Chelsea Wolfe captivates at Lees Palace

CHELSEA WOLFE at Lees Palace, Thursday, September 3. Rating: NNNNToronto crowds sometimes get a bad rep as distant and apathetic,.


CHELSEA WOLFE at Lees Palace, Thursday, September 3. Rating: NNNN

Toronto crowds sometimes get a bad rep as distant and apathetic, but there are times when simply standing motionless and drinking it all in is the most appropriate response to whats happening onstage.

Joyless Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Chelsea Wolfes appearance at a packed Lees Palace was one such occasion.

Touring in support of her fifth album, Abyss, Wolfe is essentially a psychy folksinger with heavy-metal-leanings and a penchant for evocatively bleak song titles: Color Of Blood, House Of Metal, Pale On Pale.

Live, she created a hollowed-out atmosphere by playing her howling, heavily reverbed falsetto off sludgy, overdriven riffs during songs that dipped and peaked like slow-moving roller coasters.

She and her three-piece band occasionally accented the tightly coiled mood with palpitating, demonic backing tracks and Blixa Bargeldesque shrieking, as they did on After The Fall and the set closer Survive.

The audience, resembling the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, was stoic and transfixed through it all but especially during the beautiful, drowsy ballad Simple Death, which proved Wolfe is just as effective when she dials down the drama.

kevinr@nowtoronto.com | @kevinritchie

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