Having avoided most reviews and early takes on “The Wild Hearts Tour,” I went in expecting a collaborative weaving of the three indie stars’ songbooks. Ultimately, this experience gave attendees a breezy, joyful three-set affair akin to a mini outdoor festival. The crowd largely skewed from “they look familiar,” down to someone I did in fact see at brunch earlier. Edgefield remains a very charming pleasure garden of poplars and pines with an unusually good sound system and lots of room to spread out on the grass, which all helps ease the pain of $12 IPA’s and cocktails.
Opener Quinn Christopherson, hailing from Alaska as an up-and-coming singer-songwriter, performed a short set to help set the mood. The songs were cute but mostly forgettable heart-on-sleeve and nostalgic musings that would fit right into an easy-listening Spotify Vibes station.
Julien Baker turned the volume up, and things felt transported to another fun time in our lives. The riffs and chords got the crowd bopping along, (though at one point a medic was summoned to the front and the set was briefly stopped.) As Baker spoke to the crowd, I saw that this care and attendance to our relationships with others is the focal point of her songwriting, the lyrical honesty almost outsized with the carefree environ. She closed her eyes in concentration for much of the set.
In a twist, an audio clip from the 2004 film “I Heart Huckabees” played as a sort of elegiac prelude to Sharon Van Etten, who absolutely commanded the stage with her presence while running full speed through “Headspace” and “Comeback Kid.” Here her 2019 album finally received its due, having never fully toured live due to the pandemic, and the songs felt more spacious than the recordings. A newer version of “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” felt utterly reinvigorated and expanded, and definitely needs to be recorded. Van Etten implored the crowd to show off their silliest dance moves in competition for the set list, a witty approach to stage banter that kept things light and bouncy. She concluded with “Seventeen,” and it was pure rapture in the emerging twilight.
Anticipation smothered the crowd until thee Angel Olsen and her entourage of musicians emerged in color-coordinated jumpsuits, Olsen last in full lilac. I secretly wanted “New Love Cassette,” not gonna lie, yet still, Olsen could not possibly disappoint. Her newest release, “Big Time,” got the most attention, in particular, “All The Good Times” holistically and convincingly summoned up the aching, rousing country of Olsen’s vision. Right after an hilarious aside – Olsen teasing the audience about writing a new song the previous night – she did a slam dunk rendition of “Shut Up Kiss Me” that gave everyone what they wanted. The next two songs, “All Mirrors” and “Lark,” led us into the more epic, gorgeous territory of the eponymous 2019 album. The most predictable moment of the night finally came at the encore, Van Etten and Olsen’s 2021 collaborative single, “Like I Used To,” a fantastic and satisfying end to the evening.
[Editor’s note: The encore was beautiful, the show epic, though our team was hoping for the Wild Hearts Supertrio to come out for one (or three) tracks performed all together, maybe a cover song if they couldn’t do one of each of their originals… Alas, maybe next tour?]