Show Review: Angel Olsen @ The Mohawk (02/07)

Angel Olsen brought the hype to Austin– selling out not only one, but two nights at the Mohawk. With her entourage, she touring act Chris Cohen, coordinated suits and matching bolo ties, and the overall trappings of a lovely evening. Read on after the jump to hear my thoughts on how the night unfolded.

The night got off to a good, yet very mellow set from Chris Cohen and company. He started in on his soft rock, borderline jazzy tunes andstayed in this comfort zone for the whole set. While the music sounded good, there wasn’t a whole lot of energy from the band– everyone pretty much dialed it in for the duration of the thirty minute set, which left the crowd less than enthralled. An easily oversold night at the Mohawk made it hard to even really hear the opening band at all; show talkers were at an all time high on Tuesday night. I’m still a fan of Cohen and his easy listening tunes, but they’ve got to bring a bit more energy to an opening set if they’re going to gain new fans.

Angel Olsen took the stage on time to a packed house– and I mean literally packed; there was no moving at all without bumping into someone else and even if you weren’t moving in your square foot of space every five minutes the next loud, drunk, asshole would ram into your back to push past you to the front, which makes me question why this show wasn’t moved to a bigger venue. Regardless of a shitty crowd Angel Olsen and her band brought their magic and made everything better. Olsen’s vocals were perfect from start to finish of the set and the endless backing vocals were the perfect polish to the sound.

She fired through hit after hit of her catalogue, mostly from the blazing and beautiful My Woman of last year, but she also brought out some tracks from Burn You Fire For No Witness and ended the night with a cover from The Motels. Between the graceful and sometimes edgy renditions of her songs, Olsen was as charming as her music and her band matched this aesthetic; gracious, kind sincere. The band, decked out in powder blue matching suits and bolo ties, were as invested as their front woman, not just playing through each track, but watching Olsen and following her lead with great energy and excitement.

The whole night was a great spectacle– a buzzing artist showing just exactly why she is making waves in the music world and the crowd lapping up track after track. They played a full set and then returned to the stage for a three track encore, which was exactly what an encore should be; the perfect ending to an excellent night. We got to hear “Intern,” which the band made even more fuzzy and loud in the live setting. They followed this with my highlight of the night, “Woman,” which completely blew me away. This track, while excellent on the record, took on a whole new energy in person. The steady build on the recording was executed flawlessly, climaxing with Olsen belting “I dare you to understand what makes me a woman.” This powerful moment was just but one of the night, and solidified Angel Olsen as a gale force act to be reckoned with. I look forward to seeing just where she’ll go on her next album. If you haven’t spent some time with My Woman, it’s time you figured out what all the hype is for.

 

Special thanks to Olsen’s tour manager Timm Donohue for dealing with a door list disaster like the pro that he is.

 

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