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Last night Sharon Van Etten played the first of a sold out two night run at Warsaw, in support of last year’s tremendous album Are We There. As if getting to see Sharon play wasn’t enticing enough, there was also the opening set from the next big thing, Leon Bridges. It was a great night of music and it gave me a reason to catch a show at Warsaw, which is something that I need to do more (this was only my 3rd show there).

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This opening set was Leon Bridges’ 2nd official New York City performance, with the first coming the night before at his own sold out show at Mercury Lounge. While that featured a full 7-piece band backing him up, he stripped things down a bit at Warsaw. He came out just with his two female backup singers and his saxophonist. This allowed his songs to give off a jazzier feel, while still capturing that old school tenderness that he’s going for. It was cool to see the songs in a different light and arrangements just 24 hours after seeing him. Considering how young of an artist that Bridges is, it’s amazing to see him so ready and willing to change things up, and do it so successfully.

It’s hard to believe that last night’s performance was my first time catching Sharon live since her performance at Mercury Lounge in 2012. It’s hard to even imaging her playing there after sitting in the very packed Warsaw last night. With the successful releases of Tramp and Are We There, Van Etten has become a household name. Her songs are incredibly raw and powerful, and most importantly, relatable. There’s an honesty to be found in her songwriting that doesn’t come easy, hence why she’s able to connect to so many listeners.

She played six tracks from Are We There, including show opener “Taking Chances,” and the insanely powerful “Your Love Is Killing Me.” She stretched back to 2010’s Epic with “Save Yourself,” as well as Tramp’s “Magic Chords,” which she said wouldn’t exist without The National’s Aaron Dessner and thanked him for pushing her to put it on her record. She played her new single “I Don’t Want To Let You Down” as well as it’s b-side “All Over Again” (find a live video posted below).

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Van Etten showcased plenty of charm and humor to go along with her talent, in a similar fashion to Angel Olsen, making me think that those two would be a perfect combination to tour together. She shared plenty of interactions with crowdmembers, little antedotes, as well as funny moments and laughs whenever she had a minor goof while performing.

The three song encore featured “Love More,” a cover of Damien Jurado’s “Museum Of Flight” and the only fitting closer, “Serpents.” Van Etten’s guitar wasn’t properly tuned during their first try of “Serpents,” allowing a priceless moment where she admitted this, and they had to start it over. But it was a lighthearted moment that caused the 2nd performance of the track to be even more epic and unforgettable, and boy did they nail it the second time around.

These sort of moments are all part of the raw package that comes with a show from Sharon Van Etten, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sharon Van Etten Setlist:

1. Taking Chances
2. Leonard
3. Save Yourself
4. Break Me
5. Tarifa
6. Nothing Will Change
7. Magic Chords
8. All Over Again
9. I Don’t Want To Let You Down
10. Your Love Is Killing Me
11. Every Time The Sun Comes Up


12. Love More
13. Museum Of Flight (Damien Jurado Cover)
14. Serpents

“All Over Again” (Live at Warsaw):

Leon Bridges:

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Sharon Van Etten:

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[…] City Hall Plaza. It was my second time catching Sharon this year, with her utterly fantastic performance at Warsaw coming earlier in the year. She managed all the same in the larger environment of a festival stage, […]


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