Live report: Zola Jesus @London Village Underground, o7/11/17

When she materializes on the stage, we’re already speechless. Already blown away. She’s on her fours, getting straight to the audience like Samara Morgan. Her hair is on her eyes, there’s no way to look at them. Probably if we dared, we’d get petrified like if we were standing in front of Medusa.

Zola Jesus is one of the last few true hybrids we can witness in the music scene nowadays. Her music swings among electronic, temper-lost beats and resounding gothic landascapes. It’s simply impossible to encage her spirit: she jumps, she craves space, keeps on moving without seeking approval. She’s just herself: nobody’s clone. An original, eclectic, stunning songwriter and performer of this century.

We’re grouped in a very unbelievable atmosphere, at the Village Underground in Shoreditch. The stage has no barriers, it reaches the audience like a wave which allows the artist and her fans to keep the magical energy felt alive. In her unmistakable voice, Zola puts all her charisma and her personality. Her suffering and her broken memories become a holy door which creates a devastating spell, where we’re all invited to let ourselves go.

And so we do: people furiously dance on “Exhumed” – as she literally jumps off the stage in the attempt to get closer to a remarkable vitality – and carefully quiet down when she dedicates “Whitness” to her uncle, who attempted suicide. Goosebumps tickle us like they had paid for the concert. They run all along our spines.

In this sacred Bacchanal of her, the excellent two musicians next to her create the perfect atmosphere for her masterpieces to take form. “Soak” can brilliantly high-five “Siphon”. Depression becomes liquefied and turns out to be extremely poetic creativity. The proof is soon given when, thanking the audience, Nika has a laugh at the England-after-Brexit situation. “We really don’t get what you want, guys” – she giggles.

She knows how to reveal her inner Fatima’s secret, that is by being herself, right to the deepest cave where her beautifully unique talent resides. In this uttermost human exchange , people are given the truest example of how hope has to pass trough discouragement and bloody scars to become an immortal genetic Commandament.

Zola, even if dressed like she was an old-timey Vestal, gets deeply moved at the end of the concert, incredulous herself for the incredible wave of noisey ‘thanks’ she gets back. Her tender honestly is so palpable that we can’t forget a detail worth mentioning: when the singer opening up was playing, the virtuoso Devon Welsh, she’s in the inky corner admiring him and clapping for his music.

 

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