|Olivia Jean – Photo by Greg Cocks|
Armed with black lipstick, black dangerous high heels, and a black Gretsch guitar, Olivia Jean played her first headlining show in Denver on Wednesday. With a bare bone crew, Olivia Jean manned her own merch table as the diverse crowd entered the intimate Moon Room. The concertgoers were a mixture of unnaturally dark haired fellow Goth rockers, friends of the opening bands, and one pony-tailed homeless looking guy in sweatpants. After offering to buy Olivia Jean an adult beverage, we learned she doesn’t consume alcohol. But Olivia Jean confessed her vice is Redbull (her tour bus is loaded with it).
|Olivia Jean with her band – Photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
After joining Jack White’s Thirdman Records when she was nineteen, Olivia Jean has proven to be a multi-faceted artist. She fronted the Goth girl garage band The Black Belles, played guitar with Kate Pierson from The B-52’s (even styled Pierson’s hair for a photo shoot), and performed with Jack White (on stage and in the studio). Olivia Jean also acted in HBO’s True Detective series staring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as … a singer. Now performing as a solo act, Olivia Jean has proven to be unstoppable musical force.
After changing from a leopard print blouse with a black leather jacket ensemble into a 1960’s inspired red dress, Olivia Jean took the stage with a rock and roll attitude. She led her band through several The Black Belles songs including the Dick Dale surf guitar inspired The Wrong Door and a spooky dance song The Tease. Olivia Jean played an obscure cover song entitled Orange that she was obsessed with as a child. Olivia Jean mesmerized the crowd with her own song Haunt Me (the first tune she wrote on an acoustic guitar). Her signature track Reminisce (Olivia Jean played every instrument on the recording) was definitely the highlight. New material Garage Bat and Can U Help Me previewed her yet to be finished sophomore album. After the show, Olivia Jean stated she would return to the studio after Jack White ends his current tour (White took her producer with him on the road).
Denver folk singer Hallie Spoor and her band performed a very non-Goth type of music before Olivia Jean took over the Moon Room. Sadly, Ben Van Horne, who played bass for them, lost his life a few weeks ago. In his memory, the band donated their share of ticket sales to Van Horne’s favorite charity Youth on Record. The organization had representation at the show allowing audience members to give even more to the worthy cause. Their playing of the title track to Spoor’s debut album The Brave Ones and Sheryl Crowe’s If It Makes You Happy would of made Van Horne proud.
Morphine (the 1990’s band with the baritone sax not the drug) was played over the house speakers when the band Jesse RS was setting up. It was the perfect preview of what was about to happen. Lead singer Jesse Soward took his band through songs that left space for long jams. The improvisational elements were heightened when Chris Whiteley played multiple saxophones (at one point at the same time).
See you at the next show. I’ll be drinking Redbull and avoiding the guy in the sweatpants.