Date: November 25th, 2015
Venue: The Button Factory, Dublin
Line-up: Chelsea Wolfe
After a string of successful tour dates in the US and all across Europe, singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe makes her long awaited return to Ireland for a headline show in Dublin’s Button Factory. Her unique brand of folk, gothic and metal has earned her a niche and devoted fanbase, and now with the release of her latest album Abyss she’s expanded into darker, heavier territories.
The lights dropped to a low dim as industrial sounds began pouring out of the speakers. Wolfe and her band came to the stage with the familiar beat of “Carrion Flowers”. After the quiet beginning Wolfe picked up her guitar and the stage was filled with a wave of distorted guitars. This really set the tone of the night, the sounds and beauty of the songs wrapped in a layer of dense atmosphere. An early set highlight was that of “Dragged Out”, a crushing performance drenched in melancholy.
The lighting, atmosphere and emotion that were seeping from the Button Factory tonight were not something that I’ve seen matched; everything was done in Wolfe’s unique way and went perfectly with the dark music.
Most of the set was taken from her brilliant new album Abyss, meaning that the thick distortion was present for the whole performance. However, Chelsea was able to reel back in the noise for when it needed to the most for the quieter and more atmospheric tracks like “Maw” and “Simple Death”. The few older songs that appeared were given a heavier make-over due to the new band set-up that Wolfe has been using recently. In “House of Metal” for example, the haunting violin, played live in the past, was now pre-recorded with guitarist Aurielle Zeitler recreating it on guitar.
“After the Fall” and “Iron Moon” fell back for moments for fragility, where Wolfe’s voice had taken the spotlight, before being drowned out by the thick distortion. “Survive” began quite slow but built up into a swirling crescendo of distortion and the incredible drumming of Dylan Fujioka.
The band left briefly before returning for an encore that compared to the main set was quite reserved and much more held back. The atmosphere remained the same, however, with the emotion still flowing. Chelsea Wolfe is a woman of few words, having not said a word for the entirety of the set instead letting the music speak for itself, but she did thank the crowd before closing with “Pale on Pale”. The song had built up into a flourish of guitars and frantic drumming, with Wolfe slipping away amid the madness, for the end of an incredible night.