Angel Olsen played House of Blues – 12/4
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.