This past weekend, I had originally planned to spend time relaxing at home. But on Friday night, my sister asked me if I wanted to go to a concert Saturday night and I had to give her answer within an hour. Now, over the years, I have found that planning too far ahead for enjoyable activities (not projects, jobs or work) allowed too much time for things to go wrong. But at the last minute, I agreed. The ticket was twenty bucks, which is very cheap considering the venue was Webster Hall, the artist has tons of adoring fans, and usual concert ticket prices usually start at $30.
The performer was Zola Jesus, an old school goth, classical, industrial, electronic influenced band whose lead singer, Nika Roza Danilova, sports an amazing opera trained voice. I went to the concert knowing only one song called ‘Night’, which I had only half listened to. But since the band is a favorite of my sister, who happens to have great taste in music, I knew it would be $20 well spent.
Doors opened at 6pm but knowing Webster Hall, the concert itself didn’t start until 6:30 and even then there were still opening bands who were also scheduled to perform. This was all fine because we arrived at 8th and Astor Place late and forgot where Webster Hall was anyway, a problem that was quickly solved with the help of my smartphone.
We finally arrived at around 7:30pm and we caught the last two songs of the first opening band Talk Normal, a punkish female duo who sounds like a mix of Sonic Youth and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. There was some noise-rock flair to their rhythmic drum beats and I loved every second of it.
The second band was Liturgy. This was definitely different from the normal tastes of the crowd since they right away into a mix of noise-rock, black metal, and the classic metal man’s screech into the mic. I am not a metal-head but I love metal music so this was a pleasant surprise for me. However, many people in the crowd were not used to this type of music scene and I could see them getting restless. Later on they went into new territory by going out of conventional metal sound with an added electronic mix. The first 3/4ths of their set was the best. But overall, they brought joy to the little metal fan in me.
Finally…the one we had all been waiting for. ZOLA JESUS! By far, one of the most amazing bands with a lead singer who can actually sing. She has a deep, passionate voice that has a crazy range probably attained from her opera training days. The music was both haunting and moving. While singing, she would dance sporadically and jump on stage to the beat of her own music. She really felt her music throughout her body and soul. About halfway through the concert, she performed a song called ‘In Your Nature’. In the middle of the song, she went to the edge of the stage and jumped into the crowd with fans and she traveled through it and danced with everyone while still singing. I have never seen an artist to that.
Her performance of the song ‘Night’ was truly moving. I saw fans sing every word and throw their hand in their air, while they moved to the music.
She had some truly passionate fans in the crowd. We all cheered and shouted their appreciation and love for this artist. She came out for her encore where she played on the piano with just her violinist and sang the song, ‘Skin’. It was a beautiful song that nearly brought tears to my eyes. The sound of her voice resonating throughout the room was something truly magical.
I have been converted and am now a Zola Jesus fan. I love her for her music. It has moved me deeply and she brings a lively spirit on stage. Thankfully, she performs in New York often, so next time she comes I’ll be sure to buy the ticket right away.
The post concert excitement is the best part. If you are like me, coming back from a concert makes you really hungry. I was lucky and the show ended at 10:30 which is very early for a concert. The options of food dwindle from little to none as time goes by. If you are in the Village area late at night, delis are your usually your only reliable option.
Sophia, Rochester Institute of Technology
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