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Live Review: Chelsea Wolfe

20 June 2016 | 2:06 pm | Catherine Delpero

"Serious guitars, serious, ear-exploding bass and seriously haunting vocals."

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Chelsea Wolfe's performance at the Odeon really put the 'dark' into Dark Mofo. Far away from the hordes at Winter Feast on Hobart's waterfront, where you can sit in the ambient glow of candles and ironic red crosses that had everyone thinking of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, a crowd clad in black assembled en masse. There was no hint of irony, there were some actual goths present that hadn't left their basements since about 1998.

The LA-based singer-songwriter put on a very serious show: serious guitars, serious, ear-exploding bass and seriously haunting vocals. Wolfe looked like a better dressed version of the little girl from the well in The Ring. Her long dark hair was piled into a top knot bun with the rest of it purposefully draped across the majority of her face, pale as a ghost with a lacy ensemble that added to the horror movie or funeral vibes. Not a single word was uttered to the crowd and as a result, even for a small venue, the performance felt more like an exercise in observation than an intimate experience.

The audience stood transfixed for most of the set, only cheering with passion when they recognised a song or the guitar riffs got a bit more robust and energetic. Folk mixed with heavy goth is a description that suits the Chelsea Wolfe style. Wolfe's use of her voice was reflective of some sort of classical training, as was the very formal way she holds her guitar. When voice is used like an instrument rather than the focus of driving lyrics in a song it can take on an ethereal quality. Particularly when the songs are as melancholic and dark as Chelsea Wolfe's.

Her talent was reflected in the rest of the band, with the overall effect producing a very consistent and effortless performance. Leather jackets and heavy eyeliner aside, Chelsea Wolfe's fans were elated with the set. They were more than just happy to be out of the house, they had really enjoyed the night. This type of music is less underground and more a reflection of society that doesn't see life as all rainbows and unicorns, there for us to acknowledge the darker side of life. Honesty like that is actually pretty refreshing.

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