Big Thief came to the Ryman in Nashville recently and I was lucky enough to be able to attend. I had tickets to see them at the Ryman back pre-pandemic and my schedule worked out to be able to travel for the rescheduled show.
The night started with Mind Maintenance who played an instrumental set with instruments I didn’t recognize. It was interesting and cool to see something outside the norm of what I’d usually see.
Big Thief released my two favorite albums of 2019 and this was my first time seeing since those had been released but if you know much about Big Thief you know they aren’t a “hits” band, so I was not at all surprised that a huge chunk of the set was dedicated to unreleased songs, one of which they said was making it’s live debut, Promise is a Pendulum. From what I heard it sounds like we are in store for another excellent album whenever they decide to release it. It speaks to how good the band is that they can put on a great performance while ignoring many many great songs in their catalogue.
Of course it wasn’t all new songs. There were incredible renditions of Cattails, Not, Two Hands, Masterpiece, Mary, Shark Smile, and more. The sound in the Ryman is unmatched and this was the best I’ve heard the band sound. The audience was mostly great too, no conversations being yelled at each other over the music, though at one point some douchebags started yelling at the band to play Mythological Beauty but another audience member got a nice ovation by yelling back for them to shut the fuck up. This got things back on track and the band continued on and finished the set with Terminal Paradise.