Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall | Photos + concert review

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Photograph: Jeremy Farmer

    Shearwater at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Photograph: Jeremy Farmer

    Shearwater at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

  • Photograph: Jeremy Farmer

    Shearwater at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12

Sharon Van Etten at Lincoln Hall 2/16/12


Sharon Van Etten’s ex must feel really, really dumb. Not only have Van Etten’s three albums, a form of therapy to cope with that destructive 5-year relationship, entranced everyone from press to fans to Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner of The National (who produced the newest album), the guy, whom she met after dropping out of school in Memphis, discouraged her from doing her music. By discouraged, I mean hid her guitar. Thank god she found it.

Austin-based opener Shearwater, founded by two members from Okkervil River (Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff, who has has since left) rocked out to "Breaking the Yearlings" and other songs from their new album, Animal Joy, before Van Etten took to the stage this Thursday.

Her most recent record, Tramp, brings her biting, deeply felt songs to a new level. Her stage presence, too, has grown more outward and strong. At the first of her two back-to-back shows at Lincoln Hall this week, the 30-year-old giddily laughed, put on accents, and futzed with mic cords and tunings between songs to an overwhelmingly, admiring male crowd, something that didn’t go unoticed. After trying to rouse some applause for Shearwater’s studliness, she received a sparse clap. “Is it all men in here? I thought the lesbians loved Shearwater,” Van Etten joked about her own appeal. “Making enemies....this next song is 'Peace Signs',” she remarked to audience chuckles.

Opening with “Warsaw,” she and backing singer Heather Woods Broderick’s voices unified in a dazzling spectrum of harmonies. "Magic Chords," with its deep rumbling hook was followed by "Leonard", which, punctuated with a ringing bass drum, showcased one of Tramp’s most exalting and infectious choruses. To balance the darker content of “Don’t Do It,” a song that references suicide and addiction, she laughed, “It’s such a simple message.”

After the band's fake exit, they returned with the members of Shearwater for an awesome cover of the Circle Jerks “I Wanna Destroy You.” Van Etten looked like she was on cloud nine, her lids half closed, as she danced around the stage. Though she by no means needed to win the hearts of her audience, that unexpected cover suggests that her fan’s loyalty will never be tested, and her music will continue to captivate anew. To finish, the New Jersey native played a song from 2010’s Epic, “Love More”, a song of gratitude to her friend Dana, for helping her love after, and despite, a hard time.


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