"We have a rule... that if you write a song on tour you have to perform it," Adrianne Lenker explained at the Big Thief show at Brooklyn Steel last night (3/1). That rule, which she specified was established by Twain's Mat Davidson, set the tone for the band's set, consisting of four unreleased songs. Adrianne shared the rule before launching into a solo performance of "Born For Loving You." She said she'd written the song "in Florida, very inspired by the pop-country coming out of the trucks."

The night opened with a set by Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek, who also played several unreleased tracks that he'd co-written in the last few months. He took a moment to acknowledge the end of tour homecoming, saying "It's so good to be home. The city never really leaves your system." Buck's band included the aforementioned Mat Davidson on pedal steel. Mat later joined Big Thief onstage for "Happiness," "Dried Roses," "Blue Lightning," "Vampire Empire," and "Spud Infinity," playing fiddle and flute.

Big Thief's own set was characterized by big tonal shifts, taking the willing crowd on a ride from the warm, sad folk of "Ruined" and "Flower Of Blood" to the dark distortion of "Blurred View," and back to the poppier energy of "Simulation Swarm." The band endeared themselves to the crowd with the ease of their performance: their vocal harmonies were loose and conversational; Adrianne's voice slipped into spoken-word poetry in moments and she played many guitar solos with an off-the-cuff dissonance.

The set hit its apex with new tour favorite "Vampire Empire" (which Big Thief played on Colbert earlier this week), into cathartic Two Hands shredder "Not," acoustic "Born For Loving You," and beloved Dragon New Warm Mountain oddity "Spud Infinity"--featuring Adrianne's brother Noah Lenker on jaw harp (as usual), Mat on fiddle, and drummer James Krivchenia on auto-tuned vocals.

Big Thief played a wholesome set to an adoring crowd, adding to the bittersweetness of the end of the tour (Adrianne, Buck, and bassist Max Oleartchik expressed deep gratitude to their road crew and the crowd). After the set's soaring highs and crushing lows, Big Thief closed the evening with a single-song encore, capping off the emotional ride with the thoughtful musings of "Change."

Big Thief's North American tour supporting Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You (one of our best of 2022) ends tonight with a sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall. Check out fan-shot photos and videos, the Colbert performance, and the full setlist below.

They'll be on the road again this summer with Nick Hakim and Lucinda Williams. All dates below.

SETLIST: Big Thief @ Brooklyn Steel, 3/1/2023 (via)
Flower of Blood
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You
Blurred View
Simulation Swarm
Happiness (with Mat Davidson)
Dried Roses (with Mat Davidson)
Blue Lightning (with Mat Davidson)
Vampire Empire (with Mat Davidson)
Born For Loving You (Adrianne solo)
Spud Infinity (with Mat Davidson & Noah Lenker)

Big Thief -- 2023 Tour Dates
Thu. March 2 - New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall #
Wed. Apr. 5 - Gateshead, UK @ Sage Gateshead %
Thu. Apr. 6 - Edinburgh, UK @ Usher Hall %
Fri. Apr. 7 - Manchester, UK @ O2 Apollo Manchester %
Sat. Apr. 8 - Cardiff, UK @ Great Hall %
Tue. Apr. 11 - London, UK @ Eventim Hammersmith Apollo %
Wed. Apr. 12 - London, UK @ Eventim Hammersmith Apollo %
Sat. Apr. 15 - Rotterdam, NL @ Rotterdamse Schouwburg
Sun. Apr. 16 - Groningen, NL @ De Oosterpoort
Tue. Apr. 18 - Antwerp, BE @ De Roma
Fri. Apr. 21 - Winterthur, CH @ Salzhaus
Sat. Apr. 22 - Munich, DE @ Muffathalle
Sun. Apr. 23 - Milan, IT @ Alcatraz
Wed. Apr. 26 - Barcelona, ES @ Sala Razzmatazz
Thu. Apr. 27 - Valencia, ES @ Sala Moon
Fri. Apr. 28 - Madrid, ES @ La Riviera
Sat. Apr. 29 - Lisbon, PT @ LAV
Mon. July 17 - Burlington, VT @ Lawn at Shelburne Museum ^
Tue. July 18 - Northampton, MA @ The Pines Theater ^
Wed. July 19 - Kingston, NY @ Ulster Performing Arts Center ^
Wed. July 26 - Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room ^
Thu. July 27 - Madison, WI @ The Sylvee ^
Mon. July 31 - Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks *
Thu. Aug. 3 - Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum Theatre *
Fri. Aug. 4 - Portland, OR @ McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheater *
Sat. Aug. 5 - Seattle, WA @ Marymoor Amphitheater *
# = w/ Buck Meek
% = w/ L’Rain
^ = w/ Nick Hakim
* = w/ Lucinda Williams

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