Zola Jesus - Camp Basement, London

There's been a fair bit of hype around Zola Jesus and her dark-wave stylings, with anybody that's anybody crammed into the shady confines of Camp Basement tonight. This is Nika Rosa Danilova's first London show on her first UK tour and since her album Stridulum II was released there has been much excitement surrounding these dates.

Flanked by two keyboard players, the first thing you notice is how tiny she is. Her powerful, emotive vocals emit almost a roar which paints her as quite a larger than life character on record and yet here she is barely visible above the crowd. Stil, as she leaps straight into 'I Can't Stand' there's no doubts as to her voice. It's pitch perfect and just as mysterious and brooding as it is on her recorded output.

Tonights set leans entirely on the Stridulum album, slightly disappointingly not delving into her more experimental and noise based tracks from The Spoils. Instead she sticks to the straight-forward, but no less affecting tracks from the aforementioned album including a brilliantly loud and moody rendition of the title track and her latest single 'Night'. Despite these spots of greatness, one thing persists to put a downer on tonight's set in the shape of her backing vocalist. Struggling to stay in tune, and at times seeming as though he was trying to overpower Nika's voice with his own high-pitched warbling, his contribution was most definitely not appreciated.

Despite that downer this was an at times brilliant and promising set, and if she's left to her own devices and allowed to carry on in her own unique way, she could grow into something quite formidable.

Category Gig Review

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