Lucy Dacus @ The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, 11 Jun

Despite suffering from a sore throat, Lucy Dacus delivers an impressive Edinburgh debut

Review by Lewis Wade | 14 Jun 2019
  • Lucy Dacus

Rarely does an opening act have the perfect sound setup that Liz Lawrence seems to have constructed tonight. There are the usual awkward shufflings and tinkering as she takes the stage and the room falls silent, but as soon as her crisp guitar and luxurious voice boom around the stuffy Voodoo Rooms, the crowd are captivated. It's a strong, confident start to the night, while Lawrence's biting, acerbic lyricism continues to resonate long after she leaves the stage.

Lucy Dacus is already starting to develop the sort of cultishly devoted fandom that's usually reserved for TV shows about vampires or boy bands with floppy-haired frontmen. It's evident not from the sold out crowd tonight, but that pretty much anyone within five rows of the stage seems to know every word, and isn't shy about letting everyone know. "Thanks for the singing" Dacus coyly notes after Direct Address.

The show is bookended with a pair of new songs, the latter of which was written that day (possibly called Love Me/Love Me Not?) and features plaintive acoustic guitar which trails off at the end, demonstrating its unfinished nature. The first is also presented solo, and contains some of the most straightforwardly beautiful couplets Dacus has ever composed (possibly called Chokehold or Blame) – keep an eye out for it on any upcoming projects.

In between, the music is mostly the boisterous indie-rock meets sensitive confessional that Dacus does so well. However, in such a small room, the vocals sometimes struggle to retain their power amidst the swirling guitars and stomping drums, only really conveying the potent lyricism in the quieter moments. Recent song My Mother & I is a highlight that sees Dacus switch to a MIDI Pad while her guitarist takes to the floor. Singing candidly about her spiritual (and astrological) connection with her mother, cradling a cup of tea, Dacus is at her finest, providing the sort of moment that will stick with the awestruck audience for some time.

Night Shift arrives late in the set and features the entire room on backing vocals (to help with Dacus' sore throat) – rollicking through her most rambunctious song with an infectious fervour that literally shakes the room. It's an impressive Edinburgh debut for Dacus and likely the last time she'll be playing to only a couple hundred people.