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Zola jesus jun17

Zola Jesus was pitch-black pop perfection, Live in London

06 November 2018, 13:56 | Written by

A red-robed Nazgûl unleashing a torrent of gothic darkness may not feature in everyone’s conception of an ideal Monday night, but for the rest of us, the tenebrous passion of Zola Jesus proved a memorably visceral start to the week.

A set primarily centred on latest release “Okovi”, Nika Danilova underpins her lyrics about depression and the tribulations of those dear to her with a pitch-black pop sensibility, given life by a powerhouse voice that could raise the dead. Previously reliant on backing tracks, she’s ably assisted tonight by the talents of Alex DeGroot and Louise Woodward, whose distorted guitar and violin augment the atmosphere of simultaneous dread and catharsis.

Often cloaked in shadow when not wrapped within her robe, her performance is that of a caged beast- she leapt around, prowled around the stage, and even made her way into the audience, channelling the primal, abrasive rage of the likes of Pharmakon.

Yet if this all sounds relentlessly bleak and oh-so-serious, Danilova herself was the very embodiment of charm. Remarking that it was her first sold out London show since her impressive 2010 debut at CAMP Basement, it’s striking to note how much more comfortable she seems as a performer these days. Previously an artiste of very few words, tonight she enthusiastically speaks of her love for Nathan Barley and her appreciation of a city that truly “understands what we’re doing up here”. For the audience’s part, it’s clear we think she’s “totally f’in Mexico”.

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