Lucy Dacus, while an indie-rock artist, is a singer-songwriter at heart–her music has drawn large crowds of fans close to her intimate storytelling. When Dacus took the stage at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis on Feb. 13, she presented herself to the crowd in a similarly vulnerable way–laying on a couch, center-stage.
Dacus canceled the first show of her winter tour due to two herniated discs, and has since performed from couches at each venue. At her Indianapolis show, she laid face-up on a purple suede sofa, her white boots crossed at the other end.
Indigo De Souza opened for Dacus, and played a set of shy and intermittently energetic songs from her two albums. What struck me when she first got on the stage was her timidity, which later grew into gut-wrenching, visceral yells. After the first few songs of her set, she spoke to the booth with a chuckle and said, “You can turn the lights down, it’s crazy sometimes how insanely bright they are.” It seemed like an apt metaphor for her humility and intimacy with the audience throughout the set. Although the crowd was chatty between De Souza’s songs, when she gently strummed chords while tuning her guitar, they sang along to her more popular songs like “Real Pain” and “Kill Me.”
After De Souza finished her set and while the crew was changing the stage, fans erupted as Dacus’ couch was brought onto center stage. “Couch, couch, couch!” they chanted.
Dacus took the stage with “Triple Dog Dare,” my favorite song from her newest album Home Video. Her live rendition sounded exactly like the recording, filled in with the exuberant crowd shouting the refrain, “It’s a triple dog dare.”
Lucy Dacus’ music tends to be heavy and reflective, which sometimes felt odd when I stopped to process the lyrics I was singing along to. The crowd sang to “Christine,” and “Thumbs,” which are both among her more depressing songs.
In “Thumbs,” Dacus talks about wanting to gauge the eyes of her friend’s absent father. ”I imagine my thumbs on the irises / Pressing in until they burst,” Dacus hauntingly sang. She mentioned that they were trying a new, more upbeat arrangement of the song, which was way more appropriate for live music and kept the set from dragging too much.
Dacus was talkative with the crowd throughout the show. At the end of “Christine,” Dacus said “Ouch, that song hurts,” and asked the audience if they had actually chanted “couch” before the show. The audience yelled that they had, and Dacus responded with, “That’s the funniest sh*t I’ve ever heard.”
Dacus also included two covers in her set; “La Vie en Rose” by Edith Piaf and “Home Again” by Carole King. Her Carole King cover was one of the best songs of the night, and was a refreshing break from a setlist that relied heavily on songs from Home Video.
Overall, the night was a mix of emotional and upbeat songs that ended in Dacus belting the chorus of ”Night Shift” to her admiring fans. “You’ve got a nine to five / So I’ll take the night shift” they sang. Even though Dacus was laying down, her performance still blew my expectations out of the water. I left the venue with the refreshing buzz of live music, a light heart, and a few new songs to add to my favorites.
Triple Dog Dare
Hot & Heavy
La Vie en Rose (Edith Piaf cover)
Yours & Mine
Partner in Crime
Home Again (Carole King cover)
Going Going Gone
I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore