Over the 4th of July weekend, the Bootleg Theater hosted three great performances by Big Thief, Fell Runner and Luke Temple. Many that decided to say in Los Angeles over the holiday weekend were glad that they made this show a part of their 4th of July festivities.
Fell Runner opened the bill with a strong intensity! I loved them so much. I was personally hooked by their diversely unified sound. Landing in-between the sound of Fleet Foxes and Tune-Yards, their set truly did stand on its own. They have such rhythmic tones and layers upon layers of vocal harmonies in the mix, you can’t help but be on your toes. Fell Runner’s set honestly got better and better as it played on. For an opening act, these guys could’ve played the whole night through and the full house would’ve been more than content. I spoke with two of the members over by their merch afterwards and learned their close friendship which grew from being classmates at California Institute of the Arts. They have this tangible connection with each other and you can see it on stage with how their individual stylings combine to create their unique sound.
Following Fell Runner was folk singer-songwriter, Luke Temple. The mood in the room instantly transformed from the upbeat vibe Fell Runner sparked, to a calm and soothing atmosphere led by Temple’s beautiful vocals. The crowd went from standing to sitting on the floor. For 30 lovely minutes, we got to hear Temple’s luscious vocal range, falsetto and all. It’s not every day you hear a voice that resembles that of the great Paul Simon. Luke Temple put on a mesmerizing performance.
Big Thief then took the stage shortly after. The Brooklyn musicians were cheered on as they covered a wide range of tracks off their debut album Masterpiece, released this past May. On lead vocals and guitar they have Adrianne Lenker. Her striking tone had an immediate grip on fans who came to catch Big Thief’s set.
Big Thief definitely had a charming presence to them. They reminded me of a more folky Daughter. They both have a similar songwriting style that shines with rich and thought-provoking lyrics led by a female vocalist with eloquent power. Lenker described her band as a pack of wolves at her back, making the songs howl and bark with a fierce tenderness that gives her courage. Well said, for sure. The group performs with a striking intent, backed by those hidden stories that make up their bold lyrics. I thoroughly enjoyed the night overall. So many talented musicians. So many.
Photography: Danielle Gornbein