Angel Olsen played House of Blues – 12/4

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Angel Olsen returned to Boston last week for her biggest local headlining show to date at the House of Blues, with support from psych supergroup Heron Oblivion. 

On the strength of last year’s excellent My Woman, Olsen has experience as meteoric a rise as one can reasonably expect in the world of indie-folk-rock. She spent the summer traversing high-profile spots on the festival circuit, and last week drew a sizable Monday night crowd to a Boston venue about five times the size of the one she was playing just over a year ago. But Olsen’s rising profile has done little to change the core of her breezy performance style. Dressed in a space-age silver suit, Olsen led a relaxed and freewheeling show, replete with in-jokes and wry asides with her five-piece band. The ensemble sounded sublime too, treating the songs with measure and subtlety. They’ve clearly got My Woman‘s various highlights down to a science, but it was the unexpected cuts like the sprawling “Special” (from November’s B-sides and rarities collection Phases) and a gorgeous show-closing take on The Velvet Underground’s “I Found A Reason” that really shined.

Fond as I am of Olsen, openers Heron Oblivion might’ve been the main draw of the evening for me. I’d been kicking myself for missing their Boston Calling after-show with Charles Bradley last year since it happened (and doubly so now, since Bradley is no longer with us). The four-piece group, founded in 2014, features Espers’ Meg Baird, guitarist Charlie Saufley and Comets on Fire alumni Ethan Miller and Noel Van Harmonson cooking up a fusion of heavy pysch and folk-tinged post-rock, and that balance of atmosphere and molten riffs sounded absolutely huge on stage. Much of the set previewed a forthcoming sophomore album, so hopefully the band will grace a more intimate venue in town sometime soon.

See photos from both sets below.