Big Thief plays Boston Roadrunner with open arms – The Suffolk Journal
Adrianne Lenker holds her guitar like a mother holding her child. Comforted by her cries and cherishing her brilliance, this is how Lenker chooses to play her legacy. With that love, she performs with warmth, care, and for an ocean of fans. A Big Thief concert doubles as a family celebration.
As the doors to the Roadrunner venue opened last Wednesday night, fans thronged the brand new venue, excited to see their family members and celebrate “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You”, the newest record and critically acclaimed Big Thief.
Big Thief shows have gone larger than life without ever feeling self-righteous. Instead of being an expensive spectacle with pyrotechnics and set design, Big Thief concerts feel much more intimate, like a campfire in the backyard at dusk in August.
At no time does the group feel like they are filling the halls to announce their new album or a first single. Instead, it’s a labor of love for them that every member holds dear.
Notably, Big Thief’s setlist on Wednesday night was pretty split between all the records they’ve released, from 2016’s “Masterpiece” to “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You,” giving the impression that it’s all about of a group of human beings who like to play with each other, jam and spend all the time they can together.
The band members (vocalist and guitarist Adrianne Lenker, guitarist Buck Meek, drummer James Krivchenia and bassist Max Oleartchik) have constantly grown closer to each other, cherishing each other’s brilliance and understanding that the closer they get, the better they play.
Lenker performed a new, seemingly solo song towards the end of the show and, beautifully, the other three silently watched their friend with visible pride.
Meek, Krivchenia and Oleartchik stood still, smiling and nodding in unison, letting Lenker do what she does best – making sense of our realities through the voice of Americana.
Earlier in the show, the band performed “Black Diamonds,” a cut of 2017’s “Capacity,” in which Lenker plays baritone, crying into the microphone “Come on, let me make you a man / I could make you a man. gather, and you tell the truth / You could cry in my arms / You could cry in my arms like a child / You could cry in my arms like a baby.
While performing “Black Diamonds”, Lenker suddenly becomes the liveliest she has ever been.
For someone who often keeps his body language toned down, Lenker played this song with such vigor, putting his whole body into it – pacing, waving his arms like a puppet and singing from the depths of hell that she can find in her heart.
At this point in the show, it is understood that Lenker is the best leader in live music right now.
Krivchenia is also hard to ignore, pounding his drums like a zealous madman. His drumming stood out throughout the concert, constantly turning even their most understated songs into catchy anthems.
When you look at Krivchenia, playing the drums seems like a sport. With a well-deserved sweat dripping from his jaw-dropping mouth, he pushes himself further and further throughout the show, leaving everything on stage.
He sounds and acts like he could be your favorite drummer’s favorite drummer, like there are thousands of drum fanatics sticking posters of him on their bedroom walls. He may actually be the best part of a Big Thief gig.
Honestly, the hardest part of seeing a Big Thief show is trying to focus on each member individually.
Along with Lenker’s power and Krivchenia’s stamina, Olearchik and Meek bring distinctive playing to the stage, with Meek’s brilliant guitar playing and Olearchik’s soulful bass playing.
Throughout the show, Olearchik sat lovingly in front of his bandmates, like a dog and its owner, repeatedly facing them, nurturing each member like a spirit guide.
For any other band, a member turning their back on the public may be a rude or permissible act, but it’s not just any other band. Meet Big Thief, a band that understands that their greatest instruments may simply be their good nature.
For the final song of the night, “Spud Infinity,” Lenker brought in his brother Noah Lenker to play the extremely fun jaw harp.
The single “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” is designed to be a happy chant, making it the perfect song to end the campfire.
“What’s it gonna take / To fill this celestial body?” fills the room, the crowd often overshadowing Lenker’s own voice.
These lines are a perfect sentiment for a Big Thief show. A family is able to come together, wander into the good nature of music, and wonder about something much bigger than our own grand imaginations.
If you’ve seen Big Thief live, you already know all of this. But if not, welcome to the family.