Julien Baker is an ambient/indie folk artist from Memphis, Tennessee. She’s attracted much attention for her openness about being a queer Christian raised in the South. Baker presents herself as a reserved and thoughtful individual. She had a distinct and compelling stage presence, with a soft, easy listening voice, which she blessed the audience with on Oct. 21 at the Cedar Cultural Center.
The opening bands, Petal and Half Waif, set the tone by playing raw and ambient music to warm up the crowd. Baker opened with her new and incredibly moving single, “Appointments.” She played a mix of old songs from her sensational debut album, “Sprained Ankle,” which landed her on top of the 2015 end-of-the-year lists, and songs from her recent album, “Turn Out The Lights.” Occasionally accompanied by a violinist, Julien played many of her popular songs like “Funeral Pyre,” “Something,” “Everybody Does,” and ended the night with “Backtop.”
The show was quite intimate. Soft yellow lights, paired with her honest and personal lyrics, created a temporary community within the concert space. Baker often took time to address and laugh with the audience while she tuned and set up for her next song. She continuously expressed her gratitude, saying, “I’m so blessed that of all the places you guys chose to be tonight, you chose to be here. That’s something I don’t take lightly.”
The last few songs of Baker’s set were accompanied by the soft sound of falling rain. The attentive audience found it hard to look away because of her strong stage presence and captivating voice.