Lucy Dacus Played White Eagle Hall with Mal Blum and Fenne Lily, 3/20/19
No Sleep Til JC
All photos by Rose Lamela
I can tell I'm getting old. By Wednesday, I'd been back from Austin for about 4 days; and I was still feeling exhausted. I hadn't managed to get back on my exercise regimen or even do much posting here, instead just sitting in a chair and staring blankly into space most of the time. At some point earlier in the week, I'd remembered that I had tickets to see Lucy Dacus at White Eagle Hall. Renee from Lowlight would be joining me for the evening; so, as much as I probably could have benefited from turning in early, I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to catch the show or to spend some time shooting the shit with Renee without the usual distractions of being in Asbury Park. Rosi, also recovering from her ATX experience, was there doing the heavy-lifting on photos.
We met up just after doors, and White Eagle Hall seemed pretty empty. This would change.
After some time spent chatting, we found a spot just a few rows back from the stage. Bristol, England's Fenne Lily kicked things off. It was just her and another guitarist, Joe. Lily has a dry sense of humor, and her stories about each song -- the relationships that inspired them, the conversations with her mum about them -- drew us all in and reduced the size of the big room.
Mal Blum was next. I hadn't seen them since, I think, Don Giovanni's New Alternative Music Festival in Asbury's Convention Hall a couple of years back. Mal still has their self-deprecating sense of humor and amiable personality. That comes through in the songs. They took advantage of having the full band behind them, and even dispensed with a planned solo song to continue rocking. I don't want to get anyone into trouble here, but they also teased that a new album was coming around summertime.
Over the course of 2018, Lucy Dacus's Historian grew to be one of my favorite albums of the year. When I saw that she and her band were coming to Jersey City, I snapped up tickets. Apparently, so did a lot of people because, by now, the room was absolutely packed. Dacus opened the set solo with a new, unreleased song and asked if we could please refrain from recording it. To my surprise, I think she got full compliance. Points for Jersey City.
The band joined her; and they did an amazing rendition of "Addictions," maybe my favorite song from Historian. Dacus's voice was beautiful. The band was fantastic. Just before the set, Renee and I discussed maybe heading towards the back to relieve some of our claustrophobia after a few songs. We ended up remaining planted just where we were for the entire set.
At one point, Dacus gratefully remarked on how wonderful it is for a performer to see people singing along with their songs. She was rewarded with a full-throated audience singalong during "Night Shift" that gave me chills.
After an entire week of seeing some of my favorite bands and being blown away by new discoveries down in Austin, Wednesday night's show from Lucy Dacus in Jersey City still stands out. Even through my haze of old-guy, self-induced exhaustion.