Angel Olsen first caught my attention a few months ago with her breakout single, Shut Up Kiss Me Hold Me Tight, but the track comes years after her start. After falling in love with the single, listening to it more times than one should have, and screaming louder than anyone should, the craving for more set in.
Step past the addicting track, Olsen has a plethora of mesmerizing songs held together in the form of (at the time) two albums at an EP. Recently adding a third album, My Woman, to her triumph, Olsen is artist who doesn’t need to prove she’s a one hit wonder.
Staring into the crowd at Lee’s Palace, Olsen commands their attention with her guitar and smirk. The third song in, she plays her most known track, Shut up Kiss Me Hold Me Tight, with a slight boredom, which the dancing, sining crowd doesn’t seem to notice. They’re in a trance that one woman and her guitar induced on a the sold-out show from the first song in.
“Alright, now that’s out of the way,” Olsen said, as the song finishes. She tunes her guitar and almost everyone wakes from their slight trance for a moment before the next song begins. The rest of the evening is spent alternating between old and new, slow and fast tunes at just the right pace. There is a slight quirky humour, all singer-songwriters need to posses during live shows to keep the mood of heavy songs from being too overwhelming.
If Angel Olsen is stopping by your part of town make sure to get tickets (if they’re not already sold-out) and see for yourself why everyone is in love with her.
Sultry swaying against the guitar plastered to her side and a few breathy lyrics later, Jen Wasner works the audience into a frenzy. Andy Stack is stage right prodding the beat along from his drumset gleaming under the bright lights coating the otherwise black stage. The two don’t hide behind lighting to set the mood, brightness consumes them as the contrasting sultry music tangles from one song to the next.The song, Better (for Esther), begins. If you were going to love a song by Wye Oak, this is it. Guitar is plucked alongside soft beating drums, Wasner confesses to the room softly, each word drowning in another. The crowd watches in silence, most stuck in a trance that is fascinating to see; rows of adoring eyes with lovestruck faces are directed at the stage. Then the guitar shreds, Wasner’s head falls back as her fingers work the thin stings. It doesn’t seem as if the sound is coming from watching someone play so softly. Yet, her fingers don’t stop until the crowd is fully under the band’s spell. The solo ends and the soft hymns begin again. The rest of their set doesn’t matter because whatever magic they have is worked into that performance is what you’re going to remember.
The duo, Stack and Wasner are an American indie rock band, but their latest album, Tween, touches more on the realm of dream-pop. The surprising treat of the two is that unlike many dreampop bands, they don’t loose themselves in the genre by sounding oddly similar to every other band. Being bias for ultimatly feeling underwhelmed by most bands in such a tricky genre to succeed in, especially live, Wasner and Stack have a chemistry that translates into their music and performance. A fan or not, you can appreciate them for mastering their sound and knowing how to command a room.
If you haven’t discovered Coleman Hell, you should probably Google him right now. With his debut single, 2 Heads, released earlier this year, turning into a massive hit, the 26-year-old has been thrown into stardom. His music is featured consistently in the end of year lists as well as “one’s to watch in 2016”. He’s already signed on to perform some major festivals in 2016, Firefly and Hangout, so like it or not you’ll be seeing him around.
Finishing off the year with a show a little closer to home Hell took place in The Edge’s Jingle Bell Concert Series which featured artists like Wolf Alice, Whitehorse and Cairo earlier this month. The show took place at Lee’s Palace in front of a filled room of fans ready to take everything he gave.
The performer is truly talented. Past the quirky music and style, he’s just simply a well-rounded performer. The single not only can throw a few moves, but he loves the crowd and the crowd loves him. Catchy hooks, a great voice and a vibe that isn’t like any other, Hell has the it factor that makes him stick out from other performers. There is a truthful sense to him that makes him appealing as a person through his glamourized music.