Angel Olsen kicks off her winter tour in Atlanta, marking the indie icon's first show in the city in nearly four years.
Out on the road in support of her latest album, Big Time, Angel Olsen continues to prove why she is one of the premier songwriters and performers in America. With a recent pivot from dreamier sounds into those of Americana and bluegrass adjacent genres, Angel has been looking to reinvent herself and broaden her horizons. This tour, alongside her band, The Big Time Band, showcases a rejuvenated Olsen ready to conquer the road ahead.
Singer/songwriter Erin Rae opened up the stage for Olsen and company. Alone on stage, just her and her guitar, Erin captured the sound of dreamy Americana-twinged pop of decades lost. Folky and light, Rae has a knack for the old-school, and doesn't shy away from her country roots. Her song "Bad Mind" was a standout in songwriting, following her complex relationship with growing up in the Bible Belt and the consequences of the region. With one foot hailing from Alabama and a record deal with one of the state's finest independent labels, Single Lock Records, she is a must listen for any Alabamian with a love for acoustic guitar and stellar writing.
This show was beautiful. Angel Olsen has a way at capturing listeners in a way that is hard to emulate. Poetic lyrics laced over a combination of 70s sounding soft-rock, Americana, and indie rock created a dazzling atmosphere. Olsen was as candid as could be, with her charmingly sweet (with just a hit of snark) personality on full display. Her interaction with fans, found between almost every song, was incredibly wholesome, adding a raw and real element to the show. Between the idle chit-chat and lighter music, this show felt incredibly intimate and personal, often feeling more like an oversized coffee house than a multi-tiered theatre.
There was a softness that seemed to wisp through the air with Olsen's voice, ever so slightly out of reach, drawing the listener in. Olsen is an incredible singer, with a theatre like The Eastern being the best place to hear her, and without the proper acoustics her talent would be wasted. From gentle whispers in your ear to surging howls, Olsen had full control of her expansive range. Songs like "Sisters" see this dynamic at its fullest, with the long, drawn out swell building up to Olsen's powerful punches. Angel made it seem so effortless, almost taunting the audience with how easily she could roar to life. Angel Olsen might just be one of the most overlooked vocalists of the modern era.
The ensemble backing Olsen, The Big Time Band, delivered on every front. In addition to the fairly standard selection of guitar, bass, drums, and keys, the band also sported a string section. Violin and cello worked in concert to add an elegant layer of suspension, sonic depth to the arrangements, and helped reel the listener in with their ever appealing allure. Percussion was scaled back, but always noticed. A tactical approach, Olsen’s drummer seemed to effortlessly tap at each piece of his instrument to create a strong percussive base that never overwhelmed. The bass guitar was driving, often pushing the song forward with its rhythmic grooves, but keeping in theme with the rest of the composition. Some tasteful synthesizer and mildly distorted guitar flared out some dreamier soundscapes. "All The Good Times" was possibly the best example of The Big Time Band's prowess, showcasing both their raw talent and even sprinkling in some xylophone for good measure.
In what might have been the boldest choice for a single song encore I have ever witnessed, Angel Olsen and The Big Time Band returned to the stage to cover "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton. Not only does this song have one version by a legendary singer ingrained into popular culture, it has two in Whitney Houston's rendition. To come back out on stage and stage toe-to-toe with two of the greatest vocalists in history and succeed is easily the highlight of the night. Olsen knew what she was doing with this cover, her voice couldn't have been any better than it was in this moment. Her raw emotive ability was astonishing, packing a punch in her delivery with every line. Drawing on elements of both famous renditions, Olsen also managed to put her own spin on the song that helped solidify this performance as something to be remembered
1. Dream Thing
2. Big Time
3. Ghost On
4. Right Now
5. Shut Up Kiss Me
6. Give It Up
7. All Mirrors
9. Through the Fires
10. Go Home
11. This Is How It Works
12. All the Good Times
14. Those Were the Days
16. I Will Always Love You (Dolly Parton cover)
Angel has a long road ahead of her this year. Olsen's 2023 is already packed through March, with the rest of the year quickly filling up. Her tour sees her run across the eastern half of the United States before hopping over across the globe to Australia for a two week endeavor of headline shows and festivals. Angel Olsen's full tour dates are below.
1/21 New Orleans, LA — The Joy Theater*
1/23 San Antonio, TX — Tobin Center For The Performing Arts*
1/24 Dallas, TX — The Studio at The Factory*
1/25 Oklahoma City, OK — Tower Theatre*
1/27 Lawrence, KS — Liberty Hall*
1/28 Chesterfield, MO — The Factory*
1/29 Bloomington, IN — The Bluebird*
1/31 Columbus, OH — The Anthenaeum Theatre*
2/01 Detroit, MI — The Majestic Theatre*
2/02 Cleveland, OH — Agora Theatre and Ballroom*
2/03 Millvale, PA — Mr. Small's Theatre*
2/04 Buffalo, NY — Asbury Hall*
2/06 Jersey City, NJ — White Eagle Hall* (SOLD OUT)
2/07 New Haven, CT — College Street Music Hall*
2/08 Woodstock, NY — Bearsville Theater* (SOLD OUT)
2/09 Baltimore, MD — Baltimore Soundstage*
2/10 Richmond, VA — The National*
2/11 Durham, NC — The Carolina Theatre* (SOLD OUT)
2/24 Castlemaine, AU — Theatre Royal
2/25 Hobart, AU — Mona Foma
3/01 Southbank, AU — Melbourne Recital Centre
3/03 Southbank, AU — Melbourne Recital Centre
3/04 Brisbane, AU — Nine Lives Festival 2023
3/06 Sydney, AU — Sydney Opera House
3/07-08 Perth, AU — Perth Music Festival 2023
3/10 Bruinswick, AU — Bruinswick Ballroom
3/11 Meredith, AU — Golden Plains Festival 2023
3/13 Adelaide, AU — WOMADelaide 2023
4/15-16 Noorth Charlelston, SC — High Water Festival 2023
5/3 Morrison, CO — Red Rocks Amphitheatre^
7/7 Madrid, ES — Mad Cool Festival 2023
7/8 Lisbon, PT Nos — Alive Festival 2023
8/05 Saint Chales, IA — Hinterland Music Festival 2023
* with Erin Rae
^ supporting Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
This show was jaw-dropping. I personally went into this show not knowing many of Olsen's songs, but the way Angel and The Big Time Band crafted their sounds made that fact irrelevant. From start to finish, the best way to describe this show is beautiful; beautiful vocals, beautiful instrumentation, and beautiful songs. For fans of anything straddling indie or Americana, this show is absolutely for you. Fans of Waxahatchee, Japanese Breakfast, and Julien Baker, this show is for you. If you are a music fan, this show is for you.