$20

Lucy Dacus

Johnny Brenda's Presents
21+

Event Information

Performers
Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

Johnny Brenda's

1201 N. Frankford Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19125

View Map

Refund Policy

Refund Policy

No Refunds

Event description
Lucy Dacus with Angelica Garcia at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia

About this Event

  • 7PM - Doors
  • 8PM - Angelica Garcia
  • 9PM - Lucy Dacus

LUCY DACUS

You said, “Don't go changing.

I'll rearrange to let you in

and I'll be your historian

and you'll be mine.

And I'll fill pages of scribbled ink,

hoping the words carry meaning.”

Then one day, the motorcade,

covered in flower wreaths,

first in a big parade,

will come to take one of us away

leaving the other with plenty to read.

Lucy Dacus is done thinking small. Two years after her 2016 debut, No Burden, won her unanimous acclaim as one of rock's most promising new voices, Dacus returns on March 2 with Historian, a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent. It finds her unafraid to take on the big questions — the life-or-death reckonings, and the ones that just feel that way. It's a record full of bracing realizations, tearful declarations and moments of hard-won peace, expressed in lyrics that feel destined for countless yearbook quotes and first tattoos.

"This is the album I needed to make," says Dacus, who views Historian as her definitive statement as a songwriter and musician. "Everything after this is a bonus."

She emphasizes that she does not take her newfound platform as a touring musician for granted. "I have this job where I get to talk to people I don't know every night," she remembers thinking on the long van rides across America to support No Burden. Realizing that she would have a dramatically expanded audience for her second album, she felt an urgent call to make something worthwhile: "The next record should be the thing that's most important to say."

The past year, with its electoral disasters and other assorted heartbreaks, has been a rough one for many of us, Dacus included. She found solace in crafting a thoughtful narrative arc for Historian, writing a concept album about cautious optimism in the face of adversity, with thematic links between songs that reveal themselves on repeat listens. "It starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks," she explains. "What I'm trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff."

Dacus and her band recorded the album in Nashville last March, re-teaming with No Burden producer Collin Pastore, and mixed it a few months later with A-list studio wizard John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut — an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll. Dacus' remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving Historian the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers.

The album opens with a striking three-track run. First comes "Night Shift," the only breakup song Dacus has ever written: "In five years I hope the songs feel like covers, dedicated to new lovers," she memorably declares. Next is the catchy, upbeat first single "Addictions," inspired in part by the dislocated feeling of life on the road and the lure of familiarity ("I’m just calling cause I’m used to it/And you’ll pick up cause you’re not a quitter…"), followed by "The Shell," a reflection on (and embrace of) creative burnout. There's nothing tentative about this opening sequence. Right away, it's clear that Dacus is on a new level of truth-telling and melodic grace.

Another key highlight is track five, "Yours & Mine" — "the centerpiece where the whole album hinges in on itself," Dacus says. Using a call-and-response format, she wrestles with the question of how best to participate in a community broken by injustice and fear while staying true to what one believes is right. "It's about realizing your power as a person, and deciding to do the less safe but ultimately more powerful move, which is to move physically forward — show up and march — and move forward politically," says Dacus, who began writing the song during the 2015 Baltimore Uprising against systemic racism.

Historian closes with two stunning songs: "Pillar of Truth," a heartfelt tribute to Dacus' late grandmother, and "Historians," which sums up the album's complex lessons about loss. "From the first song to 'Pillar of Truth,' the message is: You can't avoid these things, so accept them. There's ways to go about it with grace and gratefulness," she says. "Then 'Historians' says that even if you can say that, there's still fear, and loss is terrifying. You still love things, so it's going to hurt. But dark isn't bad. It's good to know that.”

ANGELICA GARCIA

Angelica Garcia appropriately likens her journey to “going down the rabbit hole.”

Upon graduating from Los Angeles School for the Arts, the 17-year-old native Angeleno found herself living in a 200-year-old gothic brick home encircled by magnolia trees and under a blanket of bright stars in Accomac, Virginia. Her stepfather traded a career in the music industry for Episcopalian priesthood, and an Eastern Shore church would serve as his (and the family’s) first congregation. Behind that residence where Union General Henry Hayes Lockwood once passed through during the Civil War, Angelica began to fashion her musical world in the dusty old parish house. Nodding to her personal “holy trinity” of Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and Jack White, she tenaciously penned music.

“Living there helped define my sound,” she declares. “It was really hard for me, because all of my friends were in Los Angeles. I didn’t know anyone, and I felt very isolated. So, I went into that parish house alone. When you’re sitting there by yourself, you don’t have to ask for permission. There’s no one to judge you. You get to do everything you want to. I had the chance to be free musically. A lot of it was my way to resurrect hope and feel better. You write what you know because nobody knows what you know. That’s the best way to be honest.”

The singer and songwriter’s vision embraced the environment as she recorded the sounds of crickets, drumming on a shoebox, creaking doors, and more to build a rich soundscape with just her piano, guitar, and MacBook. Those ideas would eventually evolve into the 12 songs comprising her 2016 full-length Warner Bros. Records debut, Medicine For Birds.

In 2014, the label signed Angelica based off the strength of the parish house demos, and she embarked on her first national tour with Delta Rae. She’d take the initial ideas to a Nashville studio with producer Charlie Peacock [The Civil Wars, Switchfoot] in January 2015.

“It’s like the songs grew up at that moment,” she explains. “Charlie showed me how big and crazy they could be. I felt like a hermit coming out. He was the ambassador to this sonic realm I didn’t know about it. The music became limitless.”

Now, her style struts between ghostly gorgeous countrified blues and sly swamp Americana. With a childlike whimsy, quirky sense of humor, and dynamic delivery, it could easily soundtrack an apparitions’ ball in some Faulknerian mansion. Punctuated by stomping percussion, revival-worthy handclaps, and airy banjos, “Woman I’m Hollerin’” conjures up a heavenly haunting chant, “They want my blood!”

“I wrote it in one sitting,” she recalls. “It’s all about being afraid people are going to come after you. We all get scared, and it captures that feeling. You’re worried and reaching out for help.”

Elsewhere, “Magnolia Is Medicine” pairs a lithe finger-picked acoustic guitar with her breathy verses. It uncovers the meaning behind the album title too. “The Magnolia tree represented the South for me,” she says. “It was the medicine that made me feel better. In the same way, I want these songs to make other people feel better.”

“Bridge Is On Fire” spins a psychedelic electric sitar into a gloomy, grim narrative of towering flames and the ashes of a relationship. “I’m telling the story of a guy and girl,” she continues. “He’s panicking about this bridge burning, and his love being on the other side away from him. However, it turns out she lit the blaze. Her decision to start this fire was more important than the relationship. It’s a self-actualization.”

Medicine For Birds is Angelica’s actualization. It’s the culmination of a life devoted to music that began in Eastern Los Angeles harmonizing with her mother at 5-years-old and performing at the city’s most famous haunts in high school to landing at the bottom of the rabbit hole on the other side of the country.

It’s the gateway to her wild world…

“I love it when someone tells me they relate to my work,” she concludes. “that’s the ultimate validation. When you’re all alone working on music, you open up. The more songs that I write, the more I realize this world. It’s kooky. It’s spooky. It’s playful. It’s funny. It’s somber. It’s goth. It’s light. It’s me.”

Share with friends

Performers

Date and Time

Location

Johnny Brenda's

1201 N. Frankford Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19125

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

Save This Event

Event Saved