LIVE: Julien Baker / Lauren Denitzio @ Bush Hall, London

By Jess Tagliani

It’s a miserable evening but in Bush Hall, the room is slowly getting warmer as more and more people pack into this sold-out show. It’s been nearly a year since Julien Baker has graced the shores of the UK and with the outstanding reception she received after releasing her LP ‘Sprained Ankle’ last year, it was no surprise that this show sold out so quickly.

Supporting tonight is Lauren Denitzio, who can be found fronting punk outfit Worriers when they’re not playing a solo set. Their set is gutsy and plucky, packed with melodic-laden tracks such as ‘Good Luck’ and ‘Precarity Rules’ – their vocals are strong and steadfast, and are upheld by the clean, powerful guitar work they produce. As Lauren leaves the stage to enthusiastic applause, there’s a silent wish that they return to London for a headline show soon.

Quite simply, there aren’t enough words in the English Language to describe just how utterly mesmerising Julien Baker is tonight. When she sets foot on stage, the crowd falls so quiet that if a pin were to be dropped, it would (at times) be the loudest noise in the room.

Throughout her bittersweet set, Julien consistently demonstrates her talent again and again. Tracks such as ‘Vessels’ and ‘Rejoice’ are packed with power and Julien’s voice is an absolute joy; her voice is always near breaking point as she’s so laden with heart-breaking emotion. Despite being armed with only her voice and guitar, Julien’s stage presence is huge and she simply fills the room.

‘Everybody Does’ is gut-wrenching and is a track the majority of the room identifies with; lyrics of “I know I’m a pile of filthy wreckage you will wish you’d never touched / But you’re gonna run when you find out who I am” pack an emotional punch. The guitar work in ‘Blacktop’ and ‘Sprained Ankle’ is both delicate and strong, creating a strangely uplifting atmosphere despite the quietly sad lyrical content.

Julien Baker is an incredibly accomplished singer-songwriter, both on record and live, so here’s to hoping that they continues their ever successful career for a long time, especially after tonight’s beautiful and captivating show.