Caroline Polacheck and Ethel Cain @ The Riveria


Last Tuesday night at The Rivera, fans were treated to an unforgettable triple-header featuring the immensely talented Caroline Polachek, and the rising stars Ethel Cain and True Blue.

Ethel Cain, the opening act, proved to be one of the strongest performers I’ve seen in quite some time. As a rising star, Cain’s performance was nothing short of mesmerizing. From the moment she stepped on stage, her energy captivated the crowd, instantly having the magnetism to drawing everyone (and their phones), into her world.

Cain’s music, characterized by its hauntingly beautiful lyrics and hypnotic soundscapes, created an atmosphere that was both enchanting and thought-provoking. Her voice carried a unique blend of vulnerability and strength, effortlessly delivering each note with raw emotion. It was evident that she possessed a deep connection with her music, which resonated with the audience and left a lasting impression.

As her set progressed, it became clear why she has been gaining recognition and acclaim. I personally enjoy and admire the way she portrays the “Midwest Gothic” aesthetic, delving into deep religious trauma, while embracing the classic Midwest-emo notion of living and dying in a small town. Her song “House in Nebraska” is a testament to her connection to her roots, and adds to the aforementioned appeal.

Following the remarkable performance by Ethel Cain, the stage was set for the much-anticipated Caroline Polachek. Polachek, known for her illustrious career as the lead vocalist of the indie pop band Chairlift, has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

If, like me, you were captivated by the indie sleaze genre during your formative years, then Chairlift–the synthpop band originally hailing from Boulder, Colorado, but ultimately finding their home in New York–might be a familiar name to you. Chairlift emerged towards the end of the first modern wave of New York indie, alongside notable acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and St. Vincent. However, as the music scene evolved, Chairlift became clustered into what I like to call The Second Wave, characterized by a heavier emphasis on synthpop, while still being post-Strokes. This era saw the rise of bands such as Passion Pit, MGMT, and Phoenix, all of whom incorporated catchy electronic elements into their sound.

Caroline Polachek’s stage presence during her set was nothing short of mesmerizing. Throughout the performance, she incorporated small, choreographed gestures, such as in songs like “Billions” and “Caroline Shut Up,” that added an extra layer of visual appeal to her music. It was evident that she had put great thought and effort into every aspect of her stage presence, working the entire stage and ensuring engagement with fans from all sides.

Caroline Polachek is currently on tour, showcasing her latest sophomore album as a solo artist, “Desire, I Want to Turn Into You.” This album delves into the complex and transformative nature of desire, exploring its volatility, intensity, and the endless yearning it engenders. Polachek, a pop auteur and emotional philosopher, masterfully captures the essence of falling in love and its ability to infuse life with possibilities. The album cover itself portrays Polachek in a provocative pose on a subway, symbolizing the dichotomy between the mundane rat race and the allure of a paradise waiting at the other end.

“Desire, I Want to Turn Into You” is a testament to Polachek’s artistic vision and her ability to capture the complexity of human emotions. It is an album that demands to be savored, with each track offering a “succulent morsel” of sensuality and introspection. Polachek’s unwavering commitment to her craft and her unique blend of musical influences result in a deeply resonant and unforgettable listening experience.

During her performance, the seamless transitions and flawless execution from song to son showcased a remarkable maturity when it came to touring. Polachek’s ability to captivate the audience with her movements and connect with them on a deeper level further highlighted her artistry and dedication to delivering an unforgettable live experience.

Overall, the concert featuring Caroline Polachek, Ethel Cain and True Blue at The Rivera was a truly memorable experience. Ethel Cain’s rising star status was evident in her mesmerizing opening set, while Caroline Polachek’s performance showcased her incredible talent and the artistic depth of her most recent album. It was a night that celebrated the power of music and left the audience eagerly anticipating the future endeavors of these extraordinary artists.

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