Agnes Obel (Support: Marlène)

Agnes Obel played a concert in Vienna with the support of Marlène.
Seen on: 4.3.2020

I didn’t know Marlène before and while I don’t think her music is bad, it wasn’t really to my liking. But Agnes Obel – who I went to the concert for – definitely was. Beautiful music, excellent performance, Obel herself is super-charming… I couldn’t ask for more!

A portrait shot of Agnes Obel in front of a black background. It is slightly out of focus.
Agnes Obel

Marlène is a German singer-songwriter who sings in German as well (and French – given that there is a è in her name, I’m guessing that she has French roots). Her music is pretty calm and she played by herself. Nevertheless she filled the stage nicely. So, I really don’t have anything bad to say about her performance, other than that her music just isn’t my thing, really. I will admit that I often struggle with German lyrics – as a native-speaker, I’m more critical of German stuff than English which is unfair, but I can’t help it. And with Marlène, I just couldn’t get past it.

Agnes Obel was great, though. I rarely go to concerts of musicians who play calm and quiet music like her because I like to dance and sing along. Both are rather hard with Obel, so I was a little worried that I might get impatient. But from the second she walked on stage, she commanded attention and created the beautiful, slightly eerie, somehow mysterious atmosphere I love in her music. The lighting played a big part in that as well.

Not only was the music really good, I loved her life arrangements, working with loops a lot and including her gorgeous band not only with their instruments, but also their voices. It is super rare to see an all-female band and I loved it, especially because they harmonize so well together. The live arrangements sound a little darker than the studio versions, and that variation was amazing.

Obel herself is extremely charming. When she talked between songs, it felt entirely unscripted (and probably was), which meant she got caught up in her own words sometimes, but that made her even more wonderful. Generally she had a good rapport with the audience.

For the last half hour of the concert, I really had to pee and I knew that if I wanted to catch the earlier (and faster) train home, I’d have to leave a few minutes early. But the concert was so great, I didn’t want to leave even for a second, so everything got pushed back – and I’m not in the least sorry about that.

Summarizing: I’ll gladly be at the next Obel concert.

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