Vagabon and her band opened the show in a serious and determined manner. Her slightly course, deep voice was reminiscent of the Cranberries, and she brought the same powerful, yet slightly unpolished tone. Their demeanor was anything but unpolished, performing with the focus and casualness of seasoned professionals. She had the confidence to calmly tune her guitar between songs rather than rambling on with small talk or jokes. In fact, the only time they smiled was after one brief comment thanking everyone for coming early, and a fan boisterously responded “Of course!”
Their music is an intriguing mix of rock, electronic, and even at times hints of gospel and African tones. A sound board looped and layered her voice over the rumbling guitars, drums, and at times electric violin among other electronic sounds. The result was swells of tone and volume gently rising and falling in a euphonious cascade.
Angel Olsen continued the powerful female show. Her band of seven, including a violinist and cellist, were all dressed in black and dramatically entered from the fog and dark with ambient noise greeting them. They created a harmony that rumbled with power and versatility reminiscent of U2. Above their slow, deep, rhythms, Angel Olsen’s voice could expand and whisper in a higher range that sweetly soared. Dynamics, within words, songs, and everything in between, is truly her forte.
Another strength is her jokes between songs. She had a subdued, deadpan humor while maintaining a soft elegance. Her whole show was evocative of a symphony, the many instruments layering and blending with exactitude in a very complex, yet sometimes slow manner. There were times I found myself getting lost in thought, stimulated by the emotion of their music. It is a different experience then some high energy hip hop or rock for example, but an emotional atmosphere that wrapped the place in a lackadaisical sweet fog.
Some songs were especially emotional with her warbling voice conveying the loneliness and sorrow we can all relate to, but usually while tucked away into our own homes rather than in a packed room of people, swaying and appreciating Angel Olsen’s stirring performance together.