Julien Baker headlines Oakland’s Fox Theater

On Saturday November 6th, Julien Baker was back in the Bay Area, after a surprise opening set with Boygenius bandmate and friend Phoebe Bridgers a mere few weeks ago at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. Tonight’s occasion was for the Little Oblivions Tour in honor of Baker’s new full-length album of the same name. Baker’s third studio album, Little Oblivions, is quite different from her first two releases, departing from her signature acoustic sound and bringing a full electric band feel to it, including drums, bass, keyboards and more (which, as Matador Records states, Baker performs nearly all instruments on).

For the tour, however, Julien Baker brought a full band to bring it all to life for the audience.

But first, Los Angeles indie rock band illuminati hotties kicked off the show. Band leader Sarah Tudzin describes her sound as “tenderpunk”, which I find so fitting. With punchy guitar and bass lines, plus Tudzin’s fun colorful lyrics, it was impossible to not want to dance and sing along. Check out their song “Pool Hopping” off their new album Let Me Do One More

Next up, before Julien Baker, was three-piece indie rock band from Chicago, DEHD (pronounced: dead). Don’t let this band being a three-piece fool you — they exploded on the stage with so much energy! Emily Kempf and Jason Balla’s harmonies and connection was amazing and you could tell they really love and enjoy what they do. Balla, on guitar, was kind of like watching those skydancer/tube men that dance in the wind at car dealerships; he was absolutely ripping on the guitar with so much style. Speaking of style, lead singer Emily Kempf’s one-of-a-kind bright blue suit was stunning. My favorite song from the set was “No Time” off their 2020 album, Flower of Devotion. DEHD has this really cool old-school punk sound to them, with a surf rock feel. Many have described DEHD to sound like The B-52’s and, honestly, that is not far off at all. They’re a super fun band with lots of attitude you should definitely keep your eyes on. 

Finally, for the grand finalé everyone was waiting for, Julien Baker! Along with a full band, Baker started with her signature fender Telecaster and opened with songs “Hardline”, “Bloodshot” and “Shadowboxing”. Even with full band and audience singing along, Baker’s somber vocals were the highlight of the evening, especially with Fox Theater’s high ceilings allowing amazing acoustics. Similar to her Boygenius bandmates, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, Baker’s songwriting captures emotional, vulnerable moments that not many artists sing or share about. I believe this is why their fan bases are so devoted and dedicated; at their shows, you can feel a sort of connectedness between everybody. The set consisted entirely of songs off the new album except for “Crying Wolf”, which made time to play earlier hits like “Sprained Ankle”, “Something”, “Appointments” and “Turn Out The Lights”. For the encore, Baker played “Everybody Does” and “Ziptie”. All in all, it was a great night of music! The tour is currently on its last leg, but if you happen to catch a show, I highly recommend it and do not think you’ll be disappointed.

Photography by Katey Schoenberger

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