Angel Olsen Played Brooklyn Steel with Zsela, 11/21/19
Hear the New Album Live
Words and Pictures by Rose Lamela
We gave it a shot and it came through!! A photo pass to cover Angel Olsen. I am a fan, so I was a little more excited than usual to have the opportunity to go see her on one of her three nights at Brooklyn Steel. Brooklyn Steel is also such a great venue to experience a show. It's a nice sized venue, but it still has an intimate setting with great sound. The lighting also meets my needs as a picky photographer.
I have been religiously listening to most of Angel Olson's albums except for her latest release All Mirrors. I gave it a quick listen when it came out. Making the decision to play it on repeat before the show was something I considered. I chose to be more formally introduced to it live. I made a great choice.
I headed out Thursday night to Brooklyn and walked into the photo pit after flashing my much appreciated credentials. Zsela came on stage with an outfit that fit so well with the light show that I wondered if her choice was made on purpose. About a minute into hearing her beautiful vocals, a beeping sound infiltrated her set. At first, I thought it was part of the song until I noticed that she seemed confused by it. She stopped singing and started to question it until we heard security scream, "Everybody needs to head to the exit doors!" The venue was immediately evacuated as the crowd calmly left and went across the street. I was standing next to a couple that told me they got there early to be in front. I felt bad for them but said thank you to the press pass gods as I had a secure spot. We were not out for too long in the mild November night, and when the fire trucks pulled away, the crowd cheered.
When we got back in, I was so excited that Zsela got a second go for the opening act. We were all so happy to get to hear her voice again as it danced along some beats and synth tracks. She did an awesome a capella version of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" that I was rather impressed by.
I briefly had to leave my secure place in the pit, and that is when I got to witness how packed the show was. It was filled to the brim. I wondered how many people got in with no tickets due to the fire drill. When I heard Angel Olsen's voice come through the cheers, I closed my eyes. It was a moment in time when I realized that a live performance makes up for what you can't always feel from a studio album.
If you love the studio version, you need to go witness the full spectrum of feeling the drums in your body and hearing a voice being acoustically grabbed within the walls of a great venue. Hearing her latest album live is why I do what I do. Go to shows. "Lark" was one of my favorites to hear live. Olsen played "All Mirrors" and "New Love Cassette." Most of the setlist was her newer material, but she played some older tunes. She, of course, played "Shut Up Kiss Me," which lives on every playlist I make, and the song "Acrobat." Olsen had a cool connection with her bandmates too. They fooled around by playing pieces of random songs from the 90s until the crowd recognized them and reacted. She even made a comment about someone pulling the fire alarm on purpose so people could get into the show for free. Maybe that was the case. We will never know.
I headed back through the streets of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and through the tunnel to Jersey in a melancholy mood. It was one of those nights where I wanted someone to know how great some of these shows are that I get to go to. In some ways, I think if I keep writing and ranting about live music, you will all start hitting your local venues for some good music. So do it!!