theater from a band whose only been around for a handful years, is quite the accomplishment in itself, and will be a run of shows Big Thief fans will remember years from now as a rare treat.