Concert review: Jolie Holland (6/25/2014)


This review’s a bit late, but it was such a good concert I couldn’t bear to let it pass completely undocumented in my blog. I’d seen Jolie Holland and her current band in May when I was in NYC, so I had an idea of what to expect from this set; but this time around I’d gotten a chance to listen to the new album, Wine Dark Sea, a few times and acquaint myself with the new songs. It took me a little time to get into the new album – not because it’s difficult, but because it’s kind of laid-back and I’ve been wound up like a spring. Incompatibility of mood. I finally found the right place and time to hear it properly (a late-night flight home after a beautiful weekend with some close friends), and then I couldn’t stop listening for days – just in time for her concert at Brighton Music Hall here in Boston. I love it when I am in the exact right mood for the concert at hand.

I was a little worried during the opening set, the Shy Hunters, both because very few people showed up (c’mon Boston! get it together!) and because the sound quality was really appalling. I could hardly hear the vocals or guitar over the synthesizer bass notes. (The singer commented a few times on problems with her monitors, too, so it wasn’t just audience sound that was a mess.) I don’t think it would be fair to review their set in light of the sound problems, so I’ll leave it at that. I would definitely give them another chance based on what I saw, and hope for better sound next time. Brighton Music Hall: Try harder, please?

I was relieved that the sound in the main set was improved, and I could just enjoy the music without being distracted by the sound quality. A lot more people showed up in time to see the headliner, too, so it was a nice balance of not-too-crowded but enough people there to feel like a decent audience. The set list leaned quite heavily on the new album – I loved getting a chance to hear pretty much all of my new favorites (Route 30, The Love You Save, First Sign of Spring, Saint Dymphna, Waiting for the Sun…). She also did a few covers, only one of which I was familiar with (Who Are You by Tom Waits). It’s hard for me to pick out a favorite because there were so many equally-good songs, although I would definitely say the best stuff was from the new album. I didn’t take any video, but this was one that landed on my favorites list:

There was an amusing moment during that song – two women were in the back talking way too loud, probably drunk, and the first time Jolie sang the “I want you to stop – find out what’s wrong…” line with the sudden pause after ‘stop’, one of the women was saying something really loud, and everyone turned to stare at her and she looked completely mortified. Which is good, because I think we can all agree that people who talk loudly and incessantly during concerts are jackasses đŸ˜‰ Maybe that song could be performed tactically at times when someone in the audience is being too loud.

Even though I was so late writing this up, Jolie has still got lots of dates yet to come on this tour, including many U.S. dates and a handful in Europe. Check out the dates by clicking right here and scrolling down a bit till you see them.

On a totally unrelated note, regular readers of my blog may be interested to note that the new Zorn/Zion80 collaboration, Adramelech, is available for pre-order: I loved their first album, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

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2 Responses to Concert review: Jolie Holland (6/25/2014)

  1. Was missing your posts – will get Jolie’s latest CD. What’s up next? Will stay tuned in. – Cynthia Brown, Concert Manic fan

  2. Roddus says:

    I too am excited by the upcoming Zion 80 release.

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