KOKO – 17th October
When ‘Shut Up And Kiss Me’ reached peak pandemic status on playlists earlier this year commercial radio had momentarily atoned. The aural equivalent of an intravenous triple espresso, the song was a wake up call to all the floppy-haired double denim indie chancers who pine for a place in the annals of Pitchfork’s ‘Best New Music’ column. Seated on the blistering LP My Woman, it was a taste of the kind of songwriter her new album proves she is: a thrillingly contemporary rock and roll performer.
To some extent she already knows this. Flanking her tonight are her band – all impeccably dressed and looking like they got lost on the way to The Ed Sullivan Showcirca 1956. Strip away the modern production values and Angel’s latest output is really old time R&B. Her great natural voice and melodic approach are refreshing anachronisms in an age of autotune and obsessive multi-tracking.
More so than any other instrument, it’s her voice that fills up KOKO tonight. Full-bodied and full of warm mid range, in a live setting it generates more ambience than any rack-mounted effects unit. The likes of ‘Shut Up And Kiss Me’ and ‘Forgiven/Forgotten’ are both heartfelt and urgent and her mid-set rendition of ‘Sister’ creates a genuine lump-in-the-throat moment. At one point she even gets philosophical: “I’m still learning about myself,” she informs us only half-jokingly. “I only know about myself through you… That’s so heavy ain’t it? It’s kinda fucked up.” If the crowd’s enraptured silence throughout the set is anything to go by, Olsen should feel very secure in her chosen career path.