Upstream 2018: Zola Jesus at Little London Plane (6/1)

Upstream Music Fest + Summit
06/02/2018
Matthew Howland
photos by Morgen Schuler (view set)

Zola Jesus is no stranger to the KEXP Airwaves. Formerly based in the Seattle area, though now based in Wisconsin, Zola Jesus put on a remarkable performance to close off Day 1 of KEXP's Broadcast at Little London Plane, performing a number of tracks from 2017's excellent Okovi record. The musician was constantly in motion, throwing herself across the stage, while managing to stay entirely in pitch. This feat cannot be overstated, especially when one loses themselves in a performance quite like Zola Jesus. 

Joined by collaborator and guitarist Alex DeGroot, Zola Jesus (the moniker of Nika Roza Danilova) started with Okovi's "Veka," bent forward on the ground. The performance quickly gained momentum, Danilova pacing around the stage. Three songs in, she left the stage altogether, rapidly moving around the Little London Plane space, even standing on a conveniently located stool. She punctuated her recorded beats with forceful stomps on the stage with heeled shoes. These movements make Zola Jesus a colossal performer when combined with her massive, precise, and resounding voice. The material on Okovi was the result of a deep period of mental unrest, Danilova forced to rediscover music as a means of healing. This is fully evident in her energy, tackling thoroughly difficult subject matter with intention, which has resulted in what could be her best live performances to date. Though she no longer lives in the area, Zola Jesus assuredly remains a local at heart, and was a treat to finish Day 1 of KEXP's Broadcast. 

 

 

Zola Jesus will play at KEXP's Sound Lot Stage at 6 PM on Saturday, June 2nd. 

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