Asheville indie-folk artist Angel Olsen played an intimate solo set at Seattle’s Moore Theatre, accompanied by only spotlights, two guitars, and a bit of fog. Olsen’s Tiny Dreams Solo Tour contrasted with her last Seattle appearance, an upbeat whole-band production at the Neptune Theatre in February 2017.
Olsen’s voice is powerful yet delicate, with a silky vibrato like a slide guitar. She pairs a familiar vintage sweetness with a modern irreverence.
“Here’s one I wrote when I was 22 and knew everything about life,” quipped Olsen as she announced that she would play some sad songs. Much of her earlier work personified loneliness and desertion, and she still does it spectacularly: “Lonely Universe” left the auditorium pin-drop silent and a little tearful. But Olsen is versatile, clever, and very talented, and she can pull off humorous synth-pop just as easily as classic country.
The 12-tune set spanned several albums, including the 2017 compilation Phases. She mostly avoided her hits, even after a witty back-and-forth with the audience about what to play next. (Olsen ended up defiantly choosing her own tune.) She also kvetched about guitar tuning, festival touring, and having to play an 8 a.m. radio gig hungover the last time she was in Seattle, dropping endearing F-bombs along the way. Olsen closed with a Bruce Springsteen cover, “Tougher Than the Rest.”
Los Angeles-based Meg Duffy performed as Hand Habits, opening with a set of introspective guitar and vocals.