Live Review/Angel Olsen @ SWX


By Francesca Frankis, Music Editor

Wrapping up the last few nights of her European tour, Angel Olsen played a Bristol show full of powerful ballads from her latest album - fleshed out with moments of epic introspection and reminders of her musical past.

At the age of 33 Angel Olsen pretty has pretty much mastered the art of self conviction - her most recent studio album All Mirrors is a record of sonic proportions, carving out the experience of loss over spectacular string arrangements, and without question the album also marked a departure from her indie singer-songwriter past. Unsurprisingly, through the release of her five superb albums over the years, she's cultivated a mass following of fans and critics alike.

Olsen and her six piece band hang out below below a cover of smoke and single spotlight at a sold out SWX - as if her music wasn't theatrical enough, the set up of the performance only adds to the cinematic epic-ness of it all. The moody strings of ‘All Mirrors’ gloss over the crowd and plunge everyone into some kind of inexorable emotional void that loomed throughout the night.

Photo: Guy Marcham/Epigram

She hops neatly between lighthearted interactions with the crowd, to belting out epic introspective ballads like ‘Lark’ without hesitation. At moments her live voice is reminiscent of Stevie Nicks and there is a vibrato in her voice that is nothing short of extraordinary. Indeed, Olsen can read a crowd well and she softens up the set-list when needed by weaving in less gloomy numbers such as ‘Forgiven/Forgotten’ and ‘Shut up kiss me’ - crunchy guitars and hefty drum parts lay her folky indie-rock past out bare, and everyone loves it.

It’s a rare feat that an artist can transpose the sound of a record faultlessly into live performance, but Angel Olsen reaffirmed the sheer greatness of All Mirrors and the rest of her work into a visceral show that was fleshed out with ease, elegance and flair.

Featured Image:Guy Marcham/Epigram