Show Report: Zola Jesus at the Echoplex

Posted by Billy Gil, November 1, 2011 06:06pm | Post a Comment
LA Vampires started this Halloween show at the Echoplex with a psych-dance set that perfectly set the stage for Zola Jesus. Amanda Brown’s post-Pocahaunted project, in which she collaborates with artists such as Matrix Metals and Zola Jesus (aka Nika Roza Danilova) to fashion dubbed out psych-tronica that belies its goth veneer by injecting with positive vibes and beats from early techno. Brown’s freaky dancing and faded vocals pull you into the trance created by her collaborators’ loops and synths. Her bleached-blonde mop perfectly matched that of Danilova, who came out during a sick cover of The Cardigans“Carnival” to dance and sing alongside Brown. In the dark venue, the two looked like tiny wraiths writhing around onstage intoxicatingly.


Danilova, meanwhile, dug into a gauzy set that relied heavily on her recently released Conatus. Songs like Conatus’ “Hikikomori” and “Seekir,” the poppier songs on the record, came through with as much or more power than on record, their hooks amplified to new extremes. The Echoplex tends to add a lot of natural reverb to shows, and this at times added to the already soaked songs to the point that it was a deluge, almost overpowering. I haven’t seen Zola Jesus play live before, but I’m willing to bet her shows are always this dreamy. The music just sort of pours over you, and Danilova swings her arms and dances in flowy garb. Everything feels the way Fleetwod Mac’s “Gyspy” video looks.

Part of it may have been the Halloween vibe, but it’s almost scary how powerful her voice can get, especially near the end of this set, when she let loose her operatic howl and cut through the din.  I could have stood to hear more from Stridulum (she did play “Night,” getting one of the best responses of the night) and The Spoils. But I was really glad to hear Conatus’ “Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake,” a particularly moving track on the album that concludes with a powerful choral section that was still effective recreated digitally, though it begs to be heard with backup singers in a more open setting. Let’s hope for a show someday at the Bowl or the Walt Disney Concert Hall, hmm?

Relevant Tags

The Echoplex (8), The Cardigans (2), Fleetwood Mac (29), La Vampires (5), Zola Jesus (24), Pocahaunted (1)