3rd February | The Louisiana
Photos: Mustafa Mirreh
‘Breakthrough’, ’emotional’, ‘raw’ are just a few words to describe Brooklyn four piece Big Thief. Following their debut album Masterpiece in 2016, the band are setting off on their debut headline UK tour, and what better than the Louisiana venue to host all their intimate detail.
Support tonight comes from fellow Brooklyn friends Mega Bog, who are also debuting in the UK for the first time. Fronted by singer Erin Birgy, the duo showcase their loungy pop rock to an ever-so welcoming audience who listen on as Birgy’s poetic words trickle down their earsdrums. Slower songs and melodies in the opening songs before heavier tones take over in the latter stages. Dynamic and engaging at times, there’s a sense of freedom to the duo’s sound which leaves an organic impression that warms up the stage for the evening’s headliners.
Big Thief are next, weaving through the sold-out crowd to get to their places. Couples young and old claim the front as the band’s frontwoman Adrianne Lenker hesitantly opens with the stripped back ‘Lorraine’. Everyone stunned in complete silence as Lenker’s yearning words send shivers down spines. With the night set, the band slowly turn things up as they play through songs from their acclaimed debut. All the favourites are present, from ‘Paul’ and ‘Parallels’ to the soaring title track ‘Masterpiece’. During the evening, Lenker opens more confidently to the warm reception of the crowd, with one person even shouting “you’re a masterpiece”.
There’s an undoubted spark about Big Thief that really hits you, most noticeably the prolific songwriting from Adrianne Lenker as there’s currently nothing else like it in the scene right now. Both striking and personal as their songs paint vivid tones of pain, loss and love. Couples among the audience are in awe and even one or two rubbing their eyes, tearful perhaps? Regardless, emotions are running high as Big Thief produce a powerful display of rawness and honesty.
The band also perform new material that is just as emotionally gripping as the rest. Band members, including Lenker’s husband Buck Meek as guitarist are comfortably composed as their sound fluctuates from acoustic to upbeat indie rock. However, the standalone performance of ‘Real Love’ steals the show with Lenker’s haunting vocals and guitar strums sending ripples of nerves as words “How much blood is worth the draw….real love makes your lungs black” touch many hearts before the explosive ending in the final third.
To say that tonight was outstanding is an understatement. This was the kind of performance that went above and beyond in ways unimaginable, making Big Thief of the most original and intriguing bands out there today.
Check out the song ‘Real Love’ below.