Chelsea Wolfe at Fitzgerald's, 9/7/2013
Not many artists touring in small and mid-sized venues put on a real production. Then again, not every artist is Chelsea Wolfe. When the L.A. singer-songwriter's tour stopped by Fitzgerald's downstairs room on Saturday, she brought autumn's dark side in with her.
As the stage lights dimmed, Wolfe's own light show began, lighting up the back of the stage in a row. But this wasn't something you'd see at a special screening of Dark Side of the Moon. Instead, the lights flickered lilac and white to an orchestral track layered over the sound of thunder.
Dark and haunting, maybe, but it was the perfect introduction for Wolfe, who blends gothic rock with more experimental indie music.
Without missing a beat, Wolfe and her band entered the stage with just enough time to adjust their instruments and jump straight into "Feral Love," the first track from her latest album, Pain Is Beauty.
Onstage, Wolfe split her time crooning into two microphones as she lost herself in the music, dancing carelessly in an all-black ensemble as the audience watched, transfixed. It's nothing provocative, and it's definitely not calculated. Instead, something about the way Wolfe moved oozed confidence -- the kind that most people only dream of having.
Like at any other concert, these are the kind of kinks that are best worked out early on in the show. But for some reason, it just seemed more important that things be in their right place early on in this set, if for no other reason than the fact that it wasn't an average performance.
As loops led the band into "We Hit a Wall," Wolfe picked up a black guitar as her band -- a bassist, guitarist and drummer -- continued flawlessly moving from song to song flawlessly as they powered through "Mer" and "Reins."
Whether it's Wolfe's artistic vision, or simply coincidence, everything about her live performance aligned perfectly. To some, her execution could be considered pretentious or grandiose. But her performance is nothing of the sort. Instead, she takes ownership of her image, attitude and style. And truthfully, it's refreshing to see a woman take charge of how she is perceived.
That's not to say that I think Wolfe is contrived in any way.
Review continues on the next page.