Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Julien Baker put Greek Theatre crowd in their feels

Sharon Van Etten Greek 2022 TA mainbar

A tripleheader to be remembered for the sad boys and girls took place both Thursday and Friday night at the Greek Theatre.

Indie rock queens Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, and Julien Baker all performed on the same bill back-to-back nights and we were there Thursday to cry on the inside along with everybody else. These are three of the most prolific and talented singer-songwriters on planet earth right now, and getting to see them all in one spot was a true blessing.

It was like going to a five-star restaurant for a multi-course meal. The portions were small (no act played more than an hour, I think) but damn, it was delicious. Julien Baker played while the sun was still out, with the crowd filling in about halfway through her set. It’s been amazing to see her blossom from being just her and a guitar to a full-blown band with a sound befitting of an outdoor venue like the Greek. Eight of the 11 songs she played came from 2021’s awesome record Little Oblivions and she got a standing ovation after a misfire on one of those songs had her start over. “Mistakes are OK,” Baker laughed before delivering the goods.

Angel Olsen was next, as she plahyed in support of her latest record Big Time — another home run from the Asheville, North Carolina singer who seems to put out records as often as some people change their socks.

“You know when you’re just out there on stage at the Greek?” Olsen laughed to the crowd. “It’s pretty crazy though — psychotic. Also, y’all are really quiet.” Which got the crowd going.

Olsen played most of her songs from that new record, while also playing fan favorites “Shut Up Kiss Me” and “All Mirrors”. One song from the new record “All The Good Times” was preceded by Olsen asking the crowd “How many of you are in love? How many of you are heartbroken? This song has nothing to do with that,” she laughed before playing the absolute banger of a song.

On Thursday night it was Sharon Van Etten closing the show. It had been ten years since she played the venue opening up for Andrew Bird, and what a long way she has come since then. She was playing in support of her May full-length release We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong — which is sure to draw award nominations and land on many year-end best-of lists.

Van Etten told a story about moving to LA right before the pandemic and how the sky was so blue and she could actually hear birds. She crushed it as the headliner — she’s become quite an epic frontwoman since dropping 2019’s Remind Me Tomorrow. “Comeback Kid” and “Seventeen” from that record really hit hard — the latter being what she closed her set with. I always love how during the big vocal part of that song she makes direct eye contact with someone in the crowd — it gives me chills every time.

This isn’t a tour you’re probably ever going to see again — which is why I snagged both a concert poster and t-shirt — unusually for me given my lack of wall space from too many poster purchases in my earlier LA years. But damn I was glad to witness it.

Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Tim Aarons