Angel Olsen Captivates First Ave Monday Night


 Angel Olsen has been on a touring grind, in both the US and Europe, hitting just about every festival on the books along the way. She dropped into the First Ave Main Room Monday night supporting her forthcoming release Phases.

Openers Mount Moriah are no strangers to the Twin Cities, and when they came on stage around 8PM, the band received a warm welcome from the crowd.  The alt –country, North Carolina based band launched intoCavander”, the title track off their latest release How To Dance, showcasing Heather McEntire’s angelic voice.  “Baby Blue”, off of How To Dance, had guitarist Jenks Miller weaving searing leads around McEntire’s lyrics. While the set was heavy on tunes from their latest release, they also played a nice mix off of their previous two releases.

Angel Olsen came on right around 9 accompanied by a 5-piece band, including Heather McEntire from Mount Moriah. They opened with “Never Be Mine” off of 2014’s Burn Your Fire With No Witness. With it’s Pixies meets Jefferson Airplane vibe, this shiver inducing, reverb heavy jamfest had the Mainroom crowd completely engrossed. Making a quick left turn, Olsen next sang the happiest song about being lonely, “Hi-5”. If Lyle Lovett and Grace Slick had a love child, it would be Angel Olsen. She is amazingly versatile and covers a lot of territory musically.  She slowed it down for the psychedelically grungy “Heart Shaped Face”. Her voice is both sweet, yet haunting. Familiar yet strange. Awkward yet confident. While some of her songs are dark and melancholy, on stage Olsen is charming and seductive. She seemed elated to be playing for the enthusiastic audience, engaging and cool but not ostentatious. After a bass fell over onstage, she quipped that “Prince was fucking with us”

On this night, Olsen seemed to lean heavily on her year old release My Woman. She closed out the set with the bass heavy, spacey “Woman”, her voice dancing with the bass, daring us to understand what makes her a woman. Olsen’s plaintive wails and the band’s screaming guitar seemed to reverberate in the Mainroom long after the everyone left the stage.

After a short break, Angel and the band came back on for a 2 song encore. Up first off of the EP Sixteen Tambourines was the rocker “Sweet Dreams”, this version extending the jams twice as long as the studio cut. She closed the show with “Windows”, a soothing balm for these troubled times.

 Olsen’s wise beyond her years’ lyrics and smoldering voice created a churchlike, spiritual experience. She creates her own landscapes that will remain with those in attendance at the Mainroom Monday night for some time.

Set List: Never Be Mine – Hi-Five – Shut Up And Kiss Me – Give It Up – Not Going To Kill You – Heart Shaped Face – Acrobat – Sister – Those Were The Days – Special – Woman  Encore: Sweet Dreams – Windows