SHOWS // Vagabon & Julie Byrne @ The Bootleg

Post by Misha

I haven’t been going to a lot of shows lately. For all the normal reasons I guess – work is busy, parking around venues sucks, I don’t like people all that much. But also because I’ve been putting all of my spare energy into trying to process (whatever the hell that means) an illness and death that has gripped my family for the past two years. It’s an activity which I instinctively, perhaps erroneously, believe is best done in solitude and pain, maybe with a pair of headphones.

One of the many gifts this blog has given me, though, is a slew of daily emails reminding me about the endlessly cool and beautiful things in my city. An invitation to the Vagabon and Julie Byrne show finally got me (albeit reluctantly) out of my house last week and it turns out I needed it.


Julie Byrne’s set was a meditation as much as a performance. The crowd sat on the floor in front of the stage, hanging on her every softly delivered word. By the time she reached the middle of the set – around the tenderly fingerpicked Melting Grid – I felt a calm that had been eluding me wash over and settle in my bones.

In between sets, I ran into some old friends. We caught up. I took photos in the photo booth. I lectured my friend on the importance of ear plugs.

Vagabon finished the night with a powerful and sweet performance that left the room holding a collective breath and wanting more. Though her set was mostly comprised of songs from last year’s Infinite Worlds, there were also new sounds that left me excited for whatever’s coming next. I marveled at how it’s impossible to listen to the conviction in her voice without absorbing some invigoration through osmosis. I realized I hadn’t been sad for almost 45 minutes.


Sometimes you have to take breaks from grief. Music has always been whatever sanctuary I needed it to be. It took me a long time to write those short and inadequate sentences, but I guess that’s all I really wanted to say so I’ll end here: thank you to Julie Byrne and Laetitia Tamko for providing sanctuary at a time when I needed it.

Buy Vagabon’s music here.
Buy Julie Byrne’s music here.


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