I can predict the future. But just in this singular regard. Angel Olsen’s latest album, All Mirrors is going to be on most ‘best of 2019’ lists. Angel has been a critics’ favourite since her first release the 2011 EP, Strange Cacti, but it was her 2016 album, My Woman that made the punters really take notice. While her compilation album Phases offered an oasis, there’s been a thirst for Angel’s latest album. With the release of the title track, fans eagerly awaited the rest of the album.
The supporting tour for the album brought her to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (which she claimed had a haunted basement) in Toronto on Nov. 16. Opening the show with the moody New Love Cassette, Olsen played keyboards and sang before a backdrop of an ornate curving staircase and jewelled bunting. Next up, was the title track of her latest album, which highlighted her seven-piece band of violin, cello, guitar/synth, keyboards, drums and bass. The setlist in the first half of the show was All Mirrors-focused – moody, dark and accented by Olsen’s emotive, keening voice. Despite the sombre mood set by the music, lights and backdrop, Angel Olsen’s stage banter was lively and humorous. The peak (or depth) being when an audience member shouted out “Make an album with Mitski”, an idea I considered poor. Olsen told him to come up and repeat himself adding “This is a packed house and you didn’t pack it”. He actually got on stage and asked her again to which she barely responded directly. Mr. Mitski was sitting in front of me so I can report he was eventually escorted out of the building. Stay off the stage, kids. The best part of this heckling interlude was her band quietly vamping on Collective Soul’s Shine while she spoke. A hilarious, brief chat about mid-90s rock ensued, mentioning Closing Time and Blind Melon, which prompted Olsen’s guitarist to play its famous three-note part. It felt like this was an inside joke amongst the band.
While the audience, unusually shouty for an arms-crossed Toronto crowd, remained in their seats, a few stood to move during Olsen’s most recognizable song, Shut Up Kiss Me. The remainder of the set ran up and down Olsen’s previous output, featuring favourites Acrobat, Some Things Cosmic and the audience-requested Unfucktheworld. An encore of new song Chance and Mark Ronson’s collab with Angel Olsen, True Blue, ended the night. The latter being the other song to raise the audience to their feet.