Live Review of Annabel Lee in Los Angeles

Silverlake Lounge Los Angeles, CA

Contact: [email protected]
Web: annabelleemusic.com
Players: Annabel Lee, vocals, keys, guitar; Dylan Hayden, drums; Zac Pannell, guitar; Sherome Petty, bass

Material: Los Angeles alt-rocker Annabel Lee is a force of nature, something that’s evident from the very moment she sets foot on the Silverlake Lounge stage. On a killer all-female bill with the diverse and immense talents of Beck Pete and Half Wolf, Lee was inarguably the most rock ’n’ roll artist on that warm Los Angeles evening.

Performing songs from her Mother’s Hammer album, released in March ’23, Lee switches between punk rock fury and delicate singer- songwriter introspective beauty in a blink. It’s the dynamism of the songs, the unpredictability, that make’s Lee’s set such an undiluted thrill. The twists and turns keep coming, and one gets the sense that anything could happen. She might spit on the front row, or she might pass out. There are elements of PJ Harvey in there, dabs of Tori Amos and Patti Smith (she’s written a song about the latter), and it all blends together wonderfully effectively.

Musicianship: It’s all about Lee’s voice, which is so remarkably expressive that it proves to be a potent tool. The songs are majestically composed, each one a slice of life that cover every shade on the mood spectrum. That’s true of Mother’s Hammer, and it’s what makes Lee so special. In the live environment, she’s tasked with reliving it all, of conveying all of those feelings in a relatively short space of time to the Silverlake Lounge crowd. Like her hero, the great Patti Smith, Lee achieves those aims with aplomb. And it’s in no small part down to the fact that she has a voice that could make a corpse weep.

Performance: There’s not a lot of space to maneuver in at this awesome and intimate venue, but Lee very much commands every inch. Even when she’s static, there’s no doubt that she owns this space. Her eyes close hard when she’s really feeling something, then open wide like saucers with a manic intensity that is as infectious as it is thrilling. She attacks the crowd with some words, then massages their brains with others, and that same crowd basks in every second of it.

Summary: There are a lot of artists out there under the alt-pop umbrella, and many of them are excellent. But there are levels, and Annabel Lee has the potential to be near the very top. Her lyrics are authentic, her songs memorable, and her live shows are wild. The music industry is a notoriously unpredictable and unjust beast, but Lee stands a strong chance of thriving.