The singer-songwriter was luminous at Gasa Gasa.
I went to see Marissa Nadler at Gasa Gasa Wednesday night feeling a little out of myself, biking there in an unexplained cloud of dissociation and melancholy. Fortunately, she made me feel the beauty in that ambient isolation.
Early on in her set, Nadler played the title track off of her new album Strangers. Gasa Gasa's generally low, intimate lighting suited her well as her vocals dissolved into the air when she sang, “I am a stranger now / playing in the dark."
I wondered how anybody had come here with anybody else. She made each song individually personal, whispering into the microphone as if she was telling you a secret in your ear, letting you in on her inspiration. “This song is about not feeling joy from things anymore” before “Nothing Feels the Same,” or “this song is about regret” before “Was It a Dream.” The way she mingled with the crowd during the opening acts made it seem like it could have been anybody singing those songs, like they were coming from somewhere universal. It was her confessional and it was your confessional.
As she sang “All The Colors of the Dark” about two-thirds of the way through the show, it felt like everybody in the crowd had untethered themselves from the reality of standing in a show space, performing whatever it is you’re supposed to do, and had just dissolved contentedly into euphoric melancholy. Rolling with the waves of the music, it was like we’d floated away in it, pulled out to sea but not fighting the current anymore. It was more than okay to feel a full range of emotions, from euphoria to sadness, regret to hopefulness, and by the time the show was over, the crowd no longer felt like strangers.