An Intimate Night with Angel Olsen

Vortex Music Magazine

As part of her Tiny Dreams solo tour, singer-songwriter Angel Olsen made a stop at Portland’s Newmark Theatre for an intimate two-night run alongside Hand Habits.

On the second night of Angel Olsen’s Newmark run, a full crowd filled the seats in anticipation of a unique performance from one of indie rock’s most well-loved songwriters. Her Tiny Dreams solo tour comes on the heels of Olsen’s compilation record, Phases, a collection of B-sides and rarities spanning her career. The tour itself expands on this exploration, with Olsen taking center stage without a backing band to explore the lesser-known pockets of her discography, and to revisit tracks that didn’t get quite the attention they deserved at the time of their release.

This tour was meant for Olsen’s truest fans, a place for her to share special moments with a small crowd. The vibe for the night was evident in the opening set as well, when Los Angeles-based songwriter Meg Duffy took the stage in the same vein, just her and a guitar, to share new music from her project, Hand Habits.

Hand HabitsHand HabitsDuffy’s ability with lyricism and showcasing emotion through her voice and work on guitar was exceptional. It was an especially meaningful place for her to play new material off her forthcoming new record, because, Duffy told the audience, much of it was recorded in Portland.

Throughout her set, Duffy let her personality shine through with her connection to the crowd, making small talk in between songs, joking around and telling short anecdotes.

Duffy wasn’t the only one to take the stage in such a casual and humorous manner. Angel Olsen herself displayed the same in her headline set. From the first moment, coming on stage to find her guitar was out of tune, Olsen casually chatted and joked with the crowd as she went about tuning and preparing for her hour-long set.

Once all was well, she launched into a unique cover of the Everly Brothers’ “Since You Broke My Heart,” and continued into a standout cut from Phases, “Sans.” For her headline set, Olsen continued to showcase her strong songwriting outside of the well-known tracks in her discography, and she treated the crowd to some songs that even the most dedicated of fans may not have known.

And just as with Duffy's beforehand, the casual intimacy of the night was not lost. Olsen continued to joke, chat and be 100% herself in front of the tightly packed venue. Through a showcase of strong songwriting and guitar work, Olsen managed to make her two-night stay at the Newmark Theatre feel like an intimate gathering of friends, joking around and playing music in the most casual of manners. For any fans that got to be witness, Angel Olsen’s solo tour was a treat.

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