Riding the release of her latest album “Turn Out The Lights,” Julien Baker brought her live show to Houston’s Heights Theater on Tuesday and wooed a recently heart-broken city with her impressive and emotional solo performance. Using only an acoustic guitar, electric guitar and keyboard to support her powerful lyrics and vocals, Baker’s no-frills, nearly-acoustic set had the audience clinging to every word sang or spoken throughout the evening. Adding to the ambiance of the intimate evening was her simple stage décor. Though spotlights faded in and out during Baker’s set, the glowing yellow of exposed bulbs at the back of the stage provided an atmosphere of intimacy, almost as if the set was occurring by candlelight.
To the benefit of both fans and Baker, the old movie-theater-turned-concert-hall bolster the intimacy of the evening as attendees were able and comfortable enough to speak directly to Baker, knowing she could hear them very clearly and would likely respond. Throughout the night, soft shouts of “I love your music,” and “Your music makes me feel better” and “How was your day today,” could be heard from audience members bold enough to speak up. In return, Baker embraced the ability to exchange words with her fans and engaged in brief conversations with the crowd between songs describing her day as “quite boring,” as she had been in the car traveling for most of it, and telling the story of her last visit to Houston in which she cried on stage due to the overwhelming emotions of election night, felt by many throughout the country that evening.
This emotional and passionate show by Baker about politics and life, both on stage and in the studio, is certainly what drew such a large crowd to her show on Tuesday night. Though fans seemed to know the words to nearly every song played that night, it was clear that Baker’s biggest release to date, “Appointments,” resonated deeply with many in the crowd as they hesitantly sang aloud as to not have their own voices collectively resonate any louder than Baker’s.
When the evening came to a close, attendees of the show waited for several minutes after Baker exited the stage in hopes that she would soon return for an encore. To great dismay the house music eventually came on, the lights of the theater brightened and fans received word that the show had in fact come to an end. Despite the live performance concluding, however, the crowd flocked to the merch table just outside the concert hall doors and purchased everything from apparel to vinyl records, both in support of the artist and simply to take a piece of the impactful show home with them.