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Milwaukee Concert Pick: Angel Olsen at Turner Hall Ballroom

A woman smiles and sings into a microphone while playing an acoustic guitar on stage with red lighting in the background.
Courtesy of the artist

Milwaukee’s concert scene has a lot going on, so we look at the shows coming up to find the ones you’ll look back on and be glad you went. Then we add them to our weekly Milwaukee Concert Picks.

Angel Olsen fans in Milwaukee may feel a long-term kinship with the artist due to her formative musical years being spent in close Midwestern proximity (Chicago). Although born in St. Louis (and now-residing in Asheville, N.C.), Olsen spent a good chunk of time near Lake Michigan’s biggest city, immersing herself in its vibrant scene.

They may not know it, but longtime fans could’ve caught Olsen as the backup singer for Drag City Records’ folk-rock darling Bonnie “Prince” Billy, or collaborating with Tim Kinsella of emo outfits Cap'n Jazz and Joan of Arc, as well as LeRoy Bach of Wilco. When Olsen started circulating more heavily — primarily due to her signing to Jagjaguwar Records for 2014 release Burn Your Fire For No Witness — she made any unaware folks finally turn their ears and notice.

Olsen’s wail-and-warble vocal style, prowess on guitar and heart-on-sleeve storytelling is an undeniably entrancing concoction. In recent years, she’s become even more irresistible, showing her breadth as a writer and singer, rolling easily from rock ‘n roll to more of a classic soulful country vibe.

If you’re into the moodiness of Mazzy Star but still love classic crooners like Patsy Cline, sign yourself up for Thursday night’s show at Turner Hall Ballroom. You’ll get both sides. Make that a double priority if you’ve never had the chance to catch one of Olsen’s live sets. She combines her performing chops with a playful stage manner extended to her band and the audience. So no matter what genre identity she morphs in and out of, it’s clear she’s giving it her all — and having a great time.

Angel Olsen performs at Turner Hall Ballroom this Thursday, Nov. 30, with doors at 7 p.m. Plan to arrive on time so you can catch Kara Jackson as the opener.

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88Nine Music Director / On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee