Angel Olsen showcases newest album, performs for first time in city

Angel Olsen descended on Feb. 4 at Republic New Orleans for her first show in the city. She was accompanied by Los Angeles-based artist Chris Cohen.

Cohen and his band opened the show with slow, chill indie rock, reminiscent of coffee-shop music. The set was calm aside from a few incidents involving spotlights on the audience, which caused people to stop dancing out of embarrassment. The band’s stage presence was lacking and did not seem to leave a strong impression on the audience.

The audience perked up, however, as soon as Olsen came out basked in fuchsia light – a motif throughout her set. She kicked off with “Never Be Mine” from her third full-length album “My Woman,” which the tour is promoting.

Olsen’s set mixed in some old hits like “Hi-Five” but mainly stuck to her new songs. The audience sang along as she belted her hit singles from the album, including “Shut Up Kiss Me” and “Give It Up.”

All the band members wore matching, gender-neutral powder blue suits with bolo ties. To the audience’s delight, bassist Emily Elhaj revealed that she is originally from New Orleans. Over the course of the night, audience interacted often with the band, frequently chiming in with compliments and adoration.

Olsen’s love for her work was obvious through her stage presence. Her signature short, choppy bangs glowed under beams of blue, green and fuchsia, providing a warm and cohesive look to the set. This only added to the already-homey feeling of the Republic.

Olsen’s encore was a highlight of the show, as she performed a slowed-down rendition of “Intern,” playing the synthesizer herself, with just keyboard and guitar accompanying her. She slowed down “Woman,” as well and ended the show on a surprising note: a cover of “Total Control” by The Motels, which displayed her mastery of more-energized glam pop.

Despite a fairly forgettable opener and a few lighting incidents that left the audience uncomfortable and exposed, Olsen put on a lovely show. The lighting displays highlighted Olsen and her band’s outfits and the audience participation made the concert feel comfortable and intimate.

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