Lucy Dacus, the first times are not forgotten
On March 27, Lucy Dacus played Brighton's Concorde 2, a small seafront club reached down a flight of stairs from the be front, less than ten minutes from where I live since October 2021. I met Lucy through my boyfriend, when he wasn't my boyfriend yet and we squeezed together the last days of an ephemeral and sticky summer in Havana. One of those nights of endless chats, he appeared please stay on my screen. He didn't say anything, he just sent the song and left Telegram.
I listened to it once or twice, I looked for the lyrics, I cried, I answered some bad word. All this while Lucy sang behind:
Quit your job.
Cut your hair.
Get a dog.
Change your name.
Change your mind.
Change your ways.
Break a vow.
Make a new one.
Call me if you need a friend
or never talk to me again.
But please stay.
I left for London on October 8, 2021 and arrived on the 9th, after nearly 26 hours of travel. I brought the same tears from that night, but somehow it helped me find a fair space for the desire to love and to live an experience that had cost me time and strength to achieve. I began to listen to Lucy from this side of the world, regularly but discreetly: a couple of songs from time to time, interspersed in some playlist. Until, reading the NPR's best albums of 2021 list, I came across that collection of adolescent chronicles that is Home Video, their third studio album, and that's when I started to really hear what this girl from Virginia, five years my junior, had to say to me.
If they try to place it in a specific genre—beyond the indie that Google lets you know and that is not a genre, by the way—, a mixture of rock and folk, with the saddest part of country, I think that would be what best defines it. That sadness is almost inherent in all his songs, like a seal, a stamp that he prints with his voice when the lyrics try to pass for happy, or less miserable. It is, at the same time, very sweet Lucy, a melancholy that you want to feel, a friend that you want to hug.
The post from her concert in Brighton jumped out at me on Instagram as a promoted ad during my getaway to Havana in February. We were lying on his bed, maybe after lunch because I remember the sun from the window; I don't know if he read or if he did scrolling on your phone like me. Lucy Dacus in Brighton for 20 pounds, I told him, and bought the ticket immediately. Then, in the heaviness of another goodbye, I forgot.
I don't remember going to a concert alone, just for the pleasure of music. Lucy was not only my first concert after the pause of these two years of pandemic, it was my first concert outside of Cuba, without my friends, without someone to hug during Night Shift, or who to tell that thumbs up is a song that no 26-year-old girl should be writing, but every girl who writes a song like thumbs up automatically becomes my friend.
Concorde 2's stage is small, adjusted even for the format Lucy brought to this UK tour: guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. And the sadness in her voice, she was already saying, which contrasted that night with a brightly colored striped sweater that made her look like an old-girl, a wise-girl, a girl-who-has-lived-a-lot-and -comes-to-sing it.
I felt strange from the line to enter, while I saw how the groups of friends were forming, very happy to be there, to see her, to listen to the sound check from the street and hope, like me, that this concert would be the most beautiful thing they were going to see in their lives. It's unfair, Lucy, but I don't make the rules. After two years without attending a concert, it's the least of a wait. I also had a responsibility: to make it present to him, who had discovered your music.
It started right at the time the ticket said. At o'clock. The opening act —the English Fenne Lily— half understood the task, because it took longer than —I think— anyone there would have wanted, but it was during her presentation that I understood that this concert was not going to be like any other I had attended. before. There would be no "preview" with friends speculating on the opening or closing songs, leaving our favorites to rank in the bonus track; there would be no almost shouted choirs looking us in the eye and identifying us with the lyrics; there would be no arguing about how better or worse a newly arranged song sounded. And no, she definitely wasn't going to leave that place hoarse to buy alcohol to get off at dawn on the boardwalk.
"Asgaard is not a place, it's a people"
I went to the end of the room, away from the stage and near the bar. I ordered a beer and smiled at two girls who gently nudged me as they made their way to the front rows. The concert lasted exactly two hours. It was tender and simple. Of an almost childlike beauty. Lucy fulfilled almost everything because she sang almost everything. My boy attended the FaceTime on the eighth time and was able to see her from the mediocre place I managed to access so that he could at least distinguish his face. I cried with the songs that I should have cried and sang the choruses that I knew. My legs started to hurt and the beer was pushing me into the bathroom from the middle of the concert. I felt alone and wanted to leave. But I was going to be alone anywhere in this city, so I stayed. It sounded spectacular, clean, like it had just come out of the studio, in tune. On the screen, a picture of a video cassette was spinning on a blue analog background.
I thought I was going to get more excited, I confess. After all, I was seeing live music again. I was seeing an artist who has been praised by the media with which I learn to do music journalism every day. That he tours the UK and people come to his concerts wearing t-shirts that say "Lucy Dacus, music for hot people”. That he was there in front of me singing his best songs with patience and dedication as if he were embroidering every note that came out of his throat.
What more did I want?
I got home 12 minutes after the end and, while I was fixing myself something to eat, I put please stay on Spotify:
You tell me you love me, like it'll be the last time
Like you're playing out, the end of a storyline
I say I love you too, because it's true
What else am I supposed to do?
I stayed, Lucy, although it may not seem like it right now because of the ocean, I stayed. Thanks for not singing it that night.