Big Thief made their Ryman debut in Nashville last month and we were fortunate enough to be able to photograph their revelatory set. Checking the Ryman off of the list is a serious achievement for any mid-tier act, as the history of the room precedes it in a way that could intimidate those who aren’t fully prepared. However, the Brooklyn-based quartet is widely renowned as one of the greatest live bands of their time, and their set was no exception to the rave reviews that this tour has already received.
Coming off of 2019’s doubleheader of UFOF and Two Hands, the band continues to get better and better with every record and tour. Watching them is like watching a machine operate at its highest, most efficient point. Whether it’s guitarist Buck Meek’s ability to tastefully incorporate ambient noise into their folk-rock stylings, drummer James Krivchenia and bassist Max Oleartchik’s consistency and skill at holding down the rhythm section, or Adrianne Lenker’s piercing and beautiful voice carrying listeners through the night — this band is an expert in their craft, playing together like they’ve been doing it from birth. The setlist hit all of the high notes for a Big Thief show, with nearly half of it coming from the as-of-now untitled double album that they seem to be prepping for 2022; if half of these songs make the record, it will easily be a contender for next year’s album of the year. There’s not much to be said that hasn’t already been said about Big Thief other than this: this tour comes to your city (and it might — they just announced tour dates for 2022), buy tickets immediately, and make plans to go. There’s not another band like this in the world.
Check out our photo gallery from the night below: