I may have mentioned this before, but I don’t really feel right doing a standard concert review. Describing the song list and the crowd’s reactions step by step feels pretty insincere. Plus, I am not going to concerts making notes like some sort of hipster journalist. My goal is to enjoy the show, and see what comes out later when I am going through my experiences in front of my computer.
Angel Olsen: I am pretty sure I saw her hanging in the crowd most of the night before she got on stage, just hanging with the normies. Not that Little Italy’s Il Motore has a backstage, I don’t think, still one could go hide in their tour van until lights on.
So she was hanging in the crowd and so was I but obviously I didn’t go say hello. I went to the show alone, as I do from time to time. Going out alone: what is it about this either being sometimes kind of cool, but other times, a complete disaster? Last weekend I went alone to some private party in a restaurant (a friend said he might be there). Turned out I didn’t know anybody while everybody there seemed to be on amazingly intimate terms with everybody else. I failed as a social being, nursed two beers with two smokes in between, trying not to stare at any one individual for too long, but also to keep my eyes from flinging around like I was searching for the best place to hide a secret dungeon trap door. It was a Saturday night and I would have been able to catch the end of SNL when I got home.
I guess one could be more comfortable being alone at a concert because most everybody is staring in the same direction and few people need to be in constant conversation during the show. Facing the stage, we all relinquish feeling special for the night. But that’s not all. I bet more than half the reviews of Angel Olsen’s performances champion the word “Intimate.” There it is, maybe, a reason you’re not alone in the crowd while she sweetly unrolls her melodious stories. She has a voice that tricks you to step closer with a promising whisper, before turning a high note and blowing you away. Even her band doesn’t so much as play their instruments as caress and fondle them. Everything about her singing and stage presence begs this realization: that anybody could be completely alone in the feeling of her music. But it’s not loneliness, it’s a matter of feeling special.