Continuing the popular performance trend of virtual concerts, on February 25th, Audiotree presented STAGED: Julia Holter Live from The Lodge Room. One of the coolest things about live stream concerts is the intimate feeling that they provide. While it may not be your typical concert with fans jam-packed in a room with cheers and yells, for the time being, this is definitely the next best thing. Live stream concerts have the potential to reach audiences far and wide, and for Julia Holter, fans gathered from all over the globe. Fans tuned in from Cleveland, New York, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Rio De Janeiro, North Carolina and Ontario, just to name a few. The tone of the group chat was friendly, chill and pumped for the show. They shared with one another how excited they were, their favorite songs and hopes of which songs Holter would be performing tonight. Even the verified host of the chat (Audiotree Host) joined in. They talked about The Lodge Room in Los Angeles and how cool it is in person.
Kicking off the show, Julia Holter took center stage in the beautiful and architecturally artistic set of The Lodge Room. Normally, the room looks very well lit and could fit many people for a performance of great capacity. Tonight, Holter had a few intense spotlights to create the appearance of a solo act. These spotlights were blue, and there were only a few. There were shadows all around the room, which really emphasized that it was just Holter and the fans watching. She addressed the fans online and then mentioned how there were a few crew members on her set—all wearing masks, of course—but for the most part, it was just Holter and fans in the virtual chat.
This was definitely one of those intimate concert experiences that live streams have the power to create. Julia Holter was centered with a keyboard and a microphone, and she was ready to give the fans a night of relaxation and musical comfort.
The soft-spoken American singer-songwriter performed a mix of her own work as well as a few different covers of songs by a few of her favorite artists like Joni Mitchell, Joanna Newsom, Dionne Warwick and Karen Dalton. Opening with the 2018 hit “Another Dream” from the album Aviary, it was clear that Holter had a wide artistic range and sang with soul. During the beginning, fans were excited, and a stand-out comment was that of: “this is truly transcendent.” From the very beginning to the very last note, this comment proved to be true.
The transition into the second song, “Turn the Light On” (Aviary, 2018), was very seamless and relaxed. This atmosphere felt very calming, and the lighting even worked in conjunction to create such a welcoming mood for everyone attending. Being in such an open space, there was a reverb throughout the room as her powerful, yet soft vocals warmed the room. At the end of the song, she told everyone that she was simply “just happy to play a show again.”
The third song from this very talented performer was “Voce Simul” (Aviary, 2018). The spacious Lodge Room had excellent depth as her voice echoed and enchanted throughout the room. This song is slow and calming, with a few different hypnotic melodies that make her presence enchanting. Vocally, she sounded similar to that of Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine. This song almost felt like it had yogic influences and very repetitive. “Voce Simul,” meaning “voice together,” was the prominent repeated phrase, which was very mantra-like.
The first cover song Holter performed was “Little Green” by Joni Mitchell. This song was off of Joni Mitchell’s 1971 album Blue. Fans were loving Holter’s slow and distinct take on the song. She told the audience very candidly that she transposed it a little on her keyboard in order to play it how she wanted, and the chat was in awe of her raw and mesmerizing vocals. It was evident how much the fans were enjoying this; one comment read: “the ticket was worth it for this cover alone.” The song has a very sentimental vibe and tone quality to it, and even 40 years after it was originally produced, it still had a captivating effect.
At the end of “Little Green,” there was a beautiful transition into the song “Colligere” (Aviary, 2018). With just a few simple major chords, a very airy, light and almost hopeful mood was created. The song has a few different moments of just tones and straightforward major chords, but it was very whimsical and pleasing to the ear. It has the feel of a very poignant moment of a film, maybe the emotional breaking point of two characters. As with most of Julia Holter’s music, this song is very distinct, with unexpected notes that she sang with the music. Just as majestically as she faded into the song, she faded out with the song the same way.
Another song that had some engaging chord progressions throughout was “Hello Stranger,” from the 2013 album Loud City Song. The way she transitions into her songs with such elegance and grace shows that she is a very poised and collected performer. This song is another tune with light chords that are very calming to listen to and relax the listeners. This was one of the songs fans had commented that they were hoping she would play. It was agreed upon in the very beginning before the show even started that this was one people wanted to hear. This song is very free and flowing all around, and the fans were enjoying every second of it.
The very last song of the night was from the 2015 album Have You In My Wilderness, “Betsy On The Roof.” This song was very on-brand with the major chord progressions, but this one had a few minor chords as well. These melodic structures blended together to create a harmony that the fans just loved. The soft-spoken vocalist was sure to deliver a strong finish to the evening.
With a very soft “thank you” and a slight bow, the virtual concert experience came to an end. Fans in the chat were very quick to write their thank you comments, along with hearts, and some were even headed to the replay feature already. A fan had put it best when they said, “simply unbelievable.” This distinct and delightful evening was one that the fans across the globe could share and enjoy together, all while being in their own homes.