Angel Olsen with Vagabon – Live at MTelus – November 18th, 2019 – Montreal, QC

I adore those shows where in between songs, after the applause, the crowd is so chill that you can hear a door shut, or the glasses clinking behind the bar. I know we’re predisposed to think at a live show the crowd is supposed to be raucous and all jived up, artists will often make remarks if the crowd is coming across too calm as if it’s a negative thing, but I truly don’t think that’s the case, most of the time at least. I’d say my biggest take away from this show, outside of the music was how well Angel Olsen seems to understand this concept. She was in total command of the stage all night in every aspect of the performance, balancing confidence and playfulness like no act I’ve ever seen before.

Vagabon

Vagabon was an ideal opening act for Angel Olsen. Commanding vocals by frontwoman Laetitia Tamko ride strong on songs that float between soft intimacy and upbeat dynamism. The band was locked in and Tamko didn’t mince words through a set that mainly introduced us to the latest Self Titled album. The crowd was subdued but attentive as Tamko drifted through “Water Me Down” and “Full Moon In Gemini.” Tamko doesn’t really have any comparables in terms of vocal style and range, if I had to make a stretch, maybe a raspier styled Enya? Enya is probably better comparable in terms of the dreamy electronic moods of both artist’s music. As far as performance, there was nothing mind-blowing, this may be better headphone music anyhow.

While we’re on the subject of unique voices I present you Angel Olsen; powerful and nuanced, the type of voice that forces you to stop whatever you’re doing and drink it in. She hit hard early on with the new album All Mirrors, the first seven songs were from said album, highlighted by the powerful song “Lark,” which has a vintage feel to it, very 50s and plays between hard and soft segments flawlessly. Between songs Olsen was playful with the crowd, poking fun, making jokes and talking as if she were just chilling with us all in her living room. It was such a refreshing experience, especially from an artist whose music is so packed full of emotion and intensity; to see such a light-hearted and carefree sensibility from an artist is something lacking in the indie scene.

Angel Olsen

The second half of Angel Olsen’s set was a much more varied selection of old and new. Olsen’s voice resonated through the entire Mtelus, lifted up higher by the assuredness of her band, that was a classic guitar, bass, drums set up with the addition of strings and Olsen’s keyboards. The band kept it light-hearted between songs as well, flirting with a few bars of Collective Soul’sShine,” adding their own style to it and then dropping it before it got too cheesy. Sipping from her glass of red wine atop the keyboards Olsen broke into “Shut Up Kiss Me” from 2016’s My Woman, arguably her most well-known song, though far from my personal favourite. It’s upbeat, pop appeal had the crowd at its most engaged point throughout the night, perfect timing just as the set was peaking.

The encore ran a bit late, it was well past eleven when I got out of the Mtelus, but I’m not gonna be an old man about it! Angel Olsen could sing into the early hours of the next morning and I’d be content, as much as my tired legs were telling me to soon find a bed. Olsen closed out the night with “Chance” and a cover of Mark Ronson’sTrue Blue” solo acoustic, taking a few moments before ending to giggle a bit and taunt the crowd just one more time.

Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Mike Milito

About Lee Ferguson 108 Articles
What’s there to say about Lee? He is a lifelong Montrealer. He loves to eat in the shower and spend time with his pet Sam the Crow. Most of all, he loves music! Rarely seen without headphones in his ears, he is constantly seeking out new artists and genres, but always falls back on his love for 90’s rock and 80’s pop. Lee has been playing drums for over 15 years in a number of Montreal rock bands and is currently drumming for the alt-rock, punk/grunge-tinged band, Urban Spells. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Concordia University in 2007. So while he’s read just about every Shakespeare play, he promises to never quote any of them in social situations unless, of course, there is an attempted murder of the heir to the throne, then he’ll go all Shakespeare on everybody’s ass.

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