Thursday, January 19, 2012

Photos/Review: Sharon Van Etten @ Mercury Lounge

Sharon Van Etten @ Mercury Lounge - January 18, 2012

Photos: Chris / Review: Jennifer Harmon

Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten delivered a beautiful, heart-stirring performance at The Mercury Lounge last night, sharing for the very first time new songs from her third studio album Tramp, which will be released February 7 on Jagjaguwar.

We stood quietly in the perfect spot nestled close to the stage, prepared to savor every word. At around 8 PM, the lights dimmed and Sharon Van Etten and her band made their entrance. Dressed in all black, the lovely raven-haired singer captivated us immediately. After greeting the audience and adjusting her guitar strap, she launched an hour-long set, playing the new album in its entirety, filled with alluringly anguished vocals mixed with ripe, full arrangements of guitars and drums.

“I loosen my grip from my palm and put it on your knee/You’re the reason I’ll move to the city. You’re why I’ll need to leave,” she sang during the heartbreaking tune, “Give Out.”

She became one with the guitar, allowing her dark locks to cover the left side of her face as she bent forward. Under the shinny haze of the red and blue stage lights, I was mesmerized by the way Sharon’s body and voice showcased such a wide range of happiness, fear and pain.

With a guitar pick in her mouth, we did not mind the fact that she apologized to the crowd at least a couple of times for “being clumsy” in between songs. Her voice was outstanding, showcasing powerfully passionate lyrics on all of the songs from the new album. The foursome sounded superb at Mercury Lounge, with the luscious mix of guitars and vocals, and even a harmonium, ukulele, and an omni chord in the mix.

She thanked the crowd numerous times for coming out on hump day - on a cold, winter Wednesday night. “But it’s still early so you can go on a date and have dinner still,” she told us.

It was not surprising that one female fan was close to tears. Sharon told her, “It’s okay to cry.” Her distinctive voice digs into your soul. At this small, intimate venue, I glanced around and observed how multiples faces in the audience appeared hypnotized by her voice and the lyrics off of the new album. At times, I felt overcome by sadness and regret but I also experienced a deep sense of satisfaction and hope. I longed for more.

“I am alone in this room with you/I tried,” she sang out during the last song of the night.

Sharon’s latest gig at Mercury Lounge performance is proof that this New Jersey native has taken her songwriting abilities to the next level. Her new material is a brilliant experience of everything she has created thus far. I can’t wait to see what happens next.


Tramp is currently available for preorder over at Jagjaguwar's website. Sharon will be playing Bowery Ballroom on February 24 and then Music Hall of Williamsburg on February 25 and 26. Tickets are still available for all three. Below, take a look at a full set of photos from last night's show...

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