Sunday, September 20, 2015

Live: Angel Olsen vs. Parquet Courts

Angel Olsen, live @ An Club (September 15, 2015)
This was certainly one of the best weeks for live music in Athens in 2015 for discerning indie rock fans, although the combination of pre-election fever and continuing summer temperatures meant that An Club, which hosted both Angel Olsen's and Parquet Courts' shows on Tuesday and Saturday respectively, was only half-full on both nights (or half-empty depending on how you want to see things). It is also possible that, in these difficult times, a 17 euro admission price (or 20 on the doors) means that most indie rock fans cannot afford two gigs in the same week (or even the same month). Whatever the reasons, two of the best new music gigs of this year did not find the audience that they deserved.

For starters, on Tuesday (September 15) Angel Olsen and her band filled An Club with her unique, country and folk influenced, melodic rock songs. Olsen's voice alone is enough to captivate the listener, weaving her intimate tales in a rich tapestry of emotion, but you cannot underestimate the contribution of her band in the final outcome, injecting discreet, slow-burning electricity in most of the songs.

Olsen, who seemed in high spirits, keen to strike conversation with the audience throughout her 80-minute set, presented highlights from last year's excellent "Burn Your Fire For No Witness" LP, including mini-hit "Hi-Five", "Forgiven/Forgotten", "Stars" and "White Fire", but also included material from her lesser known previous work, that certainly deserves a wider audience. 

A great set from an exceptionally talented singer-songwriter who has undoubtedly much more to give in the coming years. The opening of the set came from Mani Deum, a local, folk-influenced, five-piece rock act, who left a good impression and also gained the approval of Olsen who made sure to thank them during her set.

Angel Olsen, live @ An Club (September 15, 2015)
Mani Deum, live @ An Club (September 15, 2015)
Then, on Saturday (September 19), it was the turn of Parquet Courts to play at An Club, the same place where they made their Athens live debut two years ago.

Parquet Courts, live @ An Club (September 19, 2015)
I had finished my review of that show by writing "give them time and I'm certain that this band has the chops to build a set list that will slay from start to finish". Exactly two years down the line and with two more fine albums and several singles under their collective belt, Parquet Courts proved me right. Their nearly 90-minute set was killer from start to finish, with wine-fuelled punk-rock intensity, interspersed with a few, yet crucial, well-placed melodic moments ("Bodies Made Of", "Instant Disassembly", "Dear Ramona", set closer "Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth") that demonstrate their song-writing strength and diversity.

For the most part of their set, though, the pedal was definitely put to the metal, and among the high-octane highlights we enjoyed on this night were "Black and White", "You've Got Me Wonderin' Now", "Sunbathing Animal", "Master of My Craft" and "Borrowed Time".

Despite the relatively low attendance, Parquet Courts didn't hold back and gave us top quality rock 'n' roll, of the "tonight, we dine in hell" variety!  I'm sure that all of us who were there, will remember this night for quite some time! Well done, also, to Nerrves who opened the show with their own brand of noisy, energetic garage-punk.

Parquet Courts, live @ An Club (September 19, 2015)
Nerrves, live @ An Club (September 19, 2015)
Check out below Angel Olsen performing "Stars" and Parquet Courts in "Black and White" from the two equally awesome shows we attended this week at An Club:

Angel Olsen - Stars (live @ An Club, Athens)

Parquet Courts - Black and White (live @ An Club, Athens)

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