After listening to Nouela's latest album, Chants, I expected the local songstress to be as dark and moody as her music. Instead she was cheerful and bubbly, beaming at the small crowd after each song. "I'm so happy there's people here because it's Monday," she said brightly. "And everyone is so friendly tonight!"
But once she started performing, her demeanor changed. Chants is deeply personal and reveals Nouela's anger and aching sadness. Her emotions are laid bare on the album, and with each song she seemed to relive those feelings. She closed her eyes tight as she crooned "Suckers," which speaks to a feeling of hopelessness: "Give us a new religion/because we got nothing to believe in." Then she launched into "Fight," pounding her piano aggressively to create the deep rhythm behind the catchy single. She closed the set with "Home," a simple, sparkling song that stands out as the only upbeat track on the dark, haunting album.
Maybe it was the small crowd (there were about seven people actually standing near the stage), but Nouela's show was one of the most intimate I've seen this year. It felt like she was revealing her deepest, darkest secrets just to me. Her performance was powerful and impassioned, reaching an emotional depth that cannot be captured on an album.