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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Concert review: Big Thief


A more extensive review of the recent Saint Paul Big Thief concert and their latest album will appear in KRLX’s forthcoming NoFi issue. Follow both the Carletonian and NoFi for more live performance coverage.

Big Thief returned to Minnesota for their “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” tour Wednesday, April 27. Led by Adrianne Lenker, a 10-year resident of Plymouth, MN, Big Thief has had a whirlwind several years. Lenker has skyrocketed through the indie scene in the past seven years. Releasing their first album,“Masterpiece,” to rave reviews in 2016, band members Lenker, Buck Meek (her now ex-husband), Max Oleartchik and James Krivchenia articulated a vision of indie folk rock that was at once generic and promisingly fresh. Each album has remained fresh and developed the band’s key thematic and formal elements. The air surrounding the band is electrically charged: their careers are only just beginning.

The band’s new album is reminiscent of many friends reflecting upon the intensity of the past two years. It Their new album has provided a far different concert experience than their last tour, in which they performed their album “Orange.” This past summer, the band performed in Chicago during the 2021 Pitchfork Music Festival. . The energy was reflective and slow-paced. Many sat. Lenker performed without any musical accompaniment for much of “Orange” and flexed her impressive vocal range. Their 2022 St. Paul show was different entirely, in ways shared by Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You’s distinctiveness within their oeuvre. Lenker invited her younger brother to the stage for a performance of “Spud Infinity.” The audience danced. In the first Big Thief album since the pandemic began, Lenker articulates a vision of togetherness, of a humanity woven together with love that defies, without denying, the world’s shared collective trauma. It is an exciting time in the world; emergence to a new normal has been protracted and stunted but feels imminent. But, as the band reminds us, life’s vast mysteries are contained in the microscopic. Their show was a reminder to pay heed to the beats and pulses of the everyday, to be vulnerable and to live passionately.

“From way up there it looks so small

From way down here it looks so small

One peculiar organism aren’t we all together?

Everybody steps on ants

Everybody eats the plants

Everybody knows to dance even with just one finger”

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