Gig Review by Olivia Faye Wood with Photography by John Bentley

Angel Olsen, Manchester Academy

Angel Olsen: Gutsy and impassioned. A commanding stage presence.

Angel Olsen, Manchester Academy

After the release of her second full-length album Burn Your Fire For No Witness in 2014 I was hooked by Angel Olsen enchanting vocals and grunge-folk sound. Yet, until hearing Olsen live at Club Academy in Manchester, I hadn’t picked up on the resounding country-folk palette of her voice. Her music, especially the 2016 album MY WOMAN encompasses a wide range of genres, of grunge-rock to folk, with electronic reverb. It is an album which cannot and perhaps should not be pinned down. It reminds audiences not to constrain an artist to a certain genre whilst lyrically reminding us not to constrain a woman to certain social expectations.

Angel Olsen, Manchester Academy

Playing to a sold out venue Olsen opened the set with tracks off the recent album, with my personal favourite, the gutsy Shut Up Kiss Me accompanied by the pounding of the crowd’s feet along to the impassioned chorus. She has a commanding stage presence, humorous yet serious, keeping the audience in constant emotional upheaval. Swinging the mood from tracks such as the dark and slow Windows, full of memories and tinged with melancholy to the tough and grungey Forgiven/Forgotten, inducing the crowd to sing along.

Angel Olsen, Manchester Academy

Her voice is resounding and powerful, it knocked the breath from me, and yet I felt empowered by it, empowered by the honesty of heart-break, the sheer range of emotions that a woman can feel. The band were equally exceptional, fully suited and serious, with the lead guitarist’s talent shining through in Sister.

Angel Olsen, Manchester Academy

With an encore of the opening and penultimate tracks of MY WOMAN the crowd were forced on a final journey. From the low tones of Intern, with lyrics of ‘Still gotta wake up and be someone’ and ‘I’m gonna fall in love and run away’ to the haunting power of Woman ‘I dare you to understand/ What makes me a woman’ Olsen told the tale of growth, of the change from girl to woman. A beautiful way to end a stunning set.

Angel Olsen, Manchester Academy

Support: Little Wings.

Little Wings, Manchester Academy

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