Gothic-folk artist Marissa Nadler played a pretty and melancholic opening set at the Tractor Tavern on October 19th. Her tour supported her September 2018 release, For My Crimes, which also features prominent vocalists Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, and Kristin Kontrol. Like all her albums, it has been critically acclaimed.
Nadler played nine songs from across her discography, alternating among electric, acoustic, and 12-string guitars. At times she was accompanied by a mysterious guitarist–vocalist shadowed behind a cattleman hat.
Nadler is a seasoned vocalist whose live performances can be indistinguishable from her studio albums. Although her show did want for the texture of her small string section and ethereal double-tracked harmonies, it didn’t cost any haunting beauty. There is a palpable darkness to all her music, and her lyrics confirm pervasive themes of loss: in this set, the passing of a cherished car, a lover moving to the South, and even an inmate on death row. But tossing devastation aside, Nadler joked between tunes and greeted fans warmly afterward. Seattle is fortunate that she always schedules a stop here.
Headlining 1980s avant-garde rockers Mercury Rev put on a quirky, high-energy set with plenty of fog and onstage dancing. The horns of the T.T. cow skull were decorated for Halloween—a little bit—with a strand of polyester spider web.
Nadler has announced she will be returning to Seattle on March 5th. Be sure to catch her at the Sunset Tavern.