Words & Photos by Joe Calixto
If you’ve been keeping up with music in the past few years, I am almost certain you’ve heard Julien Baker’s name. After the incredible reception of her debut album Sprained Ankle, released in October 2015, Julien hasn’t stopped taking over the world with her perfect blend of ambient guitar parts and the most heart wrenching lyrics possible. Almost 2 years to the day, Julien Baker released her second full length record, Turn Out The Lights, this year through Matador Records. The Tennessee native has since played with the likes of Death Cab For Cutie, Conor Oberst, Paramore, The National, Belle & Sebastian and so many more heavy hitters in the indie world.
Fast forward to a semi-chilly, early December night in Los Angeles. This stop of the tour was at the Palace Theater in downtown LA. In all my years of living in LA and shooting around the city, I have never been to this theater. I used to work down the street from it and I always thought it was abandoned. But I must say, this was one of the most beautiful theaters I have been to (minus the part where it was seating only and we had to shoot up front, it was pretty awkward but fuck it! It was a great photo op).
Opening the show were Austin, TX’s Adam Torres and Brooklyn, NY’s Half Waif, who brought their very own sound to the table. Torres started the show with his very intimate kind of folk that set the mood for the night. Half Waif in the other hand livened things up with their mix of post-rock feels and some pop rock. I’ve seen them a couple of times now and definitely never tired of them.
After a few minutes of setting up, the theater lights dimmed and the 22 year old, Julien Baker stepped on stage and didn’t waste any time with an incredible hour plus long set. With the perfect mixture of bangers from the new record and the deep cuts from the old record, Baker mesmerized the crowd.
Seeing her a few times now, I always loved the fact that she is very soft spoken but she has the most powerful voice in today’s music, in my opinion. She even changed up some of the older songs with parts that just hit you right in the gut. Definitely felt something being there, but who am I kidding, that’s always the case every time I watch her perform.
Julien Baker still has a few dates left on her fall/winter tour and you should definitely catch her live show. Don’t be that person and miss out and be bummed.
On a personal note, (and probably something you don’t care about but I’ll say it anyway), this was my last shoot for New Noise Magazine for 2017 and I couldn’t be more stoked to be part of a team that brought me my busiest year so far. I love this family and I am incredibly grateful for everything y’alls do for me. Hope 2018 is gonna be more lit! Lisa, Tyler, Kelley, Tony, Jacki, Alyson, and Sean. Y’all are real MVPs and I love y’all to death!
“Do I turn into light if I burn alive”