On “Home Video” Lucy Dacus takes a fine tooth comb to the complex emotions of growing up a queer, Christian child in Virginia through the lens of an indie rock record. Released in June 2021, the critically acclaimed record has been praised for its intensely crafted lyricism and gorgeous production. The singer brought her current tour to the Miami Beach Bandshell along with opening act Crooks and Nannies.
Marking five years since their last released collection of songs, West Philadelphia duo Crooks and Nannies came back onto the music scene after some time away as a band. Consisting of Madel Rafter (they/them) on vocals, guitar and saxophone with Sam Huntington (she/her) on drums and vocals. With their upcoming record “No Fun” to be released in early 2023, the group has shifted away from the electronic sound of their debut record “Soup for My Girlfriend.” On their latest single “control,” Rafter sings of wanting to give into impulses to feel in control over a chaotic world, building from a quiet delivery into a screaming fervor. With subject material ranging from gender dysphoria and anxiety, Crooks and Nannies sound feels somewhere between early Liz Phair and Fountains of Wayne with an almost jazz infusion.
Being introduced with a land acknowledgment by local activist Libre of the Troika Kollectiv, Lucy Dacus reinforces her stance of creating deeply personal music rooted with political activism. Backed by a giant TV screen, actual home video footage of Dacus from infancy to teen years plays as the band walks on stage. Being a ‘95 Gen Z/Millenial cusp like Dacus seeing some of these images felt like a trip into my own childhood memories, with Pajama Sam CDs and plush Barney toys. During the show, the screen switched between animated sequences set to the “Home Video” songs, a static illustration for “Historian” songs and even a full live-action short film for the track “Kissing Lessons.”
Beginning her set with the song “Triple Dog Dare,” the last track on her record “Home Video” may seem like an odd narrative choice, but as a lowkey song about the complicated nature of being a queer teenager in a small town trying to keep friendships, sets the tone for the mood of the whole show and even sends a message about the cyclical nature of going down the path of nostalgia. Bringing out old favorites like “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” from her debut record, alongside covers of other alto icons like Cher and Carole King. Evenly pulling from her latest record and her smash sophomore release “Historian” the undeniable lyricism of Dacus was on full display from the resonance of her lush voice. Miami Beach Bandshell’s sound crew has to be commended for mixing Dacus’ lowkey vocals well above her four-piece backing band.
While Florida outdoor shows often spell unpredictable weather conditions, especially in “hurricane season” around the time Dacus got to the track “VBS,” a poignant song about religious trauma, the drizzle that had been plaguing the earlier set, had come to a light rain. “We’ll keep playing until they tell us to stop” Dacus said before going into the track “Yours and Mine.” Evoking the campfire sing-along vibe on the record, Lucy Dacus brought out the members of Crooks and Nannies to gather on stage to sing the track “Going Going Gone”, which features backing vocals by her Boygenius bandmates Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker along with Mitski and her long-time collaborator Patrick Hyland. With songs like “Thumbs” and especially the Tik Tok-ified “Night Shift” now turning into a moment of catharsis for the Doc Martens-clad crowd turning into a scream-along for an audience drenched by Florida rain, making it difficult to distinguish tears from the downpour. The storm did not halt the band’s set at all, ripping through the entire show before a final encore of “Believe” by Cher. The setlist did indicate Dacus was going to play a song solo, possibly a new track, however due to one reason or another, the show ended with the full band version of the Cher track.
Triple Dog Dare
Hot & Heavy
Yours & Mine
Partner in Crime
Home Again (Carole King Cover)
Going Going Gone
I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore
Believe (Cher Cover)