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Four things we loved about Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker at Johnny Brenda’s

Adrianne Lenker
Photograph: Chris Sikich

The hushed, contemplative rock of Big Thief is led by the powerfully quiet Adrianne Lenker. Playing the second of two solo (and sold-out!) seated shows at Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday, she delivered a powerful performance of new and old material. Here are some photos and highlights from the night:

1. Lenker shines as a solo artist.

Adrianne Lenker

Lenker hugged the microphone with her body and guitar, eyes barely visible while singing about the agonies of existence. The music stripped to its core haunts even more than on Big Thief’s records. Lenker’s sweet, hushed vocals and her intricate guitar work filled the room with a pointed power rarely felt in the venue.

2. The performance was as intimate as a rock show can get.

Adrianne Lenker

The rare seated nature of the show (seated on the main floor, standing on the balcony) drew the crowd’s attention to the music and performer. Every plucking of the strings and syllable came into clearer view.

3. She played three guitars and shared a handful of new songs.

Adrianne Lenker

Switching between three guitars, Lenker played both old material and new stuff from her newly recorded solo album that’s slated to be recorded this year. The new works were gorgeous, showing her power as a solo performer. Get excited to hear it.

4. Nick Hakim began the night with soul.

Nick Hakim

Playing keyboard and guitar, Hakim exposed the rapt crowd to an oddball mix of covers and original material that showcased a soulful voice and a contemplative inner-monologue. The unique sensibility of Hakim was an intriguing contrast to the deeply serious material we got from Lenker.

Nick Hakim
Nick Hakim
Nick Hakim
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