Adrianne Lenker Explains Why Big Thief Haven’t Been Doing Encores

Big Thief are wrapping up an incredible 2019 that has seen them release two of the year’s very best albums, U.F.O.F. and Two Hands with one more round of tour dates. Setlists from their recent shows indicate they haven’t been playing encores. I don’t know if this choice has aggravated some of Big Thief’s fans or what, but for reasons unknown, singer-guitarist Adrianne Lenker has posted a pair of video messages explaining the band’s encores policy.

It’s an exceedingly reasonable policy! “I’m sorry if it bums people out when we don’t do encores or play for a super-long time, but each night we’re writing a new setlist, and we’re actually just playing all the songs that are really on our hearts to play,” Lenker says. Later on she adds, “My feeling is just, like, if you want to come and if you’re enjoying the experience and if there can be some kind of genuine exchange, let’s do it. But we’re definitely not monkeys, and we’ll definitely not ever do things just to adhere to other people’s expectations.”

In the second video, Lenker thanked fans for showing up and contributing to “the warmth that we so often feel at our concerts.” Read the full text of her message below, where you can also watch the videos.

Hello. If ever the band can play an encore wholeheartedly, we’ll do it. And if it doesn’t feel fully in our hearts to stay up there and keep performing, then we won’t. I just want to try and maintain that kind of honesty in the shows. I’m sorry if it bums people out when we don’t do encores or play for a super-long time, but each night we’re writing a new setlist, and we’re actually just playing all the songs that are really on our hearts to play. And I don’t really know how to operate any other way. I don’t really care about getting famous or, like, getting bigger. And I don’t care if I’m playing dive bars for the rest of my life. My feeling is just, like, if you want to come and if you’re enjoying the experience and if there can be some kind of genuine exchange, let’s do it. But we’re definitely not monkeys, and we’ll definitely not ever do things just to adhere to other people’s expectations.

And the one other thing I want to say is that it’s such a gift and a privilege to be able to make music and art and travel through the world and see so many faces and experience so many cultures. And thank you so much for showing up to the shows and listening and helping to create the warmth that we so often feel at our concerts.