The Big Thief gig at Whelans on April Fools day was one of those gigs where everything fell into place. Big Thief are an act for the people in that their music is relatable. So, the small stage setting of Whelans was the perfect place for them to connect with their adoring fans, and vice versa. From storytelling to improvised guitar solos by the audience, this show was like the meeting of friends for the first time.
Whelans! The closeness of the venue creates a sense of community and that was particularly evident at this gig. Everyone got along, everyone sang along to what they knew and it general they was just a great buzz throughout.
Clementine March was the support act and in fairness to her, she got everyone in a good mood with just her guitar. Some nice soft rock tracks and catchy riffs.
One of the surprising aspects of this gig was the amount of new music Big Thief played. Without Busk Meek on guitar it was up to Lenker to lead the group. I don’t remember the names of the songs but as I was hearing them and comparing them to those on ‘Masterpiece’ and ‘Capacity’ it became apparent that Big Thief are after discovering who they are. We heard that on ‘Capacity’ and whatever they release next sounds like it will follow on from what they started there.
Of the tracks we know and love, we heard ‘Shark Smile’, ‘Mythological Beauty’ and ‘Mary’ during the 70 minute show as well as ‘Paul’ which was requested by a wonderfully vocal member of the crowd. It wasn’t annoying at all, ahem, but he got his wish in the end! Another special moment was when a crowd member imitated a guitar chord and in truth ,it was hilarious! It came mid-song and it ended up catching Lenker off guard. Everyone laughed and after a few seconds she composed herself and carried on. In the end, they were roared off stage to a deafening and deserved applause.
One or two little moments of distortion disrupted the flow but it wasn’t anything major. All guitar solos came across well and not exactly expecting to hear so many, I was delighted!
Fantastic show. The closeness of it all was what really pulled it together. That combined with a taste of new music makes it a memorable one.