Angel Olsen – Whelans – Gig Review – 6-6-14
Having released one of the albums of the year in the shape of ‘Burn your fire for no Witness’ there was an air of expectation in Whelans last night. It was just about the only air in the venue on what was a stifling evening, with a lot of body heat packed into the small space. There was a nice number of musicians in the audience, which always makes you feel you’ve chosen the right place to be. Angel and her band came on stage a little after nine thirty. They were a four piece on the night, a fairly regular arrangement of two guitarist, bass and drums. There was some slide guitar for songs with a country twinge, but otherwise this was your standard four piece.
Angel greeted the audience with an offhanded ‘Hi’ before ploughing into her music. There was not much audience participation during the evening (#bantz). We were thrown the odd line here and there, ‘This next song is ironic’ we were told at one point, and we were thanked for paying attention to the 12 mintue solo version of White Fire/ Enemy at the end of the evening. She accomplished the rare feat of keeping the bar quiet on a Friday night, and there was a spell binding air to what she did.
“Everything is tragic
It all just falls apart
But when I look into your eyes
It pieces up my heart” – White Fire
The audience were faced with a icy stare from Angel which few were capable of matching. It’s a stage show that relies heavily on her talent, as her personality is rarely shown. It’s like a trance she refuses to break. Stand out tracks included Acrobat, the upbeat number Hi-Five and the sprawling version of White Fire. At times her voice was stunning, it can vary between shrill and delicate in an instant and can change the mood of a room. Even after the release of her third album, she’s an artist at the start of her career who could really achieve any level of success. It will be fascinating to watch her evolve.
Support on the night came from Somerville and Jaye Bartell. Somerville is a singer songwriter from Connemara with a lovely voice, simple guitar sounds and some ominous rumblings from her Macbook. Jaye Bartell was the second support on the night, and played more intricate guitar sounds along with his own baritone voice, which reminded me of Calvin Johnson. A gentle introduction before the main event.