Big Thief Sound Right at Home at Brooklyn Steel
March 02, 2023
Big Thief – Brooklyn Steel – March 1, 2023
It’s a tour wrapping with two shows in New York City for Big Thief, Wednesday night at Brooklyn Steel feeling heavy with the theme of “back home and showcasing range.” Their set was front-loaded with loud and rocking features, including a “Flower of Blood” rendition showcasing guitar prowess and mastery over harmonics reminiscent of a noisy ’90s Modest Mouse. “Blurred View,” came out sounding more haunting when heard live, louder and with more bass. And later, on a fast-rolling, dialed-up-to-11 “Not,” guitarist Buck Meek played with a combination of fragility and focus, as if at any moment the instrument could sweep him away.
Many songs already sound like standards, despite some barely even being a year old, like “Simulation Swarm” and “Certainty,” each played through by the band and enjoyed by fans as if they’ve existed forever. Big Thief were joined for a handful of songs in the latter half of their set by friend and frequent collaborator Mat Davidson, also known as Twain, on the fiddle and flute, including on the joyous “Blue Lightning,” full of its rhyming declarations of love.
Plenty of new and yet to be released songs were in the mix, including “Vampire Empire,” which was just played live this week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Adrianne Lenker also debuted another brand-new track, honoring Davidson’s rule that if you write a song on tour you have to play it on tour, which featured a refrain of “I was born for loving you.” It was inspired by time spent on Florida beaches and hearing pop-country blaring from trucks according to the singer. Her brother, Noah Lenker, joined in on jaw harp for a burn-the-barn-down version of “Spud Infinity,” then sent off everyone into the foggy night with a hushed rendition of “Changes.”
“I can feel you all and it’s very beautiful. We’re very grateful, it’s very special to feel that,” said Adrianne to the grateful audience. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks