Until Tuesday, Lucy Dacus had yet to meet Tampa Bay, so it made complete sense that she’d double down on the unfamiliarity by kicking off her debut set with a solo electric performance of a still unrecorded song.
“This one’s not out yet, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t record it or anything,” Dacus, who just turned 24 years old, politely requested.
A nearly sold-out Crowbar respectfully obliged, and Dacus delivered a devastating performance of a tune we’ll just call “Life In A Chokehold” for now. The tone was set for a satisfying 14-song stay that was hopefully the first of many appearances by the Richmond, VA songwriter.
Throughout the course of the night, Dacus and her bandmates — bassist Dominic Angelella, drummer Ricardo Lagomasino and longtime guitarist-producer Jacob Blizard — faithfully recreated songs from her critically-acclaimed 2018 album Historian. “Addictions,” “The Shell” and “Nonbeliever” were played back-to-back-to-back and colored with plenty rich tone coming out of Blizard’s hollowed-out Telecaster. The band bundled another trio of the album’s cuts together later in the set, and put a bow on the package by lifting Dacus’s warm vocal onto a feedback-drenched and cascading take on “Timefighter.” Hearing Dacus’s voice wrapped in a wall of sound was a dramatic highlight of the set, but that moment’s intensity was almost matched when she ditched her guitar, and quietly sang one her most personal songs to date, “My Mother & I,” backed only by Blizard on nylon-stringed guitar.
“This is making me nervous,” Dacus said when trying to explain the sentiment of the tune. “I’m gonna stop talking.”
Dacus could’ve gotten away without saying a word thanks to her performance, which sprinkled just enough goofiness (kudos on the choreography during “I Don’t Want To Be Funny Anymore”) into a set that leaned heavily on the weightiness of both Historian and Dacus’s 2016 debut, No Burden. She probably could’ve pulled off not singing at all during “Night Shift,” where what felt like half the room quietly sang along.
The weight of it all was almost overwhelming during a humid take on “Green Eyes, Red Face” from No Burden, and Dacus also addressed the Florida heat before skipping an encore solo-electric performance of another unreleased song we’ll call “I Would Kill.”
“This is definitely a Top 5 hottest show,” she said before thanking the crowd and hoping for a return trip soon. “My hair is twice as big.”
The audience didn’t record the final, unreleased song, either, but hopefully crowds are twice as big next time Dacus is in town. Secret’s out, after all.
Listen to songs from the setlists on Spotify.
Lucy Dacus setlist
Life In A Chokehold [new song]
Green Eyes, Red Face
La Vie en Rose (Edith Piaf)
Yours & Mine
Body To Flame
My Mother & I
Map On A Wall
I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore
I Would Kill [new song]
Too Small For Eyes
It Hurts Until It Doesn't
No Crying In Baseball
Love In Gas Music #2 (Doopies)