story / Ericka Clevenger
photos / Philip Cosores
Sharon Van Etten played an unforgettable, heart wrenching set at the Avalon in Hollywood last week, after recently launching her West coast tour with War on Drugs. She will then branch off, and continue touring with Flock of Dimes across the U.S through March, followed by a handful of shows across Europe to follow. The Jersey born beauty, released her third studio album, Tramp in February of this year on Jagjaguwar Records. Produced over a few months by Aaron Dessner, of The National it is a perfect compilation of one’s up’s and down’s–weaving in and out of life, death and love. Some songs such as “Magic Chords” seem to float in a carefree nature, leaving you in a dreamy daze. While other songs like “Give Out” seem to isolate and pinpoint certain emotions, such as her love–hate relationship with New York City. Her raw vocal interpretation is sang as sweet-as-a-bird, yet raspy combination that seems to linger on your ear drum–like two young lovers, dancing in the moonlight. “Serpents” sadly express the unavoidable pain of the ever changing world, backed with passion and strength that gives you both power and peace.
Her songs are poetically glorified human experience that people across the board can identify and relate to, earning her devoted fans–rather than your average industry driven music elitist (Although they seem to be obsessed with her too). Her personal sensibility, mixed with her shy demeanor make her someone that you can only fall in love with. You can hear her soul in her vocals, as they float high above the instrumental parts from her four-piece backing band–softening even the toughest of hearts. Her awkward teenage like stage movement, and verbal involvement with the crowd is charming and powerful–creating a simple, yet honest connection with the audience.
This is certainly a show that stands alone with its stripped down appearance of a girl who is beautifully giving you a piece of herself. Bringing her emotions to the forefront, everyone seemed connected and fully satisfied with both her music, and performance. This is not music that will go in one ear and out the other. It will stay with you, both in your head and your heart paired perfectly romance to a road trip. I’m honored to have experienced a delicate musical experience with other transplants and Angelinos –who all around me seemed to be falling in and out of love.