If one word was needed to describe Zola Jesus’ show at The Regent on September 20 it would be “intense.” She was fast, enticing and powerful, and all the while overcoming a probable cold.
It wasn’t until after the third song that she addressed the crowd: “I’m currently battling a serious sinus infection.” However, there was no need to worry. Before launching into “Hikikomori,” she said, “I won’t quit.” Not that there was any need to worry in the first place. The subtle raspiness of her voice when she did talk to the crowd indicated sickness, but her voice’s bravado showed no signs of weakness.
Zola is on tour in support of her new album Okovi. Unlike the upbeat bummer tunes that are popular at the moment, Okovi is dark in both sound and word. She sings about suicide and fear to name a few, though told NPR that it is “an album of empowerment and hope.”
Watching Zola was like being guided through a dark, chaotic forrest. With enchantress worthy glares and exorcist-like dancing, she guided the audience. Various images of shapes, trees and static projected behind Zola and her two backing bandmates. The night was not without uplifting moments here and there. “Clay Bodies” and “Remains” inspired light dancing. One woman moved like she was in an ’80s aerobics video. Even Zola danced so hard she lost her earpiece: “I lost my headphones!”
Just less than an hour onstage, Zola knew she had to listen to her body. She closed out with “Exhumed,” a song off Okovi that sounds like a haunted orchestra is plaguing your innermost thoughts. Decibel levels soared as her whole body quivered against the mic stand. “I’m sorry, but that’s all I can give tonight.” The end was abrupt, but good. In appreciation of effort and honesty, the crowd no signs of resentment as they cheered.
- Dangerous Days
- Clay bodies