Quaint and intimate shows appeal more to me than a huge venue or a festival. There is something about the artist on a small stage crammed into a tiny corner of a small cafe or bar with a hundred people that makes for a better show. Angel Olsen's Friday night show at the Bottletree Cafe in Birmingham, Alabama was just that. The venue was perfect, half bar, half cafe, eclectically decorated with plenty of local beer on tap.
Since we had a long drive in, 90 minutes or so, and not really knowing what Friday night traffic to Birmingham would be like, we arrived just a few minutes before the doors opened at 8pm. And were the first people in the cafe, or so it seemed. We settled in with beers from Good People Brewing and Avondale Brewing, both Birmingham breweries. The opening act, a Southern Rock band from Nashville, The Promised Land Sound, played a quick 5 song set full of perfect harmonies and rock and roll guitars with a few country tinges. Excellent vocals and dynamite guitar playing made their set one to remember, I'm a fan. Their sound was perfect for the small space, barroom music at its best.
Angel Olsen and her band took the stage about 10:15 and settled in for a 13-14 song set. My view from the bar was so good, I didn't move.
Since I am new fan, I didn't know any of her previous work, however, the band ticked off all of my favorites from her excellent album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness. In the small venue, and being so close, I wasn't quite prepared for her stunning voice. While her voice shines on Forgiven/Forgotten and Hi-Five, it truly haunts on the lovely somber affair, Light's Out. And then, Stars took on a vast depth when performed live. There were no misses that night, a phenomenal performance by a talented singer-songwriter.
Angel Olsen is currently touring in support of her album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness. For more information on Angel Olsen, her music, the tour and other bits of information:
To see the rest of my photos from the show: