FRIDAY
March 9, 2018 | doors at 9:00pm
Sharing is Caring
The Bowery presents:
LUCY DACUS
And the Kids | Adult Mom
  • $12
  • $14
  • ADVANCE
  • DAY OF SHOW
Lucy Dacus
Lucy Dacus's No Burden is full of surprises -- sharp lyrical observations, playful turns of musical phrase, hooks that'll embed themselves in your frontal lobe for days. But the most surprising thing about this album might be the fact that it's a debut; it has a keen sense of self about it, and it nearly glows from the self-possession held by the woman at its core.

The 21-year-old Dacus grew up in Richmond; she was adopted at a young age, an experience that informed her curious, openhearted songwriting. "When my parents were explaining what adoption was -- which was very early on in my childhood -- they always said that my birthmother thought I was worthwhile even though she couldn't be my mom," she says. "And so from essentially infancy, I was taught that life was innately worthwhile because a bunch of people had worked together to set me up with one.

"Every other philosophy of mine has been built on that foundation," she continues. "Humans want this experience for each other; there has to be some reason why. I seem to always end up trying to write and understand how we can live the most worthwhile life, and therefore how we hold each other up from getting there."

Dacus started playing around Richmond while in college, opening for local acts and eventually meeting Jacob Blizard, a guitarist who invited her to make a record for a college project of his. No Burden, which originally came out in February on the Richmond label EggHunt Records, opens with the forthright, almost brutally honest "I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore," the last song Dacus wrote before the album's day-long recording session at Starstruck Studios in Nashville. Dacus delivers scalpel-sharp observations about resisting pigeonholing over chunky guitars, ticking off ideals of femininity and youth until the track's not-quite-resolution.

These themes extend to the lyrics of songs like "Strange Torpedo," a whirling portrait of a friend whose "bunch of bad habits" who, Dacus sings, has "been falling for so long... [and hasn't] hit anything solid yet." "I've been that friend watching a loved one do what they know is bad for them and not understanding why," says Dacus. The song offers a simple message: "'I love you, why don't you love you? You're the one in your body so you get to choose what to do with it, but if I were you I'd treat me differently.'"

The rest of No Burden, which was produced by Collin Pastore, puts Dacus's voice center stage, allowing the glinting poetry of her lyrics to shine even more brightly. "Trust," which Dacus wrote in late 2013, showcases her alone with her guitar, her faint vibrato floating over strummed chords as she sings of self-redemption. And the diptych "Dream State..." and ."..Familiar Place," which revolve around Dacus repeating "Without you, I am surely the last of our kind/ Without you, I am surely the last of my kind," capture disappointment and loss in a jaw-dropping way; the music trembles around her while her voice stays steady, anticipating whatever might come next.

No Burden is a forthright, disarmingly catchy statement. And while it's a sterling debut, it only hints at the potential possessed by this passionate, thoughtful young woman. - Maura Johnston

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And the Kids
Since their earliest days as a band, And The Kids have embodied the wayward freedom that
inspired their name. “When Rebecca and I were teenagers we just lived on the streets and
played music, and people in town would always call us kids—not as in children, but as in
punks,” says Mohan. On their third full-length When This Life Is Over, the Northampton,
Massachusetts-based four-piece embrace that untamable spirit more fully than ever before,
dreaming up their most sublimely defiant album yet.
The self-produced follow-up to Friends Share Lovers—a 2016 release acclaimed by NPR, who
noted that “Mohan’s striking vocals rival the vibrato and boldness of Siouxsie Sioux…[And
The Kids] make music that’s both fearless and entertaining”—When This Life Is Over unfolds in
buzzing guitar tones and brightly crashing rhythms, howled melodies and oceanic harmonies.
Although And The Kids recorded much of When This Life Is Over at Breakglass Studios in
Montreal (mainly to accommodate the fact that Miller was deported to her homeland of
Canada in 2014), a number of tracks come directly from bedroom demos created by
Lasaponaro and Mohan. “The sound quality on those songs is so shittily good; it’s just us
being so raw and so alone in the bedroom, writing without really even thinking we were going
to use it,” says Mohan. “We recorded them right away, and there was a really strong feeling of
‘Don’t touch them again.’”
Even in its more heavily produced moments, When This Life Is Over proves entirely untethered
to any uptight and airless pop-song structure. Songs often wander into new moods and
tempos, shining with a stormy energy that merges perfectly with the band’s musings on
depression and friendship and mortality and love. On opening track “No Way Sit Back,” And
The Kids bring that dynamic to a sharp-eyed look at the lack of representation of marginalized
people in the media. “If you’re not seeing yourself portrayed on TV, whether you’re a person of
color or trans or queer, that can be really damaging to your mental health—it can even be
fatal,” says Mohan. With its transcendent intensity, “No Way Sit Back” takes one of its key
lyrical refrains (“The world was never made for us”) and spins it into something like a glorious
mantra. That willful vitality also infuses tracks like “Champagne Ladies,” on which And The
Kids match a bouncy melody to their matter-of-fact chorus (“Life is a bastard/Life wants to kill
you/Don’t get old”), driving home what Mohan identifies as the main message of the song:
“Don’t die before you’re dead.”
The origins of And The Kids trace back to when Mohan and Lasaponaro first met in seventh
grade. After playing in a series of bands throughout junior high and high school (sometimes
with Averill on bass), the duo crossed paths with Miller in 2012 when the three interned at the
Institute for the Musical Arts in the nearby town of Goshen. Once they’d brought Miller into
the fold, And The Kids made their debut with 2015’s Turn to Each Other and soon headed out
on their first tour. “At one of the shows on that tour, a burlesque act opened for us at a place in
Arkansas,” Mohan recalls. “And then another time on tour, we crashed at a friend of a friend’s
house, and there was a pot-bellied pig sleeping on the couch. That’s what nice about staying at
people’s houses on the road: you never know what you’re gonna see.”
In creating the cover art for When Life Is Over, And The Kids chose to include a picture of
their mascot: a black chihuahua named Little Dog, an ideal symbol for the scrappy ingenuity
at the heart of the band. “Some of the most memorable moments we’ve been through with the
band are like, ‘Hey, remember that tour when Megan had just gotten deported and we didn’t
have any money, and we had to drive all these hours to play for like two people?’” says Mohan.
“That was a real bonding experience for us. And even when it’s hard, there’s always something
good that comes out of it. There’s always a meaning for everything.”
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