Lucy Dacus and Indigo De Souza showed vulnerability through performance at Englert

Indie rock artists Lucy Dacus and Indigo De Souza performed at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City, sharing their masterful lyricism and emotional performances with a passionate audience.


Larry Phan

Indigo de Souza opens for Lucy Dacus at the Englert Theatre in Iowa City on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.

Jami Martin-Trainor, Arts Reporter

As a variety of music played softly in the background, the packed crowd buzzed with anticipation at the Englert Theatre on Feb. 18, watching the stage filled with guitars, microphones, speakers, keyboards, and a couch placed near the back. After waiting for months after the original concert date was postponed due to COVID-19 related concerns, the audience was more than ready to welcome indie rock artists Lucy Dacus and Indigo De Souza to the stage. 

When De Souza entered from the wings, the audience immediately jumped out of their seats and pushed to the front of the stage. The sold-out concert was the largest the Englert has held since the COVID-19 pandemic limited in-person performances. 

De Souza’s vocals left the audience completely silent, entranced by the artist. Listeners held on to every word De Souza sang. After her first song, “Home Team”, she simply chuckled and thanked the crowd, seemingly unaware of the power that she held. The audience was warm and welcoming, frequently chanting “You’re doing great,” “We love you,” and other affirming comments. 

The raw emotion in De Souza’s entire set was captivating. Her strong voice carried out such strength, at one point singing the lyrics from her song “Way Out,” she screamed the line “I don’t want to feel like this” with a devastating intensity.

For her closer, De Souza sang one of her more popular songs, titled “Kill Me”. Despite the darkness of the song, the audience was jumping and dancing near the front of the stage, elated and energized from the performance. 

After De Souza’s set, the stage was completely transformed. The couch was moved to the front of the stage, and VHS footage of Lucy Dacus played in the background, aligning with the theme of her latest album, titled Home Video

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When Dacus entered the stage, the audience decided that she needed no introduction, cheering loudly with excitement. Dacus then laid on the couch, informing the audience that she would be performing while laying down.

Dacus announced on social media last week that she would be laying down during her performances because she had two herniated discs. Laying down horizontally was the only position that she could perform in without being in pain. 

Despite the less-than-ideal circumstances, Dacus still gave a breathtaking performance. With her head resting on patterned cow-print pillows, Dacus sang several of her own songs, as well as a few covers, including “La Vie en Rose” by Edith Piaf and “Home Again” by Carole King.

Dacus found ways to interact with the audience as well. At one point she asked the audience if anyone had attended Vacation Bible School as a kid: A majority of hands rose, the crowd laughing and connecting with each other as Dacus performed one of her most popular songs, “VBS.” Listeners nodded their heads back and forth as if it were a rock concert, which was unexpected considering the religious themes of the song. 

The emotional vulnerability was present for the entire set, as Dacus showed the audience a very intimate piece of herself. Her impactful lyrics, raw vocals, and personal anecdotes about her work created a space where the audience felt deeply connected to Dacus and her work.

The final song of the night was the perfect manifestation of this idea. Dacus sang her song “Night Shift,” which was full of feelings like anger and resentment. The audience reached a moment of catharsis as they screamed the lyrics together. 

After the performance, the audience gave a standing ovation to both De Souza and Dacus. The show may have been postponed, but the end product was well worth the wait.