• Jo Flynn

Zola Jesus at Band on the Wall

A little late posting this one, but on reflection I think it's important that Nika Danilova, more popularly known as Zola Jesus, gets some attention for her new album Okovi.

Released this year in early September and meaning 'shackles' in a lot of slavic languages, Okovi is as much about escaping death's clutches as it is about wrestling with darkness and depression itself.

Haunting vocals dominate the stunningly beautiful album, and as we watched Zola perform in the tiny Band on the Wall room it soon becomes apparent that it's all raw talent and not something later digitally enhanced.

Zola Jesus entered the tiny stage quietly and unassuming, but after some suspense and build up at the start of first track of the set 'Veka', her powerful lungs are unarguably impressive coming from such a tiny frame.

Tracks from previous albums punctuated the set, as did surrealist horror-movie like flashing images behind the very dimly lit stage. Coupled with the emotive and heavy themes of the music, the whole audience was enraptured by her performance.

Jesus posted of her struggles at the start of this tour, with her Cellist unable to enter Europe without the appropriate visa. Understandably frustrating for the band, but I don't think the set suffered because of it.

It was a beautiful and emotive performance and I hope that Zola Jesus and her band gain traction more and more as their music evolves from soundscapes and experiments into these more developed songs like those on Okovi.

Zola Jesus Band on the Wall


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