Angel Olsen at the Cedar Cultural Center, 5/1/14

Categories: Last Night

Angel Olsen
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
Thursday, May 1, 2014

It was a cool, calm May Day last night at the Cedar. The room filled up for a near-capacity welcome for the latest indie darling, singer/songwriter, Angel Olsen's debut in the Twin Cities.

The energy of anticipation was as palatable as the light mist that lit up the West Bank for Olsen, who's been traversing the globe with two delicious LPs under her belt. Having managed to strike a chord with listeners that has shot her into the spotlight, her considerable local radio impact is a testament to her original songs that veer on the personal, intimate and reflective.

"Together I can't let go," she sang in her trademark quiver, filling the room with pleasant energy for first song, "Free." Her three-piece band steadily found a groove, and the unassuming Olsen immediately incited a wave of sweet grins and gentle swaying in the crowd.

Unfortunately, a stage monitor snafu caused everything to come to a screeching halt giving Olsen an opportunity to address the audience, "Hey, Happy May Day. I think I might just finish my wine as our new friend, Eric here handles things." As Eric the sound man and Olsen's lead guitarist worked things out with the sound system she kicked into "Hi-Five," maintaining the momentum she had going as the audience in gratitude followed her lead, singing along.

Photo by Kate Murray

Warmed up, Olsen commanded the stage, her lilting vocals alternating between confident and vulnerable. Watching several couples canoodling during "Acrobat," it became most evident how the universal themes in her songs work in a live setting. Throughout the evening, those delighted by her songs mouthed along in varying states of ecstasy. It often caused Olsen to smile and wink at those that would catch her eye.

The band's duel guitars gave a hypnotic, almost psychedelic wash of sound during "High and Wild" and a lush bed for Olsen's voice. With the chugging rhythm of her drummer and bassist, the song was a turning point, and one of the few less subdued moments during the set.

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