So, the Virginia singer set an ultra bar for herself. Who knows whether Dacus thought she outdid herself, but she (and certainly her fans) sure seemed satisfied with how the night went when all was said and done 70 minutes later.
Dacus started easily enough with "Fool's Gold" before picking up the pace with "Addictions," one of a number of songs that she had a backing chorus of hundreds. This was a case where the concert only got better and better as it went along.
Songs like "Addictions" enjoyed spurts of momentum, making it clear that Dacus has a strong sense of songcraft as evidenced over the course of two well-received albums.
She leaned to another keen songwriter, Bruce Springsteen, for a sturdy take on "Dancing in the Dark" with crisp, clean vocals.
Dacus toughened up the songs with increasing intensity with "Timefighter" and especially "Night Shift," the elongated closer to the regular set.
And then there was the final song of the night, the unrecorded "I Would Kill Him" (or something like that), a song about the abusive father of her girlfriend, although Dacus lightened the message in an intro saying she wouldn't really take such action.
That seems to standard M.O. for Dacus. Her winning personality manages to overcome, at times, weighty subjects.
Dacus was backed by a supple trio, who overcame some initial muddiness - especially the thump thump of drummer Ricardo Lagomasino, to give a lot of teeth to the music - at times. Guitarist Jacob Blizard had a lot of standout moments as well.
No wonder Dacus was pumped to be back in the area. It's easy with shows like this.
Hayley Heynderickx opened with a very well-received set of folk music. Heynderickx stature is growing, and it's easy to see why. Playing solo acoustic, Heynderickx's finger picking is very precise and engaging.
The Portland, Ore. resident demonstrated near precious sounding vocals, but she would have benefitted from songs with a bit more tempo. One suspects that having a band behind her might have done the trick as well for a meatier sound.
Heynderickx clearly benefitted from having a warm interaction with the crowd, often punctuating her patter with a few humorous quips. Heynderickx certainly is headed in the right direction.