As fast as you can check out new venues in this wonderful city, new ones open up. Yet again, another new place to check out tonight; Le Ministère. Situated on St Laurent a block up from Le Belmont, from the outside it resembles a courthouse or a museum, with massive stone columns adorning the front that stretch up two floors. Inside though, it’s a cozy, intimate space, tailor-made for tonight’s visitors.
First up is Athens GA’s Mothers, or more accurately, Mothers’ frontwoman Kristine Leschper. Over a backdrop of eerie keys and sounding like a more tortured and ghostly version of Björk, she cuts poses to match. For one song, she faces the back of the stage entirely, and then for the very next one, crouches down head-in-hand. The mood appears to pick up a little on the last song, with keys sounding almost like a fairground Wurlitzer, but then a lyric about “crippling self-doubt” suggests that perhaps things haven’t deviated that much after all. A very moody start to the evening indeed, but certainly a well-received one.
When Richmond VA’s Lucy Dacus takes to the stage, she sounds almost pop in comparison! After a quick introduction to the crowd and a promise to play some songs, she opens the set with new song Addictions, from her massively acclaimed sophomore record Historian (which is played in its entirety tonight). Her silky-smooth voice is in evidence right off the bat, as she sings the opening “Freeze frame, tidal wave” line completely unaccompanied before the rest of her touring band swiftly joins in. The Shell starts out in even more angelic fashion, before building to a thumping crescendo, and then ending back where it started, with just Lucy on guitar. After the lovely Nonbeliever, she jokingly tells the crowd “j’ai oublie de pratiquer en français,” much to the amusement of the crowd. Yours & Mine is introduced as “a song about how I feel about the US right now,” and it subsequently makes so much sense to me, giving new meaning to lyrics I’ve listened to many times already. Cases in point: “this ain’t my home anymore” and “somebody lit the house on fire” really hit home now, given the context. And it’s not just me; at the conclusion of the song, someone in the audience yells “we feel you!!!”
The first of two offerings from debut record No Burden comes next in the form of a stomping Strange Torpedo before things take a very moody turn with Body To Flame, which morphs seamlessly via a very sludgy bassline into the glorious Timefighter, mutating from electro-Blues to a storming all-out rock finale. The cheers that greet the last bars are probably the loudest so far, to which Lucy responds “Thanks, that’s fun to play!” Pillar Of Truth comes soon after and is equally explosive. The main set wraps up with the stunning Night Shift, the song that opens the glorious new record, and elicits the biggest singalong of the night so far. After a brief pause, she returns with her guitarist for a 1-song encore in the form of a stripped-down Historians, consisting of just her angelic vocals over guitar feedback effects distorted to sound a little like a church organ, before leaving the stage of Le Ministère for good after 65 wonderful minutes.
It’s funny, midway through the set, Lucy reminds us that it’s been three years since her last headline show in Montreal, and “probably none of you were there…because nobody was there.” She can rest assured that she will never have that problem here again; expect the crowds, and the stages, to get bigger from hereon in.
Yours & Mine
Body To Flame
Next Of Kin
Pillar Of Truth
I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore
Review – Simon Williams
Photos – Jean-Michel Lacombe