Review: Angel Olsen live in New Orleans

Singer-songwriter and musical goddess, Angel Olsen, blessed adoring fans in New Orleans with a live show on Saturday, February 4, 2017. After three months of touring at the tail end of 2016, Olsen extended the My Woman tour into 2017, with the sold-out show at Republic being her second stop in the new year. She also invited Deerhoof’s Chris Cohen to join and open with his newest solo work.

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While Cohen’s set can be best described as pleasant, it was hard to enjoy due to Republic’s ridiculous AC settings. Being 53 degrees outside, it seemed unreasonable to have cold air blowing full-blast inside the venue. Many audience members around me on the upstairs balcony audibly complained about the uncomfortable temperature. Finally, after being argued with on twitter, the venue employees adjusted the temp in between Cohen’s and Olsen’s sets, allowing us to actually be able to enjoy what we paid to see.

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Still from live performance at Le Guess Who?

Visually, the band was stunning. Olsen’s two guitarists, bassist, drummer, and keyboardist/backing vocalist were dressed in blue three-piece suits, complete with black bolo ties and brown leather oxfords. While Olsen’s earlier work is often described as “lonely folk,” and her breakout album Burn Your Fire for No Witness was an exploration into alternative rock ‘n roll, her most recent My Woman had subtle country influences that I myself didn’t completely pick up on. But with the band’s western aesthetic and Olsen’s voice alluding to Dolly Parton at times, her ode to classic country was now hard to miss.

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Still from performance on Late Show with Stephen Colbert

The set list consisted mostly of tracks from My Woman, but included some fan favorites from Burn Your Fire. The show was a mixture of intimate moments with Olsen’s angelic voice and energetic eruptions from every corner of the stage. Like any respectable front woman should, Olsen gave credit to each talented band member. Other than Olsen herself, my favorite performer was the keyboardist/backing vocalist (whose name I could not hear nor find online). Her distant, haunting screams and harmonies were key to creating the mood for many of the songs. Together, the band performed a 13-track set with a three-track encore, closing with a cover from The Motels.

Other than Republic’s irresponsible energy use, the only complaint I had was the crowd. Being a sold-out show, it’s understandable that you’re going to have very little room, but some people just have no audience etiquette. One gentleman in particular had zero regard for my personal space and boundaries, as he and his girlfriend bullied their way through the crowd and made camp right behind me.  Throughout the show I had to deal with his body touching my body, his hair whipping on the back of my head, and his incessant shouting in my ear. At one point, he (presumably) meant to touch his girlfriend’s shoulders, but touched mine instead after a very moving track. All I could do was awkwardly laugh at how fucking weird I felt.By all means, please rock out and have a good time, but don’t impede on my experience by taking up more space than should be allotted to you. As a woman, attending live shows can be both invigorating and infuriating, thrilling and terrifying. But that’s a seperate think-piece for another day.

Regardless of some of the unpleasantries, Angel Olsen put on a damn good show and I was happy to be there. I even stopped by the merch table on my way out to grab a vinyl and a tee for an incredibly affordable price! Thanks Angel Olsen for giving me a night to remember and further inspiration to Unfucktheworld.

 

 

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