Chelsea Wolfe, with Youth Code Words and Photos by Milton Stile
October 31st, 2017
Venue, Vancouver, BC
When it comes to musicians unapologetically and uncompromisingly doing their own thing on their own terms, it’s hard to think of someone who has pulled it off better than, or even as well as, for that matter, Chelsea Wolfe.
I remember a friend telling me how stoked he was to shoot her performance, maybe 5 years ago or so, when I’d only heard a handful of songs. This was at a mid-size venue, where attendance was probably capped somewhere between 2 and 3 hundred people. Now, the last few times Chelsea Wolfe has played to Vancouver, it’s been in rooms that eclipse that at least a couple times over. As a lifelong supporter of integrity in music, I find it immensely satisfying to see progress like this take place, and especially to see such a broad swathe of musical tastes be brought together in the demographic that was in attendance for this show.
Opener Youth Code was at least halfway through their set by the time I got in, and the place was already packed to the gills. I was actually somewhat impressed that their take on industrial-tinged EDM laced with hardcore punk urgency didn’t seem to scare anyone away, but I like to think that anyone capable of truly appreciating Chelsea Wolfe’s someone esoteric influences might have an open mind when it comes to music. Then, with the number of people stuffed in there, I guess it was kinda hard to move.
Between sets, I carefully assumed position to facilitate having a vantage point to take photos from. Venue isn’t the most photographer-friendly locale on the best of days (logistically speaking – the staff are amongst the nicest and most accommodating I’ve interacted with), but this only gets complicated further when the room’s as full as it was this night, and I tend to favour getting up close as opposed to sniping from a distance.
I think I lasted about 5 minutes between when Chelsea Wolfe and her band started playing and the moment I decided to just say “fuck it”, put the camera away, and just let myself enjoy being at the show. Chelsea Wolfe is amongst very few that truly transcend boundaries in music – concrete, imagined, or otherwise – and that’s what makes the music so hauntingly beautiful. There’s honestly something worth appreciating for everyone here.
That’s really all there is to it. I was honestly just grateful I got to catch the whole set this time around.