Concert Corner: Arts editors share recent live music outings, reactions

Maya Mazor-Hoofien

Been to any good shows lately? We sure have, and we had such a great time we just had to tell you about it. Check out our takes on Angel Olsen and boygenius, live in concert. 

Angel Olsen: Oct. 25, Revolution Hall

“In her trademark pouf hairstyle, Angel Olsen took the Revolution Hall stage twice in a row on Oct. 24 and 25. I caught her second performance and Olsen was in a joyous mood, laughing with the audience in between songs and even convincing her band to close the show with their inside joke jingle, “The Pickle Song.” It was a stark and welcome contrast to Olsen’s last Portland visit in August 2022, just months after losing both of her parents. 

“It was a really difficult time,” Olsen said, before soulfully strumming “This Is How It Works,” a melancholy song about the pain of loss from her latest album, “Big Time.” 

Olsen didn’t dwell on the heaviness, however, moving quickly through material from nearly all of her eight albums. The ethereal, synth-driven “All Mirrors” and power-rock inspired “MY WOMAN” were highlights, showcasing Olsen’s genre-diverse catalog. The setlist drew on Olsen’s soulful side, highlighting the affective style that underpins all her work.

“Now, we’re gonna play one of our twenty-minute songs,” Olsen said. “We only have a couple but we’ve gotta do it.” 

Olsen’s boyfriend and dedicated stagehand joined the rest of the band on guitar for a jam version of “Sister,” which didn’t quite hit the twenty-minute mark, but was a playful departure from some of Olsen’s more stylized, formatted songs.

Olsen had more surprises up her sleeve. She treated the audience to a short solo set of two songs from her 2014 album, “Burn Your Fire for No Witness.” The sold-out hall was quiet and reverent as Olsen’s powerful, emotive voice raised chills.

As always, Olsen and her band were well-dressed and well-rehearsed, swelling with symphonic, theatrical tones and stripping back for more intimate moments. For longtime fans, the performance was delightfully nostalgic and heartwarmingly reassuring: Olsen is doing okay and, by the sound of it, will be back in Portland sometime soon.”

—Caroline Drew ’24

boygenius: Oct. 31, Hollywood Bowl

“When I first found out boygenius would be playing the last show of their tour on Halloween night, I was devastated. This summer the band played in my hometown, a stone’s throw from my high school, while I was out of the country. Now they were set to perform on what is arguably the gayest night of the year (behind only perhaps June 9) and I would be stuck battling seasonal depression in the Great White North? Tragic. 

But, as it turns out, they were playing in Los Angeles, mere minutes away from my best friend’s college. So a plan began to form, we counted down the days, and finally the concert came. I knew what to expect at the show: It would be amazing and super sad and probably someone would pass out from antidepressant-enhanced dehydration (look it up). 

The indie folk-rock supergroup, composed of Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers, who dressed for the occasion as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit respectively, was electric from the start. The group brought a down-to-earth love for music that is uncommon at their level of stardom. From earnest awe at the over 15,000 attendees to Bridgers welcoming her pug Maxine to the stage (dressed as the Lamb of God), boygenius played the rare genuine rockstar.

I was struck, not for the first time, by the strength of the band’s poetic lyricism, so delicate and careful, which somehow meshes seamlessly with the blunt instrument that is rock music. Their somber indie folk songs are famous for their soul-crushing vulnerability, but I believe they truly shine in their old school, punk-influenced tracks, messy and grungy in sound but polished and precise in lyrics and vocals. Their intricate melodies and harmonic arrangements are as angelic as their group Halloween costume, and I cannot wait to see what they do next.”

—Maya Mazor-Hoofien, ’26

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