Monday, September 19, 2016

Angel Olsen - Alex Cameron -- 9:30 Club - Sep 15 2016

by John Miller
(Ed: apologies for the delay, but I was in Scotland)

Alex Cameron - Strange, minimalist, and weird; all in a good way. He arrives with the least amount of fanfare legally allowed at 930. Accompanied by backing tracks and a lone saxophone, there are uncomfortable moments; almost Kaufman-esque. I can't tell if Alex is in his own world or it’s an act. Roy has built himself such a home in the first three songs, that his saxophone parts feel structurally necessary. Paired with Alex's uncomfortably sex dancing, Roy almost gives the awkward movements legitimacy. It all reminds me of Promise Keeper; an English artist by way of Georgia. Much like Cameron, Promise Keeper leans heavily on backing tracks that evoke a specific place and time. There are additional comparisons to be made; Dolby, Devo, and the like but the sound is uniquely his. While Promise Keeper is earnest and emotional, Alex is an amalgamation of the best parts of the decade; robotic, electronic, poppy, weird, but most importantly, good.

Angel Olsen - There is no surprise, no questioning whether or not the show has started, no unassuming stroll, Angel Olsen makes a proper entrance. The beats, the pauses, the crowd work and their response are more traditional. Backed by five musicians in matching gray suits, Olsen stands out, her fashion, contemporary. It's not my intention to take away from the music by focusing on fashion, but the juxtaposition is interesting. Like the backing band, elements of the compositions are certainly traditional; the harmonies, the drums, pieces. But just that pieces. With each steady rhythm, a sudden burst of mania is soon to follow; elements of loud, soft, loud. Angel’s voice is strong, even as she sings ‘there is nothing new under the sun’; there is an unmistakable confidence in the conviction of her lyrics. The entirety of the set has this undercurrent of nostalgia. It's as much about holding on to the past as it is about moving forward.

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