Saturday, September 10, 2016

Angel Olsen and Juliana Barwick at Terminal West, Atlanta, September 9, 2016

Day Two of our five-day stand of great shows in the ATL (Rocktober in September): Angel Olsen at Terminal West, with Juliana Barwick opening.

Today's hexagram is Number 50 of the I Ching, Ding, The Cauldron, which connotes great fortune. We won't dwell on this one much, other than to note that we had been looking forward to seeing Angel Olsen again, and had bought our tickets some time ago in anticipation of the show selling out (it did).

But just a week ago, it was announced that Alex Cameron, the opening act, had been changed to Juliana Barwick, who we were looking forward to seeing October 2 at The Mammal Gallery anyway, so Ding!, a great show just unexpectedly got better. Great fortune, indeed.

Juliana Barwick plays ethereal, heavenly ambient music, looping her voice and keyboards to create layer over layer of dreamy sound.  It's as fascinating watching her create her constructions as it is to listen to the results.

While I have no complaints, Barwick seemed like an odd choice as opener for Angel Olsen, as their music is nothing alike, but my supposition is that Angel just has good taste and wanted someone to open whom she liked.  In any event, it all worked, and Barwick performed a wonderful 35-minute opening set consisting of one near-seamless composition.

Angel Olsen is touring behind her great new album, My Woman, released just a week ago, and last night was apparently the first night of her tour with her new band, who all took the stage dressed in identical western suits with bolo ties (cool).  They've obviously been rehearsing, though, because no glitches or first-night errors were apparent.  Still, at one point Angel told the crowd that she felt anxious about the opening-night performance, especially with her sister in the audience, and her bass player had to tell her to just pause and breathe.  Regardless, the show went off without any apparent glitches.

My Woman features a punchier, more pop/rock-oriented sound than Olsen's previous folk-oriented approach to songwriting, and the album is sequenced such that the more energetic songs are featured up front on the A Side, and the longer, more reflective tracks are towards the end. Olsen also sings in a broader range of styles on the album, and last night, while singing Forgiven/Forgotten from 2014's Burn Your Fire For No Witness, she put an urgent warble in her voice not heard on the record and that sounded similar to the effect that Torres gets from her voice at times.  

Once again, we got to the show early enough to get a front-row spot, although to the far-right end of the stage, so that all our photographs were shot at a distance from Olsen, who lined up at the left-center side of the stage.  Anyway, all my pictures wound up looking grainy and with lots of lens flare from the stage lights, but came out looking much better once run through the Prisma filters.

Including the encore, Olsen's set was almost 90 minutes long,  and included about equal amounts of material from the terrific new My Woman and from her previous albums.

We snagged the set list at the end of the show. FWIW, they didn't get around to the second encore.

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