It’s a damn good thing that custom Sharon Van Etten tissues were available at the merch table at the El Rey Theatre on Saturday night. And yes – just as the singer stated via Twitter – there really were SVE tissues for sale, along with black umbrellas to protect you from the sun on days when you’re feeling not-so-sunny. Even though Van Etten was clearly in high spirits, cracking jokes throughout her set, that didn’t stop her from delivering the most heart wrenchingly bare-all songs. With “Taking Chances” and “Afraid of Nothing” from her latest album Are We There, Van Etten captured the darker side of the Los Angeles crowd.
Opening for Van Etten, Lower Dens leader Jana Hunter is making a go as a solo act. Accompanied by just a laptop and guitar, Hunter played surprisingly rich tunes. Also one to crack jokes, Hunter explained after her Hall & Oates “Maneater” cover that as a child she was terrified of the song, thinking it was literally about a woman who eats men.