Save Our Stages: Angel Olsen and Rodrigo Amarante at Thalia Hall in Chicago, 9/27/16

During this period of historic uncertainty, the fight for the survival of our independent record stores is directly mirrored by the dark stages of our local independent theatres, clubs, and performance spaces which have been shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been cited as well that 90% of these concert venues may never, ever return.

Enter the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) whose #SaveOurStages campaign has provided a spotlight on this perilous predicament with a unique mission to “preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States.” Without help from Congress the predictions are indeed quite dire and TVD encourages you support the S. 3814/H.R. 7481, the RESTART Act, by telling your legislators to save independent music venues via the form that can be filled out and forwarded right here.

This week and next we’ll be turning our own spotlight onto previous live concert coverage as a reminder of the need to preserve the vitality of live music venues across the country—and indeed across the globe—and while we’re at it to celebrate the work of the fine photographers and writers at TVD who are all itching to get back into the pit. 

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | Angel Olsen was welcomed to Chicago with two sold out nights at Thalia Hall this week. Joining her was bilingual crooner Rodrigo Amarante.

Brazilian singer-songwriter (perhaps best known for the theme song for Netflix’s Narcos), Rodrigo Amarante set the scene for the night holding down the stage with just his guitar and sweet vocals. Between songs he told the audience, “I had the best day. They treated me like a king here even though I’m just a pawn. I’m so happy.” You could feel his happiness as he whistled along with his tunes. As Amarante sang, he and his guitar filled the room with the impression of a full orchestra playing.

Amarante’s first solo album, Cavalo is currently available on vinyl. His sophomore release is anticipated some time this year.

A full house waited in anticipation gathering closer and closer to the stage as Angel Olsen’s set time was approaching. Soon her band entered the stage in uniformed suits topped off with bolo ties. A few moments later Olsen appeared on stage and everyone went silent as she put on her guitar. “Oh you’re quiet now…that’s cool,” she told the crowd who quickly began cheering, “Yeah right!” she exclaimed before playing the notes of her first song “Never Be Mine.”

A few songs in she told the audience “I have a few more things to say, if you don’t mind.” She mixed new with old throughout the set, delighting the audience as they sang along and danced to their favorites. Half way through the show she announced she had a cold, but no one would notice as her vocals never faltered. Olsen took time out to dedicate songs to her band members and Uber drivers alike.

With her bouncing band behind her, Olsen shed her folk image and showed how big her sound could get. Her voice seemed to haunt the audience as they stood mesmerized watching her performance. During a song break and some quick banter with the crowd, someone from the balcony shouted, “You’re a rock star now!” Olsen turned to her mic and replied, “I always was,” as her giggles took her into the next song.

Angel Olsen’s recently released album, My Woman is available on vinyl.

RODRIGO AMARANTE

SETLIST
Never Be Mine
Hi-Five
Shut Up Kiss Me
Lights Out
Heart Shaped Face
Sister
Those Were the Days
Drunk and with Dreams
Acrobat
Windows
Not Gonna Kill You
Sweet Dreams
Forgiven/Forgotten
Give it Up

ENCORE
Intern
Woman

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