Sharon Van Etten‘s much anticipated return to Berlin last month turned out to something of a hot ticket and plenty of people were turned away from the sold-out Privat Club in Kreuzberg. Van Etten’s powerful performance demonstrated exactly why people were clawing for a ticket for the gig, one of a few European club shows booked surrounding her appearance at the Primavera Sound Festival in Spain. Confidently performing all the tracks that make up new album ‘Are We There‘, Van Etten held the crowd’s attention throughout the dynamic set.
Van Etten stands apart from many of her contemporaries thanks to the strength of her songs. For those unfamiliar – check her out. It’s the kind of music that isn’t that removed from the kind of music played on the BBC’s Radio 2 and it would be great if Van Etten ever achieved that kind of success. Despite being hyped as a contender for album of the year, new album ‘Are We There‘ is not quite as good as the music press are stressing, but it does contain some of the New York songwriter’s strongest songs. The album’s best songs are the teaser tracks that were released over the past few months but in general the album’s slow pace and pervading downbeat vibe prevents it from really being worthy of such an accolade.
Inevitably Van Etten’s songs sound better live and album tracks such as ‘Nothing Will Change‘ and ‘Your Love Is Killing Me‘ receive loud applause from the Berlin crowd. Old favourites such as ‘Serpents‘ and ‘Give Out’ are also well received. My personal favourite was ‘Don’t Do It‘ from her 2009 album ‘Epic. I’d never heard it before but it’s really immediate and powerful. Check it out below:
Here’s a performance of the final song on ‘Are We There’, ‘Every Time The Sun Comes Up‘. This song will no doubt feature on many best-of-2014 lists and rightly so.
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