Snapshots: Zola Jesus @ U Street Music Hall — 9/30/17

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Zola Jesus performs at U Street Music Hall on Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo by Jason Nicholson)

Zola Jesus released Okovi, her fifth studio album, on Sept. 8 via Sacred Bones, and then she appeared as if an apparition to play those songs live at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, Sept. 30. Jason Nicholson was there to capture the show!

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Music Park: Zola Jesus @ Moogfest — 5/19/17

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Zola Jesus performs at Motorco Music Hall in Durham, North Carolina, during Moogfest 2017 on May 19.

Touring sporadically in recent months, Nika Roza Danilova, better known as Zola Jesus, dropped by Moogfest 2017 recently to perform a haunting set at Motorco Music Hall in Durham, North Carolina. Intense and introspective as ever, Zola Jesus performed some new songs in the outdoor venue as she weaved her body into her music.

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Music Park: Zola Jesus @ Black Cat — 1/29/15

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Zola Jesus (Photo by Santiago Felipe)

A little over halfway through her performance at the Black Cat on Thursday, the petite Nika Roza Danilova climbed a mountain of speakers to her left and lounged upon the very top of them like a cat watching down from somewhere high as she continued to sing.

The song she was singing was “Lawless,” which starts as a slowly drifting number marked by its percussion until it erupts into a soaring chorus about making it on your own.

Of course Ms. Danilova is better known as Zola Jesus, she typically quickly and rather inaccurately labeled “goth” or “gloompop,” and of course she’s known for having a good stage presence. But seeing is believing, and Zola Jesus throws herself, literally, into her songs as she sweeps across the stage, disappears into an interpretive dance or climbs speakers to sit, cat-like, along the ceiling.

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Don’t Miss: Zola Jesus @ Black Cat, 1/29/15

ZOLA JESUS TAIGA CREDIT JEFF ELSTONE

Late last year, Zola Jesus released her fifth studio album, Taiga, and did so on perhaps my favorite record label ever — London’s Mute Records.

Tonight she brings the tour in support of the album to the Black Cat, and tickets are still available.

In a press statement, Zola Jesus said of the record: “I used to be very scared of failure, of the responsibility of doing the one thing I knew I was born to do. This record was made in an effort to try to make the most massive record I could, shunning all fear and any sense of smallness I ever once had.”

To record the album, she retired to the isolation of Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. The album’s name similarly comes from the Northwoods, or taiga, encompassing where she grew up in Wisconsin. At first listen, the new album sounds orchestral, haunting and thunderous all at the same time.

As reported by Noisey, Zola Jesus hasn’t been afraid to be different, as usual, on this tour. In Brooklyn on Jan. 26, while performing at Saint Vitus, she took her show out onto the street and into the snow. Watch a video of her performing “Nail” from Taiga in the snow below.

L.A. musician Deradoorian opens for Zola Jesus. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Zola Jesus
w/ Deradoorian
Black Cat
Thursday, Jan. 29
Doors @8pm
$17
All ages