At the Anthem, Big Thief shows that indie rock needs to be heard loud.

What is the problem with Big Thief?

So how does the perhaps miraculous, perhaps enigmatic indie rock band at the top of critical minds sound on a spring night in 2022 at a fairly packed Anthem on the DC waterfront?

Frontwoman Adrienne Linker is the most compelling reason why the band is worth your time. Linker works on opposite ends of the ear. Specter: In Big Thief’s best songs, she’s either cooing cutely or howling at the sky. Even the 30-year-old singer’s impressionistic lyrics are best absorbed through the same dichotomy. Lenker can reflect both on physical bodies and her place in the cosmos (as in the enchanting John Prine-style closing of the night, “Spud Infinity”), as well as the mundanity of flipping through your phone while watching a movie with your partner (as you do in the exquisite “Certainty”).

The contradictions became apparent on the album and the concert. opens “Change”, a single song that seems to stifle the beautiful highs and deep longing that are characteristic of a big thief Through the slow-tempo start, there are charming, oblique references to immortality, death, and embracing the unknown. As he sang it Thursday night, Linker began to release his voice in a tearing crescendo for anyone who cared to listen, in a performance that evoked the breakdown of balance felt when losing a partner.

“Still, what I find/ Are you always on my mind/ Could I feel happy for you/ When I hear you talk to her like we used to?/ Could I set it all free/ When I see you hold her the way you once loved me? did you hold?

Lenker’s voice went fantastically crazy on “Not,” one of the night’s most intense and enjoyable songs about, well, nothing. but it is the path Lenker eschews language in favour of using his voice to build the momentum of a locomotive before the savage roar of a guitar that cements this song as one of the most wonderfully insane, catchy and fun rock songs of recent times.

In his history, Big Thief makes some mistakes. Sometimes it’s frustrating to listen to a band that doesn’t want to play the Band or Fleetwood Mac style anthems and instead spends their time dithering with experimental grooves that just sound good.

But perhaps it’s no surprise that in concert they sound complex, even revealing. indie rock band

In normal times, they are more likely to be on the road than sitting. Some telepathy could be felt between them onstage as guitarist Buck Meek and drummer James Krivchenia deftly scribbled riffs and beats around Lenker. Bassist Max Olearchik floated towards his bandmates, and as they peeked at each other, The quartet seemed to be in close communion, focused more on playing for each other than for the public.

Maybe Big Thief has unlocked a secret to making indie rock sound big and important again: keep playing together, and better yet, keep playing it live.

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