Angel Olsen, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Fri 14 Feb
- Sean Greenhorn
- 17 February 2020
Triumphant and spellbinding evening courtesy of Olsen and her band
It is impressive how Angel Olsen has steadily progressed her sound, whilst never throwing away what made her so unique when she first arrived with Half Way Home. That album surrounded Olsen's powerful voice with haunting folk-rock, and since then she has gone grungier (Burn Your Fire For No Witness), added synths and immaculate guitars (My Women) and has now delivered her grandest statement with All Mirrors, an album laden with sweeping strings and large emotions. To bring the album to life live, Olsen has added a cellist and violinist to her regular band. Tonight, the seven-piece play underneath what looks like a crumbling terrace, accentuating the album's impressive operatic overtones.
They start with the album's title track, and two thirds of the way through, as Olsen's vocals spread on the tension, the first cathartic release of the night happens, and the band onstage build to a true 'wall of sound' moment. These moments are peppered throughout the evening and give the music the extra push it needs to fill a space like the Barrowlands.
The night is mainly culled from All Mirrors, and there are certainly some surprising omissions from the back catalogue, but a stretch of older cuts such as 'Windows' and 'Sweet Dreams' (with its powerful Chris Isaak-esque chorus) satisfy the more devout fans. It is, of course, 'Shut Up Kiss Me', which really should be considered a modern pop-rock classic, that gets the biggest audience sing-a-long of the evening.
Overall the night has a justified air of triumph, and Olsen and her band are on good form, cracking jokes about Valentine's Day and passing round the obligatory bottle of Buckfast. It can be difficult for alternative artists to evolve their sound to match an increased audience, but tonight Angel Olsen showed a masterclass in how to do it without losing what makes her so special in the first place.