Posted in music | pictures on May 14, 2014

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher

Angel Olsen @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - 5/13/14
Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen brought her current tour to NYC last night (5/13) for a show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, her second sold-out show here this year. In between songs, she was in casual mode, cracking little sarcastic jokes with the crowd ("We're gonna do one more," she said after the first song of the set), but when the band was playing there was nothing casual about it. Like I've said before, and as anyone who's seen her likely knows, as Angel's singing she locks into a thousand-yard stare and never lets up, which makes for a very intense show.

Her set was pretty varied between material off her fantastic 2014 album Burn Your Fire For No Witness, songs off its predecessor Half Way Home and other non-album tracks like "Sweet Dreams." The whole thing was great, but the highlight for me came when she ended the show without her band for three solo songs, including the devastating 7-minute "White Fire" off her new album. She was just barely picking her guitar and if anyone in the crowd was talking you'd easily hear them. I'm pretty sure no one was.

When she left the stage after the solo section, the crowd really wanted her to come back. The standard "we're all cheering but she'll obviously do an encore" turned into a synchronized clap from the crowd really trying to get her to do one more. When the lights and house music finally came back on (after the venue milked it for a bit and a band member teased the crowd by kicking open the backstage door) I heard multiple groans and more than one person say they still had hope she'd come back.

Pictures of the show, including Promised Land Sound, who opened with their harmony-laden twang rock and jam band tendencies, are in this post. They continue below...

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Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Promised Land Sound

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen

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Comments (26)

Promised Land Sound are really good.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 11:47 AM

so is Angel Olsen. This was probably a dope show

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 11:58 AM

great show. cute band

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 12:00 PM

11:58 are you confusing her with Marilyn Manson?

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 12:15 PM

yeah, what was up with the lack of encore? that was a bummer.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 12:27 PM

no theory here. actually related to the underground. I have evidence.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 12:46 PM

She was great in spots. Some of the most powerful vocal moments I've ever experienced at a live show. Should reconsider the format and organization of her sets, though.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 12:47 PM

Long time lurker here, but I'll chime in for this one. I was actually expecting BV to rip Angel Olsen to shreds for the performance last night.

I felt there were a lot of problems. First, her backing band needs to be MUCH better and tighter. I have no musical ability whatsoever, but seeing the bassist and drummer perform made me feel like I could casually practice for a few months and become a touring musician.

Her "thousand-yard stare" doesn't seem intense. It looks like she's zoned out, and on autopilot. I thought many times throughout the show that the band looks and sounds like they probably do during a private practice. They weren't into it at all.

By now, I'm pushing 30 years old, and I've seen countless shows over the years, and Angel Olsen easily fits into my Top 5 artists with the worst stage presence. Don't get me wrong, her voice was spot-on, which was great. But the drawn out awkward silence in between songs wasn't because she has social anxiety. It's because she didn't care. There wasn't any genuine effort on her part to connect with her audience, or her music.

The friend I was with needed to leave after about 10 songs, and I had no problem joining him due to the lackluster performance. It was very blah.

Another friend of mine who caught the rest of the performance told me about the encore tease. He felt the same about the show. I'm really grateful I left early. It sounds like the worst way to end a bad performance.

On a final note, I think her records are amazing. Angel Olsen could be "the next big thing" with a few changes, but it honestly doesn't seem like she wants any of it.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 1:05 PM

set list?

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 1:05 PM

lol @ 1:05. show was great. there wasn't really any awkward silence; she spoke to the crowd quite a bit. is her band the best backing band out there? definitely not. but they're not bad. and she sounded fantastic.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 1:09 PM

maybe shes just tired, been on tour for months

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 1:14 PM

maybe 1:05 needs a good Jay St. Station ass-kicking.

Posted by angel's band | May 14, 2014 1:23 PM

Yeah Angel!

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 1:23 PM

i think she should have started with the acoustic solo set. That's her style choice and I'm not her manager, but the energy for the last three songs was just sucked out of the place. Agree with 1:05 about her backing band. Her vocals on Forgiven/Forgotten and another song that is a non-album song will stay with me for a long time.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 1:27 PM

Sorry to say it, but 1:05 is right on. Why Angel Olsen's voice is no longer the center of her live show is a question that should be posed.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 3:07 PM

I saw her last year or the year before at Bowery Ballroom, I think opening for War On Drugs IIRC(?)

She's a beautiful girl, and she has a sweet voice, but the music itself made me want to open a vein and run around the crowd yelling at people. I hope that the songs have improved.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 3:14 PM

Post city boyz have no SHOWOGRAPHY pride. They'll go to anything.

Posted by Mr. Foot Fetish | May 14, 2014 3:26 PM

Not sure what band 1:05 was seeing but Lights Out was extremely tight and really good. Also it's not her style of music to be tooooo tight anyway. I thought Stars sounded better on the record because she may not be sure how to make it come across live because she has to find a way to make her vocals cut through the loud music. Look for 16 bucks it was a great show - you can't expect radio city music hall for that price.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 4:12 PM

Her band was absolutely terrible. The drummer, bassist and guitarist were had no connection texturally to her music. Their playing was so poor and by the numbers it made her sound so flat and lifeless. She has an truly amazing voice and her solo set was a vast improvement over the set with the band but her lack of effort to connect with the audience in his show made it very two dimensional. I love her recorded music and videos of her playing solo but this was a very disappointing show. Maybe it was just an off night of the tour but I would highly recommend skipping seeing her live this tour. A Cat Power train wreck show would be 10x better than this.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 4:53 PM

You can tell just by looking at the photos that 1:05 is, unfortunately, probably pretty accurate.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 4:55 PM

As usual we have a preponderance of mixed opinions and one frantically typing member of the artist's street team just leaving it all on the field, but for a losing team

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 5:28 PM

i agree with 1:05. i love her records but this show was very disappointing.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 11:46 PM

I think the new record sucks. no one should put distortion on that voice.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2014 11:53 PM

she played solo at glasslands last year, and before that with emmett kelly, and both were amazing performances, all intensity. mhow with a douchey hipster band? heh. pass.

Posted by Anonymous | May 15, 2014 12:32 AM

i liked the looseness of her band. it differed from the record and made it interesting.

what i hated, besides the lack of encore, was how her sound engineer left her voice completely dry out front. just a little bit of reverb would have gone a long way. it felt like she was singing at an open mic or something.

also, she's hawking "unfucktheworld" t-shirts and she didn't even play that song? that must have been a conscious decision, but why?

she seemed to have an antagonistic attitude towards the audience. she had a bit of banter about belching when you drink beer and sing, and the crowd didn't react much. she responded with, "...you guys know what belching is, right?" and the silences between her songs were pretty intense. where the entire venue is completely silent, no chatter whatsoever. although, to me, it seems like a respectful act of an audience toward a quiet artist, i can imagine that she felt the audience wasn't liking her, and that's why she cut off the encore, which my guess is when she had slotted to play "unfucktheworld".

i've heard that she's not the nicest person, and that she has a massive chip on her shoulder, but that wasn't wholly apparent during her set last night. my feeling is that she felt she flopped last night, which she kind of did. the set was way too short, and it did not flow at all. the quiet, solo songs should have been placed at the beginning of the set, or they should have been followed with an encore from the band, because although they sounded great, they really sucked the energy from the room.

the album is incredible, and the players on it are excellent, hopefully in the future she can assemble a live band as competent as that one, and hopefully she can get a sound engineer who can properly handle her voice out front, and hopefully she can learn to structure a better setlist, and most importantly, learn to drop her pretensions when she walks on the stage, and realize that her crowds are there because they paid money to be there, they aren't there to detract from her, and when they are silent it's out of respect, not out of boredom. she's new to live shows, and perhaps her MHOW sellout hit her prematurely, but i know her next time out will be much more successful.

Posted by Anonymous | May 15, 2014 12:35 AM

tuner slot

Posted by Anonymous | May 15, 2014 9:11 AM

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